William Van Beckum

William Van Beckum headshot
Studio Art
B.A., Emerson College ; M.F.A., Tufts University
William Van Beckum
Visiting Lecturer in Art

Photographic artist working with appropriated imagery to explore anthropocentrism through the lens of landscape photography and social media. 

In my art practice and research I investigate how social media reflects an increasingly self-centered attitude towards the natural world. I borrow images posted on Instagram of famous landscape destinations and create new compositions which dissect the ways in which humans view and value landscapes. My installations take on a variety of forms, but typically pay homage to the history of landscape art, while casting an often cynical perspective on the role of humans in the age of the anthropocene. 

I taught my first photographic workshops in New Mexico to an audience eager to follow in the footsteps of the 20th century landscape giants. This experience shaped my approach to teaching as well as my art practice. As I present the history and fundamental principals of photography, I also encourage my students to think critically about how the medium may be used to investigate new and relevant topics. My students learn to replicate traditional photographic techniques, and then to innovate on these skills to craft socially, culturally, politically, scientifically, and personally relevant images. 

I am interested in how the medium of photography has evolved from William Henry Fox Talbot's first photographic experiments into the smartphone driven image culture of today. My art and research probes at moments of transition within the history of photography in an effort to reconstruct how we arrived at todays image driven culture. 

In my spare time I enjoy all manner of outdoor activities. I am at my best while hiking or kayaking with my wife, daughter, and dog.