jack beck
Photography, Aluminum
June 2016

Facades Photo Series


12:00 narrative, HD
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Camera: Jack Beck
  • Producer: Barbara Beros
February 2012

Stari Grad (trailer)

Be careful what you wish for... Shot in Old Town, Dubrovnik, Croatia. A work in progress.

16:30 exp. documentary, DV/16mm
  • Director: Tony Gault
  • Director of Photography: Jack Beck
October 2008

Fossil Light

Travel agencies currently promote trips to Churchill, Canada that encourage “ecotourists” to watch and photograph polar bears struggling to survive. Every October, the polar bears become landlocked in and around Churchill as arctic ice flows melt and cut them off from the their diet of seal meat. Susan Sontag’s 1973 essay, “On Photography,” relates that photography is “a defense against anxiety” and an attempt “to memorialize” our vanishing extended families. Fossil Light will explore the idea that ecotourism is a reflection of this impulse to “memorialize” the earth’s “extended family”—that our desire to record the ecotourist experience reflects our anxiety about threatened species and ecosystems and, ironically, may contribute to their demise. Our intention with Fossil Light is to create a context where scrutiny is shifted 180 degrees, where a sentient environment and its animals gaze through the camera back at the tourist/audience. --Tony Gault

4:00 experimental, DVCAM
  • Image / Edit: Jack Beck
  • Image / Edit: Matt Costanza
  • Music: Rick Scott
April 2008


AUX 2 [codename: spacejunk] is the next in a series of AUX works. These works are sometimes meditative, other times chaotic—all resulting from video feedback experimentation and other video manipulative processes.

1:30 exp. documentary, DVCAM
  • Camera / Edit: Jack Beck
February 2008

Viewing the Mona Lisa

A short document of the disconcerting experience awaitng everyone who ventures to Paris to view the masterpiece. A treatise on the mediated world.

6:00 experimental, DVCAM
  • Image / Edit: Jack Beck
  • Image / Edit: Matt Costanza
  • Music: Ethan Borshansky
April 2007


The electronic image, doubled, crossed, combined, and looped upon itself, exposes the circuitry matrix, and becomes its own surface texture, color, and motion; pulsing to its own overlapping signals. It becomes a mediated self-destruction and/or a new art medium. Most intriguing are the elements obscured, bent, broken, washed, twisted, bled, and immersed in a vibrant, brute energy. The collaborators developed processes to build such forms seen here. AUX 1 [codename: kiwi] is the first in a planned series of eight related works.

3-18 mostly exp., DV/DVCAM/16mm
  • All Works by: Jack Beck
May 2005

Water Works Series & Other Digital Video

A collection of many of the digital works below, plus a film print or two is gearing up to go on tour (with me to present, of course). Please contact. Also look for new festival screenings for The Chickening, Aqualesce, Vignettes, Joe: Body Electric.

11:20 found footage, DV
  • Image / Edit: Jack Beck
  • Music: David Plylar
  • Produced at: RIT & ESM
April 2005

Joe: Body Electric

News Blat. From the ethersphere has been extracted the last remaining cine-mage from the 20th century. It has been carefully pieced together into one electro-stream. Joe likes to swim. Joe likes to make music.

The imagery was culled from over twenty old, mostly educational, discarded films. The music was largely produced by manipulating sound clips from the original image sources.

3:40 experimental, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Jon Forshee
  • Titles: Trinity Greer
January 2005

The Chickening

Shot one afternoon on a ranch in Cortez, CO, the chickens are loose! Extreme close-up shots give an eerie view to an otherwise peaceful environment. The video propels the form and "landscape" of the music. The visual constructions are extremely diverse, the narrative subtle—both affording viewers many paths through which to experience the work. Recently updated.

8:00 documentary, DVCAM
  • Producer: RCC
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • 3D Animation: Gregory Madore
January 2005

Rochester Curling Club

Promotional documentary of the instruction and league nights at the Rochester Curling Club.

