Fstoppers Interview With Julian Berman

Fstoppers Interview With Julian Berman

I have been following Julian Berman's work for a long time now. I first discovered his stuff around the same time I discovered Odd Future. Julian has been documenting Odd Future, aka his friends, since early on. At just 21 years old he has accomplished a lot, and only continues to grow more and more.

I got a chance to interview Julian about a year ago for my now defunct personal site, and we have stayed in touch ever since. I haven't seen much from him recently, but he has definitely been grinding away at work, so much that he hasn't had much of a chance to shoot a lot of personal stuff. Julian has an awesome outlook on life and photography and I thought it would be great to do a little follow up interview for those of you who are just now being introduced to him. I also had him send me some of his most more recent personal work to share with all of you as well.

For anyone reading who doesn't know anything about you, give us your name, location, and what got you into photography.

HELLO! My name is Julian Berman and I am a twenty one year old photographer from Los Angeles, California. To be quite honest I am not too sure where my interest stemmed from.. Probably skateboarding, a course I took on a limb in high school, or maybe it was just destiny, hah.

Last time we talked you were shooting predominantly film, has this changed at all, or are you still doing only film?
Lately I have been really messing with both mediums. Plenty of digital in the workplace/studio, and dabbling with some 35mm (which I was never too fond of) here and there. I recently sold off my DSLR in hopes of sticking with shooting 120, but like always.. Every job has its preferred medium.

You're 21 now and you've already accomplished a lot, at this point what has been the proudest thing you've done with photography?
I am incredibly blessed to be where I am at this age. These past few years have been quite the roller coaster, and I would have never imagined any of it. Shooting the cover of Billboard Magazine at the age of nineteen is a pretty remarkable feat. To be honest though, I have my ups and downs, good shoots and bad shoots, so in the end just producing images that I actually enjoy (keep in mind, YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST CRITIC), means the absolute world to me.

Have you got any plans for 2013 and if so what are they?
I am not quite sure what to expect for 2013. I have been working like crazy these past six or seven months in the studio, and have not been shooting too much personal work. Now I have the free time, the enthusiasm, and the funds to make something very special happen. Hopefully travel will be in order, but for right now I really just need to brainstorm and concoct something pretty cool. Long story short, shoot, travel, and most importantly EAT!

Last we talked you were getting your education game on and switching your major to photo, how has that been going?
Unfortunately, I left school at the end of Spring semester last year. I was going to an overcrowded community college, and was just not too happy. Yes, I do miss the darkroom, but I do NOT miss the lack of enthusiasm amongst my peers, or my inability to enroll in the courses I showed interest in. I compromised with dipping feet first into the full time working force, which was a great learning experience, and now here I am for the first time in my life, strictly freelance. I suppose we will have to see what happens.

Have you got any advice for young (or old) photographers looking to make a full fledged career out of photography?
First and foremost, in order to get any sort of success in this day in age, YOU MUST NETWORK. I cannot stress this enough, seriously. It is almost 2013, the internet is your sanctuary. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, the millions of photo websites/communities/forums/etc, be active in these and create an image for yourself. Link up with other photographers, whether they be local or just friends through the internet (yes, you are allowed to have friends that you have never met before guys!). I've always been a strong advocate of just shooting what you enjoy, and worrying about the approval of others later (or never). The photographic medium is based on your personal interpretation of a scene, and the only approval you should really be seeking is that of the client. You should never be afraid to leave your comfort zone, go somewhere new, shoot a new format, a new emulsion, try out a new processing or printing method. Photography is fun, so make it fun. Do not make it a chore, otherwise you will lose interest and ambition very, very fast.

Any last words or shout outs, feel free.
Thank you Anthony for granting me this opportunity. FStoppers has been one of my most favorite websites ever since I have started shooting, so this is really an honor. All I can say is that once again, I am incredibly blessed to be where I am today. Who knows what the future has in store for me, but whatever it is… I am ready.

 
Check out some of Julian's work. You can check out his flickr as well for more. Currently his portfolio site is under construction, but you can follow his tumblr, and I am sure he will make mention once his portfolio is up and running again.

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23 Comments

i love his work and shout out to young shooters with work ethic and smarts.

don't understand what the big deal is. 

Anthony Tripoli's picture

For a young photographer he has an extremely positive and awesome attitude, he does his own thing and isn't concerned with the approval of anyone other than his clients, and it is paying off for him. That in and of itself is a big deal in an era of the internet where everyone is shooting and posting, hoping for likes and comments. Shoot for yourself, shoot what you enjoy, and do it how you want to do it, don't do it for the approval of anyone else. I think that message is a huge deal (IMO).

