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Julia Brett Christopher

Julia Brett Christopher

1983

Julia Christopher grew up in Carmel, California, in the heart of West Coast photography. Brett Weston – who treated Julia as the grandchild he never had.

Julia Brett Christopher

Biography

Julia Brett Christopher grew up in Carmel, California, in the heart of West Coast photography. Brett Weston – who treated Julia as the grandchild he never had – fondly encouraged her to take up both photography and riding horses as a toddler. She spontaneously made her first photographs at Brett’s Carmel Valley residence at age two. "I've always felt some sort of instinct or compulsion to photograph. It wasn't until I began working a darkroom, however, that I finally called myself a 'photographer.'"

After graduating from Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California, she went on to study classical painting at New York University (Steinhardt) and art history at NYU in Paris, France. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2006, where she pursued abiding interests in fine art, philosophy, creative writing and photography. While living in Manhattan, she was scouted by a modeling agency, but far preferred being behind the camera than in front of it. During that time, she assisted fashion photographer, Howard Schatz, on a project he was pursuing about Club Culture.

She departed New York for Europe in 2006 to pursue an equestrian venture, and returned to settle in Carmel in 2008, where she narrowed her artistic focus to medium format black and white film photography. She began working with Brett Weston’s former Pentax 67 camera and currently uses a Hasselblad 205TCC. She learned darkroom techniques from Greg Mettler, Bob Kolbrener and Luther Gerlach, who introduced her to the 19th century wet plate collodion process. Today she pursues her own classical wet darkroom photography, utilizing both 19th and 20th century techniques, while working as an educator, conservator, art historian and the CEO of Photography West Inc in Carmel, California.

Photography is an empathetic art medium. It gives us the ability to literally see the world through the eyes of another human being. In my personal work, I strive to capture not only what I see, but what I cannot see. The passing of time and movement of light, for example, the human eye cannot see. We can only see an event as it’s unfolding in real time, which is one reason why I’ve always been fascinated by long exposures (generally lasting 1 second to 2 minutes). With long exposures, I never know exactly what I’m going to get: the image that appears on the film always surprises me. That element of surprise keeps me on my toes, engaged and collaborating with the universe in both life and in art.” – Julia Christopher

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