3D title animation done by Greg Madore of www.SoundSpeed.net

7:20 exp. documentary, DVCAM
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
December 2004

Vignettes de Mouvement de Minimalisme

Tableaux in Paris of minimal intrusion and activity. As a non-French speaking tourist, I was an outsider, an observer, and comforted in capturing pattern and repetition amongst the frenzy of the city.

Locations include the Metro, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Champs Elysees.

9:25 exp. documentary, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck w/ Tony Gault
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: David Plylar
  • Titles/Sound: T.J. Martin
April 2004


At a hot spring resort in Colorado as a typical day progresses, the color of the light changes, moving from white in the morning, to blue, gold, green, and ultimately black. "Headless," suspended swimmers, and dark, silhouetted forms floating in the light, are some of those playing in this vast pool.

20:00 documentary, DV
  • Musical Director: Rob Haskins
  • Designer/Director: Nigel Master
  • Video Producer: Gavin Chuck
  • Videographer/Editor: Jack Beck
June 2003

John Cage: Song Books

A performance at the Eastman School of Music, and a shorter documentary/promo of the piece and its creators.

John Cage was one of 20th-century America’s great musical innovators. Known for his experimentation in instrumentation and silence.

17:00 exp. narrative, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Jon Forshee
  • Titles / Effects:: Trinity Greer
April 2002

Canada Day

In September of 1827, rival hotel owners from both sides of the Niagara Falls staged a ghastly event to increase tourist revenue. Now, today, a full load of tourists aboard a cursed boat will have the ride of their lives. The video for this work was shot on two consecutive Canada Days—a national holiday on the first of July, and one of the busiest tourist days at the Falls.

75 pages creative writing
September 2001


Writing portfolio of various short stories, poems, essays, and scripts. Cathexis - n. the investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea.

Howie was only mildly shaken at first. He had opened up the camera’s viewfinder to check the battery power and saw a movie running. He reasoned he must have accidentally pushed a button when he pulled the camera out of the carrying case and a tape inside started to play. . . He slid back the top panel and pressed the stop button. No familiar whir of moving parts. He ejected and the side door sprung open. Up until now Howie was just running late and growing irritated, but suddenly he was downright confused, even scared. He is a grounded, logical man to be sure, but the tape door was open and there was no tape. . .

3:30 experimental, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Nicolas Scherzinger
April 2001

Jon's Point, L.A.

A colorful wash of skyline at night, taken from a lookout point in the hills. Simply and wholly Los Angeles.

3:30 experimental, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Sound: Jack Beck
February 2001


Work in memoriam to my father’s bright red tropical fish, appropriately, but coincidentally named. A Siamese Fighting fish faces off against its own reflection—and gets a peek into its soul! (kidding)

30:00 documentary, DV
  • Producer: Barney Schlinger
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
January 2001

Golden-Collared Manakin

A study of the courtship display of the Golden-Collared Manakin of Panama. The small bird was shot in its natural habitat in Panama for computer-aided analysis. I captured high-shutter speed imagery of its elaborate ritual and unique sounds (produced with rapid wings). Collaboration with UCLA biologist Barney Schlinger.

In the sample reel, the harder-to-see green birds are the females.

12:00 experimental, DV
  • Producer: John Graham
  • Viola: John Graham
  • Composer: Robert Morris
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editors: Beck & Graham
June 2000


For live, solo viola and computer-generated sounds, with digital video backdrop. The title suggests the ways the three interact and co-mingle. The imagery is abstract fields of water, mostly of the Niagara River.

18:00 experimental, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Nicolas Scherzinger
  • Titles: Chris Davis & Jeff Marcello
April 2000


An experimentation in documenting and representing, in somewhat abstract means, three markedly different water locations. The water imagery goes beyond “surface” description, quickly becoming depictions of movement, texture, color, pattern, and light.

Three I Ching hexagrams are the inspiration for the three sections.