Most young people have a positive attitude, it's the old fogeys that become jaded that don't ;)

Alex's picture

Besides the fact that he has celebs in his photos, they aren't that great.

Kim G. Brown's picture

A foot in a brace, a palm tree, someone laying on the ground.... 

Please.I take it that Fstoppers is now supplying free advertising and exposure to "select" photographers under the guise of "look at these, they're great".This post is nothing more than getting someones "name" to show up on search engines.The fall of Fstoppers continues.Sad.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 I'm sorry you don't like his work, but I enjoy it, and I feel that he has an extremely positive attitude towards photography and life in general. Maybe this is why he is excelling in his craft and booking work non-stop.

I understand that not everything we post here will meet the approval of everyone, and I am sorry you don't enjoy Julian's personal work, but in his own words, "I’ve always been a strong advocate of just shooting what you enjoy, and worrying about the approval of others later (or never)." It would seem his outlook is working out for him. Hopefully you enjoy the next thing I post.

So, you'll post my "personal work" including my brilliant picture of a cross walk, and my favourite picture of a dead tree branch on the lawn, including my informative write up, OK?

Please contact me regarding the address to upload my work.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

It's easy to post someone like Julian, because he has accomplished a lot, and he has a strong and positive attitude about photography, you on the other hand seem jaded and close minded. Like I said man, I am sorry you do not appreciate his personal work, but then again art is all subjective and different people see different things.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

Feel free to link me to your portfolio anytime you want.

Geoff Lister's picture

Let's have a race, Julian versus yourself to see who gets picked up for a major label's cover art first. Aaaaaand Go.

Matthew's picture

Same feelings...his "art" is nothing special o_O A lot of you guys probably shoot better and more interesting pics

Is this a joke?

"Probably skateboarding, a course I took on a limb in high school"

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 "Probably skateboarding, a course I took on a limb in high school, or maybe it was just destiny, hah." When I read this response I took it as if he was listing off things that possibly got him into photography...

Doesn't really matter how good he is right now, just matters that he is getting better. Interesting article and I like his mindset. Thanks F-stoppers, I wouldn't have know about him without you posting this. 

Geoff Lister's picture

You're not going to get a lot of great replies here, Anthony. His work is part of an aesthetic that isn't appreciated by technically-minded amateurs. The difference between the commenters and the artist is that his work is going to be in Vibe, and there photos are going to be on Flickr. Fstoppers has plenty of mediocre posts these days, this isn't one.

Yes there are pictures of foot braces and palm trees, but it's the quality of those photos that show that Julian is so talented. Lets see your pictures of steamers and palm trees! 
Very nice article Julian! Keep it up xx

 he's super handsome you should have put a picture of him in the article !
 I enjoyed the article nonetheless :) 

leahsixpointoh!'s picture

As as fellow young photographer starting out I'd have to say that anyone hating on Julian for the content of his photographs is an idiot. He's 21 years old, and frankly if you had any idea how expansive social media is you would realize that his work is reaching out, appealing to, and inspiring a lot of the youth that utilizes those medias. Let's not forget how other now professionals started out such as Terry Richardson and Brad Elterman (who have stories not that different from Julian). Julian takes a really clean simple approach and it's the quality of those images that makes him stand out. I really appreciate someone so young taking a passion and making it a career because it gives hope to others and myself that their dreams are not unattainable in an age of a seemingly creative depression (as a reference to his peers, because I have also seen that in my classrooms). 

As far as those of you with negative feedback, let me ask you where you were at the age of 21 in your field. How accomplished were you? How much determination did you have? It's easy to discredit someone who you clearly older jaded people see as merely a kid with some famous friends but frankly Julian isn't riding anyone's coat tails. He is paving his own way and his humble attitude and undeniable talent are helping him make a name for himself. 
So quit crying and go pick up YOUR camera and do something instead of cutting down a guy who is doing what he loves because you've lost your own ambition.

Patrick Valade's picture

The "fall" of Fstoppers to me is the readers, who seem to only b*tch and complain. Shut up and go take some photos you idiots.

swiTTTch's picture

That a boy, Julie Bear

I have to admit at first I was a little concerned, I too came from a skateboarding film background, and have great inspiration from it.  Not from playing with dads camera after the ball game.  Constantly being on the street from age 14 with a video camera etc.. then I took up photography, this was 20 years ago.  I look at this work and find it to be great.  Yeah its not gregory crewdson but still good.  Nothing bad to say.  what happen just liking something or not instead of sitting back crying about how you are not getting attention because you think you are " better"  i don't get it.     The more I look at it the more I like it .