From the Student Mail Bag

FROM THE MAIL BAG.  Free Verse Poems

Dear sir,
could you help me ouut.
i’m a photo student at S. college in E.  and i’m going to be honest with you – i’m late with my paper on photographers that i admire and why i admire them.
and you are a great one. so is their anyway you could help me out with answering some questions about your style and why you choose to shoot with black and white.  i need also to  know a few facts which i can’t find anywhere, even in wiki:
where were you born?
when were you born, i need to know this for the presentation.
when did you first start taking pics.
what is you’re own favorite pic?
what school did you attend to study your craft?
and finaly who has inspired you the most.
thanx for you’re time.  hope to hear from you soon.
* * *

  • *

Hello Dave,
My name is G. and I’m in a photography class this year, and we are writing papers about a photographer that interests us. When I was looking through a list of photographers your pictures just really interested me, and you are the one I picked to do my paper on. Your pictures are so amazing. I just wanted to say that you do great work.  :]

Hi. You probably get this a lot, but I’m an aspiring photographer (or as much as I can be with an ancient digital and a hundred disposables) and I really like your work. The contrast in some of them are…amazing. The way you bring it to life…its so cool! I’m only 15, but looking at your work really makes me want to look into photography as a profession. If you have an tips at all, please email me back. Thanks in advance!
A Wishing Photographer

* * *

hi im j,

and i have been an admirer of your work for some time now. Ive used you in my photography sketchbook at college for artist research and inspiration. i hope thats cool with you 🙂
I was just wondering what camera you use because i know your fond of the medium format camera but what slr do you use, also what film do you tend to use the most of ?
My favorite image of yours is the newspaper stand and the empty tube car as i love the stories behind those images 🙂

Ive been trying to persue black and white film photography and i think its great, im currently using a canon eos 5 and have been experimenting with ilford Hp5 400 film and also fuji neopan 1600, you ever used them? if so what are your thoughts?
i hope to hear from you if your not too busy

* * *

My name is B. I am currently a senior in high school with a strong passion for photography. I have been taking classes for two years through my school and we also only make black and white prints. My first year taking a class, I entered a photography contest through my county’s water service authority and I won first place for the picture that I took. I just recently received my acceptance letter to the [blanked by editor]. I plan on getting my Bachelors degree in photographic imaging. I was excited to hear that my photography teacher wanted me to do an essay on a current photographer of my choice for my mid-term exam. So I decided to search the internet. Your name was the first to pop up on the search and once I clicked on your website, I became very intrigued by your photographs. Your interests are very similar to my own and I concluded that I had to write my report on you. When I went to look to find information about you and your inspirations, I found enough information to write a summary, but not enough to write two pages. So if you wouldn’t mind, I have a couple of questions for you.

When did you first become interested in photography?
If you had to pick, what would you consider your “trademark” (within your work)?
What is/are your favorite picture(s) that you have taken?
Is there anyone (not a photographer) that has inspired you and your work?
Is there a specific subject or concept that you like capturing in your photographs?

Are you mentioned in any books (i need two book references)?This is everything that I can think of to ask. If you could please email me back with some answers that would be great. Thank you so much for your time.


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I’m a senoir at E. High School in Ohio and I’m currently taking an digital photography class. We had to choose a photographer to do a presentation on so I choose to do Dave Beckerman because I really like all of his photographs. There is only one problem I cant find enough information online about him.
I have to know his birthplace, how they became intrested in photography and date of birth.
The next slide must include his style, subject atter, special techniques.
and last slide must inclue artists work that i liked the most. I really like the ones taken in New York of random things such as people living in community. If you could help it would be much appreciated!

