Thursday, May 24, 2007
David Julian - A Different Light
Drawing from multiple disciplines and deep imagination, David Julian's reality is in the eye of the beholder
DPP: As a creative who has explored a variety of media, you're obviously comfortable with a big toolbox. On what digital tools do you rely most heavily?
Julian: A fast Macintosh with Photoshop CS2, a calibrated monitor, my beloved Wacom Intuos3 tablet and two terabytes of fast RAID storage are the basis of my digital darkroom. I'm now shooting with a Canon EOS 5D, a Pentax 67 and an old folding camera. I use Imacon 343 and Nikon 9000 scanners for importing film images and an Epson 7800 Stylus Pro wide-format printer for printmaking.
DPP: In addition to your own work, you're also an instructor of creative photography workshops. Has teaching influenced your photography?
Julian: Yes, in that I watch students who work and think differently than I do, and I can often learn about how others solve problems from observing them. I tend to attract students who want more than "how-to" workflows and "tips and tricks" learning, though I instruct on those processes as well. I approach my teaching more as a facilitator and coach to identify and empower what's already within each student's unique personality. I teach them a lot of photography and digital technique as well, but with a foundation of pure inspired motivation and intuitive experimentation. I have students ranging from creative high-school grads to seasoned working pros—all of whom report that they benefit greatly from methods that take them further in their craft as artists, thinkers and craftsmen.
DPP: What do you think your portfolio will emphasize five years from now?
Julian: Fine-art photography and a lot more "straight," lightly manipulated work. I'll also be marketing differently. I'm at the point where I want to be more selective with the commercial work I take on. I want to select commercial clients based on how well they fit into what I'm already doing, and the creative challenge of the project will be the carrot for me.
My Katrina project was a kick-start in a new direction for me as well. I did it to use my photographic eye to express my sentiments and the victims' loss of connection. I want to inspire people to use their photography to make personal creative statements, address issues and take risks. I want my future work to have more of a social and spiritual benefit whenever possible. I see our role as photographers and artists not to make attractive pictures with which to decorate our lives, but to make a personal contribution using art as the medium. I'm inspired by many traditional photographers and brilliant photojournalists like James Nachtwey, Sebastião Salgado and Mary Ellen Mark, by environmentally conscious artists like Subhankar Banerjee, Richard Misrach and Chris Jordan and by expressive thinkers such as Keith Carter and Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison.
There's no reason why digital artists can't create important, meaningful work using such wondrous new tools. It's only our hearts and minds that think, feel, create and express. We must select the right tools for our expressions.
To see more of David Julian's photography, visit www.davidjulian.com.
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