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Alumni A World Community

Photographer Has an Inner Eye for Detail

Young Alumnus of the Year 2014

By Clint Kelly (

Char BeckView more photos View more photos

Photographer Char Beck (right) sometimes places subjects in interesting and unexpected locales. He learned by studying the work of others, including a friend who shoots for National Geographic magazine.

One night in April 2012, Charlie “Char” Beck ’08 emerged at the top of the Eiffel Tower pretending
to be a Spanish tourist. The American couple he stood near asked him to take their picture with their amateur camera. To the woman’s shock, her male companion went down on one knee, and Char pulled out a professional camera and began shooting the proposal for posterity.

The special moment had been prearranged after the fiancé happened upon Char’s wedding portfolio on Facebook. The photos had that indefinable “something” — they exuded a joy not
always found in formal portraits. A medical-school student who had saved for that moment, the
fiancé was willing to fly Char from Seattle to Paris to capture the indefinable.

“What an honor to be a part of their love story,” says Char, a videographer and commercial photographer who shot the couple’s wedding this year.

It is a convergence of creative spark, humility, high energy, love of people, and deep-rooted
faith in Jesus Christ that led to Char being named Seattle Pacific University’s 2014 Young Alumnus
of the Year. Char majored in sociology and minored in business administration as a student, gaining both an understanding of people and a head for business that inform his current work.

“Char is a cheerleader for SPU,” says Joel VanderHoek ’09, 2011–13 president of the Young Alumni Council. “He brings his laptop to the Student Union Building just to remain in relationship
with SPU.” He develops spiritually supportive relationships with current students, and donates his photo services for alumni events.

Several of Char’s journeys to 26 countries have been in support of nonprofit organizations that care for AIDS orphans or provide clean water wells in African villages.

“We mostly hear of all the negative things about a place like Darfur,” says Char, who says he was raised in a loving home “with a revolving door” for those in need of shelter. “God has called me to go so that people will see and hear of God’s redemptive work.”