Thank You,

  • ***

Dear Mr. Beckerman,

Hello. My name is T. I am a 17 year old senior at [blanked] High School in  Texas. My English teacher recently assigned us to compose a research paper over a career we are planning to pursue. Seeing as how photography has always been a passion of mine, it was very easy for me to choose this career.  One of the requirements of this paper is to conduct an interview with some one in the same field as the profession we chose. I found you several months ago while browsing Google for photography of New York City and have been a huge fan of your work ever since. You combine my two favorite things on earth; New York City and photography. I would consider it a huge honor to interview you for my paper. If you can agree to this and have the time I have just a few questions that I could ask you via e-mail. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear back from you soon.
* * *

Dear Dave Beckerman,
i am a junior at [blanked] High school in CT.
I am taking a digital photography course and in that class we have to do a
slideshow presentation on a photographer that inspires us the most. I
picked you, because i really like all the subjects you take pictures of
and i love the way they all turn out. but, for this project we pick 5
pictures and have to tell what the..:
Lighting is.
Len Type
Film speed, type and format.
i was wondering if you would tell me the information if you have it for
the following pictures:
Skating Rink,
Poets Walk
59th Street Reflection
Atlantic City Beach
A First Snowflake
A taste of snow.
I would really appreciate it. i think you are an amazing photographer and
should get noticed.
Thank you very much,

* * *

Hello, my name is M and i’m a senior at [blanked] High School in [blanked]. Currently i’m taking a class where we’re researching jobs that we’re interested in then forming power points on them. A section of the power point is to get a brief interview with a person in the field you’re interested in. I have been taking photos throughout my days at school and I have joined as many art classes as I could. I chose to write my power point on photography because it is a passion of mine. I have seen your work before and found it inspiring. I was hoping you could lend me a few moments of your time and answer these brief questions so I can include them into my power point project. Thank you so much for your time, hope to hear from you soon.

Where is your place of work?
How long have you been in the field of photography?

What kind of schooling have you done in order to get you where you are today?
Any quote you would like to add?

Dear Mr. Beckman,

I hope you have the time to answer a few questions that I need for my school paper.  I thank you in advance.

Why do you only photograph in b&w?

Have you run into any problems getting model releases from the people you shoot?  I have had all kinds of problems with that.

At what age did you first start using a camera.

DOB / Place of Birth

I’m writing about the central Park picture.  Could you offer any insite into how you took that picture and why you say it is so popular.

What lens did you use to take that picture?

Do you remember what F-stop you used and what film, if you used film?

I thank you very much again for you’re time.



One reason that I don’t put my actual birthday on the web, or send it out is that I’m paranoid about having my identity stolen.  As far as answering the questions, no matter how many FAQs I put up on the site – no one seems to find what they want there.  Everyone once in a while, I get a well thought out and interesting question – and that I will answer happily because it gives me something new to think of, and shows that the student has put some thought into it.  But most of the time I feel as if the student wants me to do their homework for them.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

4 thoughts on “From the Student Mail Bag”

  1. I don’t any of those high school kids understands how lucky they are to have photography offered at their schools. When I started high school they took away many of the “extra” classes both at the high school and middle school grade levels that they deemed unnecessary, and I don’t believe my school ever offered any photography courses. Right now the school board in my area is threatening to take away all elementary level librarians to help save money. Sacrifices have to be made, but at what cost?

  2. I teach at a small college and have taught at major universities. It’s not just high school students who want to have you do their work for them.

  3. At the beginning of the year, I had a local high school young lady email me with questions, in the same vein as you have received… and her very first question out of the gate was ‘When is your birthday?’

    What?! My reply: “Okay, I’m sorry, but I just find this the oddest question, let alone it being your lead-off question… unless you have some grand theory that you are testing out, of linking a person’s birthday with the probability of them becoming a Photographer… I just find it an odd question, is all.”

    She replied that the questions were laid out from their teacher to ask (which made it all the more scary… a high school kid thinking it up, isn’t too far a sad stretch of the imagination, but that it was their teacher with the brilliance to come up with such a question…). I pressed her on asking her teacher on why my birthday would be any sort of pertinent information, and she never got back to me on it.

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