50:00 documentary, DV/PXL/IR
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
December 1999

Middle Brother Island 1999

A stylized document of an annual family vacation, incorporating old movies in an examination of human constancy and change midst the backdrop of an evolving island.

150 pages creative writing
December 1999

a deep blue place

A collection of short works.

In trying to find a title from anywhere to best capture the mood of this second selection, “locus” came to mind. It is a word I think I’ve liked for the sound as well as the meaning—something akin to a “center of activity.” In the past I’ve often written of the center as an ideal place—sometimes sacred, sometimes unreachable, always cherished. In checking the dictionary, similar terms also seemed appropriate, including “loculus,” an animal cavity or an empty space in an organic body; and “locution,” a particular form of expression or phrasing. What really struck me, however, was “locus ceruleus” a blue area of the brain stem with the Latin derivation, a deep blue place.

4:20 exp. documentary, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editors: Amotz Zakai & Jack Beck
  • Music: Jack Beck
November 1999


The smelt make their run upstream the Niagara for a couple of days in the spring. The fishermen, with their nets in the current, pull in hundreds per minute. The work utilizes detailed close-up footage, smelt "POV", and motion-driven editing to produce a very provocative perspective of the event.

4:00 experimental, DV
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Nicolas Scherzinger
April 1999

Niagara: Trance-Figure #2

The second in a series of experiments with water imagery. This one takes footage of the Niagara River and slowly deconstructs by closing in tighter and tighter into the electronic representation.
16:00 exp., 16mm
  • Director: Tony Gault
  • Co-Cinematographer: Jack Beck
January 1999


An exploration of the relationship between landscape and the intrusion of Anglo culture on the American continent.
4:00 experimental, SVHS
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
January 1998

River: Trance-Figure #1

Shot on a tourist vessel on the St. Lawrence. A piece investigating the aesthetic possibilities of transforming water imagery into abstract and evolving textures, perhaps ultimately achieving figures that are mostly “remnants” of digital filtration.

100 pages creative writing
June 1997

Face the Ghost

First collection of short writings in book form.

Many of these works have a character(s) with ghosts to deal with. The hapless ones ignore the ghosts while the more “rational” characters might recognize but choose to forget theirs. Arguably, the protagonists worth emulating turn around to confront, and with success, dissipate the lingering ghosts of yesterday. The apathetic Uncle Bob suffocates under his ghosts. Howie, in Cathexis, discovers an electronic ghost of his father and tries to communicate. And in the most complicated example herein, George, in Follow and Order, literally chases a ghost who provokes him to reconcile with his own—a life story that is too early to write.

1:25:00 comedy, 35mm
  • Director: Jon Ulmer
  • Producer: Will Knox
  • Cinematographer: Rob Lyall
  • Associate Producer: Jack Beck
  • Screenwriters: Ulmer/Beck/Knox
May 1997

The Turn

Joe, the hero, encounters a Cyclopean greenskeeper, a foursome of sirens, a dragon-lady and a soothsayer godmother among other perils in this "Odyssey" on a golf course.

Well I’ve got a fish tale for you. Down-and-out chap falls into good fortune, visits elite country club to get noticed. Gets noticed and plays hard to get. Seem fishy? Well, so happens down-and-out’s old squeeze cleans the club pool for petty summer cash. Chap wants to keep wealth frozen till love re-kindles on even ground. However, crafty investor clues in to chap’s change and wants some considerable “consideration.” Does chap champ or chump?

38:00 narrative, 16mm
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Producer: Evan Bouffides
  • Screenwriter: Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
  • Lighting Design: Onko Boijs
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Rob Lyall & Jack Beck
  • Sound Design: Beck & Bob Hurst
  • "George": Jim Haverkamp
  • "Vivian": Kim Benesh
  • "Brad": Chad Larabee
October 1995

Follow and Order

An inquiry into autobiographical theory and the book, as three neurotic characters in triangular conflict prescribe therapy for another with near disastrous results. A labyrinthine, psychological, supernatural mystery.

