Barbara Beeman
The Jersey Journal -Jan. 18, 2008 -article by Jeff Theodore, Journal Arts Editor

    Barbara Beeman reaches out to the souls of Hudson County on a daily basis.  By day, through her social work as a supervisor in the county's welfare office, she tends to the needs of the less fortunate.  Away from the job, she nurtures her own soul and those of others through music and photography.
    In the past, Beeman has focused more on music.  However, as of late, photography is taking a more prominent place among her passions.  "I've done weddings, Sweet 16 parties, pictures of my vacations,"Beeman says.  "I take pictures whenever the spirit moves me."
    Long ago, her spirit moved her to ttake pictures of cafes in New York City.  Little did she know that would be a key to setting up her own photo exhibit in a New York City Barnes & Noble, which continues through this month.  "When I asked the Barnes & Noble manager about exhibiting photos there, she asked me if I had taken any pictures of cafes," Beeman says.  "And I had.  But I had to go through 30 years of negatives to find them, and that was tough work."
    Beeman isn't one of those new fangled photographers who uses digital cameras.  She ssticks with film, storing thousands of photo negatives taken over the years.
    Barnes & Noble isn't the only venue where Beeman's work has been displayed.  Last February, she exhibited 14 photos at Portfolio, a Midtown restaurant which marked her first New York City showing.  In June, she had her third exhibition at Bayonne City Hall.  That particular exhibit focused on Bayonne's parks.  Last August, she had a show at the Secaucus Library. 
    She says her first big show in Bayonne in 2004 inspired her to continue showing her work.  "I felt the people of Bayonne needed to see its beauty,' says Beeman, who resides there.  "That show got a really good response."
    Only recently has Beeman meshed her affinity for music and photography.  Now, during openings of her photo exhibits, Beeman and her partner, Bill Bannon, perform their brand of folk, rock, jass and blues.  "It's like a 2- for -12 for the audience, "Beeman says.
    Beeman, a former reporter for the now defunct Hudson Dispatch, says she started taking photos as a lab technician at the then-Jersey City State College.  Beeman says she believes she picks up elements of style from artists in her photography work.  "I have this one pic of a chair that people like," she says.  "To me, it's like a Van Gogh, with a unique perspective.  The elements of color and form make it special."
    Musically speaking, she's been singing with Bannon for several years.  Their first album, "Spare Change," generated some response, including positive reviews from a New York Daily News reviewer.  They're in the studio working on a followup album. 
    "When I sing, I sound like one of those ladies from the 1930's," says Beeman, noting that she and Bannon were the first local act to perform at the Coffeehouse at the Courthouse series at the Brennan Courthouse.  In fact, Beeman says her photography work will be on display inside the courthouse at an upcoming exhibit. 
    Ultimately, all Beeman expects to yied from her work in music and photography is a little appreciation.  "I just want to give my art and music to whomever wants to receive it," she says.  "I'm whittling down my work to shine like a diamond, and just hoping someone will find this little tiny diamond."