Her teacher, Paula Gurtner, divided photographers into two kinds: visionaries whose photos described vast landscapes, and those who liked to get close to their subjects.
Beeman discovered she liked getting close and began making portraits. Though she took a lot of photographs of things other than people, she claims she still makes portraits.
"It may seem like a still life because it is a picture of something, but I'm really taking a portrait of the thing," she said.
Beeman has been taking pictures since 1970, and is well known locally for the photos she's taken in Stephen Gregg County Park in Bayonne. For the last two years, she has had a June exhibit in Bayonne City Hall. Her latest exhibit, however, is at the Portfolio Gallery & Restaurant at 4 West 19th St. in Manhattan.
She had several ideas for the exhibit - including one that touched on some of her favorite images, such as doors and bicycles - but the curator at the gallery liked her images of Bayonne, so she had to include them as well. "They liked the lush greens of the park photos" she said.
A resident of Bayonne all her life, Beeman said she likes taking pictures in Bayonne, saying the city needs a little attention and that it has many things worth taking pictures of.
"I really like colors," she said. "Most of my pictures have a lot of color."
She uses a Nikon F-100 and OM-1 manual camera, saying she prefers classic photography with minimal photographic enhancement to the completed photographs.
Her show will feature 11 pieces in large 16-by-24-inch format.
"I like to do large works now," she said.
While images of Bayonne are featured in the show, so are pictures Beeman took in Copenhagen and France.
"I've taken a lot of trips," she said. "I like taking photographs from different places, like castles and 13th century architecture."
Likes the folk
Beeman - who is a supervisor of social work with Hudson County's Department of Welfare - has other talents as well. Recently, she and her musical partner, Bill Bannon, performed folk, jazz and blues tunes at the Brennan Coffeehouse at the county courthouse as the opening act for folk singer John Smith. Beeman and Bannon were the first act to perform at the courthouse, which was originated under the auspices of County Executive Tom DeGise several years ago.
This musical team has also been a regular act at the Networking Café in Bayonne and has performed eclectic folk/blues for decades at various locations in Hoboken, Jersey City and New York City. From Barnes & Noble to the Bitter End, they have performed on stages and café floors for the sheer pleasure of making music.
Beeman is also a member of the committee for the Hudson County Food and Shelter Coalition. She also received an outstanding community service award in 2004 for her work with victims of domestic violence. Her photos will be on exhibit at the Portfolio Gallery through the end of February. For more information, call the gallery at (212) 691-3845.