Jesus, pal, help me out on this, will ya? Give it time, and don’t worry, you can’t remember a thing . . . See, your memory’s slipping. Let it go, let it all just slip off the surface like that film on soup when you let it rest. Let it go, like ice on a windshield it will all come back, I promise.

n.a. sci-fi, interactive
  • Script, Design, Compile: Jack Beck
December 1994

Cydonia: The Terrestrial Connection

Cydonia is an interactive multi-media project that examines the eerie possible connections between the alleged intelligently-made Face on Mars with the terrestrial crop circle phenomenon.

The piece allows the user to search and discover hidden secrets within the elaborate graphic design.

8:00 experimental, 16mm
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
  • Sound Mixer: Ben Patrick
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Sound Design: Jack Beck
  • Music: Laird Wynn
  • "Man": Dean Connelly
  • "Boy": Zack Greuskin
June 1993

wooden whistle

An argument for an end to self-aware cinema concerns a fragile book that deconstructs and decomposes, slowly losing control of its own words as letters re-arrange or disappear. A sullen professor lectures Sartre, and a four-year-old recites nonsense lyrics to a hopelessly confused student—determined to escape the confines of a framed, 2D character.

I bought a wooden whistle, but it wooden whistle. . .

12:00 experimental, 16mm
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
  • Screenwriter: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Jack Beck
January 1993

Pond's Eye

A trip to a pond planet in a quasi-children's film “celebrating” frogs in orbit, in the midst of global disappearance. This semi-autobiography stretches beyond the pond and touches on sibling rivalry and separation from home.

By this afternoon NASA expects to have the first tadpoles ever hatched in orbit. Years ago we used to catch frogs from the pond in the morning to have frog races in the afternoon. After marking off a big circle with a stick, we put the frogs in the center under a washtub. Then we stood around the outside calling to our frogs. The first frog scared enough to escape the circle won, only to be returned to the center for the next round. I wonder now if they had ever given up on getting back home.

4:00 Exp., 16mm
  • Director: Tony Gault
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
January 1993

Picture #4

An image used in psychiatric exams is described by a variety of subjects.
8:00 documentary, SVHS
  • Directors: Ben Patrick & Jack Beck
  • Videographers: Patrick & Beck
  • Editors: Patrick & Beck
December 1992

Pinky's Custom Cakes

A portrait of an all-children's theatre in Iowa City. Theatre written by, created, and performed by children for children at local schools.

5:20 composition, notation
December 1992

Bell Telephone #78320

Graphic musical score for an ensemble of twelve. In the tradition of Cage.

The phone is the score to the piece. It is placed on a table facing the ensemble. The receiver is removed and placed to the left of the body (see diagram). The phone is read left to right at 5 sec./cm. Height determines relative pitch. It is left up to the individual to choose a scale suitable for the instrument. . .If a performer quits early because of a loss of breath, he must yell “phone’s ringing!” place a fist to his ear and talk to an imaginary friend.

11:00 narrative, 16mm
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
  • Screenwriter: Jack Beck
  • Sound Mixer: Ben Patrick
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • Music: Jack Beck
  • "Marty": Dean Connelly
  • "Cross": Dan Coffey
  • "Elliott": Chris Hatton
June 1992


A literal illustration and examination of the mindgames we play in our daily interaction with others. A befuddled job applicant daydreams a deadly showdown with his competition, while a mechanic imagines teaching an innocent card game to a trusting customer.

We need a player—someone who can toe the line and stay in the box when a fast one comes in a real tight. A home-run hitter, Marty. Are you our clean-up man?

