| Stanley Beck Biography
John McCrady School
of Fine and Applied Arts
On Bourbon St., as it looks today
|I was born in New Orleans, during World War II, and was raised
here in the 1940s and 1950s, and enlisted in the U. S. Air Force in 1961, where I became an electronics instructor. While in the service I married and started my family. Following my discharge, in the mid 1960s, I settled down to work and raise my family, like most people. Having been interested in art all of my life, in 1968 I enrolled in the John McCrady School of Fine and Applied Arts located on Bourbon Street, in the New Orleans French Quarter. There, I studied fine art, painting and design, specializing in oils and acrylics. I was fortunate to have some well respected artists as instructors:
John McCrady, Mary McCrady, Alan Flattman, Joyce Kelly and Fritz Grannon.
By the very early 1970s, I was selling my paintings in the French Quarter, which were mostly the subjects at hand — the French Quarter. By spending so much time in the French Quarter, I acquired an appreciation for the architecture, culture, ambiance and significance of this historic part of New Orleans, and indeed, this part of our country's history.
|At the same time, I was venturing into Southeast Louisiana's bayous, swamps and farmlands, and developing an appreciation for this Cajun culture as well. It made me appreciate things that most others take for granted, and no longer "see."
My interest in photography began before I was ten years old. It started with nothing more than the fascination of using a camera. I photographed almost anything, bringing a roll of film to the pharmacy, and waiting a week to see the results. In later years, my camera was used for taking notes for my painting, and for family and vacation photos. By then, I had moved up to 35mm SLR cameras, with a collection of lenses, tripods and a variety of gadgets.
I have always tried to get the best photographs that I could, and by the 1990s, I was taking photography more seriously. By this time I realized the relative void of stock photos of New Orleans, aside from the typical Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras images that everyone has so often always seen.
|I started photographing the French Quarter as only one who had spent so many years there could. This went beyond the typical tourist shots, and included doorways, broken sidewalks, old buildings with their 200 year old patinas, manhole covers, and the cacophony of signs that make up the essence of the French Quarter. It doesn’t take too long to have a huge collection of thousands of photos that must be cataloged.
Unfortunately, hurricane Katrina struck a devastating blow. While we had the good sense to evacuate before the storm, we returned to find everything lost. My cameras, computer and files, photographs (slides, negatives and prints) all sat under water for weeks. It wasn’t just water, but a concoction of salt water, silt, chemicals and acids from nearby chemical plants and oil refineries that destroyed just about everything. I was fortunately to have taken an external hard drive that contained some photographs that I had scanned, or I surely would have nothing predating August 2005.
|Now, I no longer limit myself to photographs of the French Quarter, but spend as much time as possible taking photographs of subjects in the entire metropolitan New Orleans area, Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi (where I am now living), and places throughout the United States. Sometimes, I just pack the camera equipment into the car, and start driving, taking the back roads and seldom used highways, looking for relics of Americana.
Besides providing digital files, I offer photographic prints, and additional items
bearing my images..
Many of my New Orleans photographs have been licensed for use in corporate brochures and annual reports, hotel brochures, CD covers, posters, websites, magazines and in books and book covers, as well as prints used by interior designers and individuals.
All About the Photographs"
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