20:00 exp. music, 8-track
  • Composer: Jack Beck
  • Instructor: Bob Paredes
June 1992

The Tell-Tale Heart & City City of Iowa

Both works composed in experimental studio using voice, Moog synthesizer, 8-track recorder, mixer, and an array of electronic components. The Tell-Tale Heart, inspired by Poe’s story, has moments of calm and violence to fit the narrative’s calculated murder and paranoia.
3:00 narrative, SVHS
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Writers: Jack Beck & Glenn Beck
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Actor: Dean Connelly
June 1992

Nothing But Time

An Antonioni-induced nightmare. A tired, over-worked film student meets his cryptic other in the mirror, who has "nothing but time." Alas, he awakes.

Let me sift the cat's litter box. I've got nothing but time; I've got it all planned out. I'll break up with Suzy for ya. She deserves better, anyhow.

8:00 narrative, 16mm
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Screenwriter: Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • "Arash": Arash Nazaryan
June 1991


An inquiry of the land, the center, and singularity, in an anecdotal account of a man with the unusual hobby of collecting and cataloguing sands from around the world.

Have you ever walked to the edge of a city and straddled the border? One foot where you came, the other standing in the neighboring town?

90 pages Creative Writing, thesis
June 1991

Something From Nothing and Other Works

My college Senior Honors Project.

A compendium of short screenplays, many of which, improved, ended up in later volumes listed.

4:00 narrative, 16mm
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Screenwriter: Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
  • Camera: Rob Lyall & Kerry Bailey
  • "Dave": David Rumsey
January 1991


A film exploring sound-induced hysterics. In a dream, moments before wakefulness, a man on railroad tracks is alerted just in time. Followed by a "making of" video After the Train.

No time to dilly-dally. It's coming!

6:00 exp. documentary, 16mm & VHS
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Screenwriter: Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
June 1990

Phenomenal Island

A pseudo-documentary that parodies paranormal broadcasts while championing the phenomenalists’ dubious reality perspective—a total worldview which accepts, without moral judgments or analysis, the entire range of repeated human experience.

We accept everything; we believe nothing absolutely; we do not explain. Our study is the content of human experience—things that happen, or are believed to happen, or are said to happen.

3:00 narrative, 16mm
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Screenwriters: Glenn & Jack Beck
  • Cinematographer: Paul Mollard
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • "Man": Jon Farris
  • "Woman": Happy Cummins
December 1989

Death of a Houseplant

A scrutinization of language barriers to reality as a man, guilt-ridden with the death of his orange tree, is consoled by a woman trapped by her own clichés.

Maybe I shouldn’t have named him Twofootthree. Perhaps I should have named him Twofootseven? Maybe that would have given him a purpose, something to live for?

11:00 experimental, VHS
  • Director: Jack Beck
  • Videographer: Jack Beck
  • Editor: Jack Beck
  • "Man": David Ninke
June 1987


In the middle of the scalding summer, a boy suffers a heat-provoked hallucination of water, smoke, and bubbles—ultimately energy draining and dehumanizing.
10-100 exp. doc, (S)VHS, DV
  • Editor: Jack Beck
August 1986

Early M.B.I.

What started as an exercise, really (in futility), of documenting, stylistically and inventively, the family cabin and vacation, grew to be a nearly-annual venture. Much is weak, some is good, bits are wonderful pastiche of sentiment. Canada 1986, Canada 1987, Canada 1988, Middle Brother Island 1989, M.B.I. 1990, M.B.I. Portrait, M.B.I. 1997. See above for more successful attempts in film & video.

5-50 experimental, VHS
  • Director, etc.: Jack Beck
  • Actors: Dave Ninke, Jack Beck
  • Thanks to: everyone who watched
January 1986

Other Early Work

Various video attempts, mostly mediocre, with some inspired moments. Special thanks to friend Dave Ninke who acted in nearly everything. Ghost, A Man in the Attic, Perceptions, In High Places, On Stage, The Drought, Valse Pour Le Fin Du Temps, Los Bambas, Priority.

Bone dry. It hasn't rained in months. Shit. - from The Drought, the first spoken words in a Jack Beck video.