An Interview with Julie Wolsztynski


A fellow artist represented at Adah Rose Gallery, Julie Wolsztynski is a freelance photographer, born in 1984 in France. Her work is eloquent, refined, and evocative. I'm particularly taken by her sensitivity to composition and texture. She attended the Centre Iris for Photographic Arts In Paris in 2008, and arrived in Washington, D.C in 2010 where she now works and exhibits. 

To see more of her work, visit Artomatic 2012 where she's sharing a room space with Angela Kleis (9th floor, room 215) through June 23rd, or visit her website or tumblr site.

What's the one thing you'd like people who aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you?

Woo, that is a hard one! Well, maybe what people should know about me is really what they usually ask about my art: what kind of photography do I do? Which is a fair question. So, what I would say is that I have trouble defining my photography, as much as I have trouble to define myself, as hard as we all have trouble to define ourselves, and it's just fine. Isn't it?

What's your favorite piece from your Artomatic exhibit and why?

The way we see a photograph changes thanks to the support. It’s not the same feeling whether it’s on slide film, a computer, a print or framed on a wall. So, my favorite is “Rue Longchamp #2”, a piece from a series that was supposed to be more supportive than central. But once printed in large size and hung on the wall, I totally rediscovered it, like a second reading. Even though I composed it, shot it and worked on it this picture surprised me, that’s why I like it.

Rue Longchamp #2
Do you make art intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?

It’s a kind of in between. I would say that generally there are two major steps in my work and the second one does not work without the first. The hardcore plan is a long process with lots of thoughts and questioning but not that much visual conceptualization. I am looking for an idea, a feeling, an answer more than an aesthetic process. When I feel ready, I start to shoot. Then it’s really just about instinct, pleasure and relief. The best part! I guess it’s like in any other field; good preparation is key.

The opposite can also be true and when I am not prepared I can be unable to take a picture because I don’t get the point. That’s basically what happened with NYC, it took me a while before being able to picture it.

Manhattan Sestet
Who is your biggest influence and why?

It could be weird but it’s not a photographer. A good book gives me the desire to write and, a good dish the desire to cook… but it doesn’t work the same with photography. Of course, I do love spending time watching tons of any kind of photographs or photographers I like, such as Duane Michals, Saul Leiter, Sally Mann, Jeffrey Silverthorne and more, but it’s not for a creative purpose. I am more influenced by artists using other mediums. For instance, literature is very important as well as cinema. I often carry memories, colors, and emotions from a film with me when I am taking pictures. 

Spontaneously, I am thinking about “Tricks” from Jakimowski or “The Return” from Zvyagintsev… 
Also, Terrence Malick and Steve McQueen (UK) are the best examples of the kind of film directors that project me onto a very sensitive and creative mood. They both have, in a different way, an accurate sense of timing and poetry. They use amazing lighting and compositions and contribute to make us be able to see the world with a different view even when we are not looking through a lens. At least that’s what they do to me, and that’s what I try to do myself. 

A lot of artists have that one piece in their studio that they would never ever sell. Tell us about yours.

Even though it’s not really a “piece”, there is one thing that immediately answered this question; it’s my Rolleiflex -- an old medium format film camera. This camera is so important to me that I had to mention it…It got broke many times and I sold many cameras when needed but this camera is almost like a part of me (I know it’s so cheesy to say that), I would be unable to sell it. It’s not an inheritance, there is no childhood story behind it, and there are no emotional memories. It’s just my camera. The one I bought with confidence about what I would do and what would be my medium. And every time I take a picture with it I feel confident… Trust me, I protect it like the Holy Grail!

Thanks, Julie, for taking the time to share your process and background! Her work is beautifully mounted with a interesting juxtaposition between warm textures in the actual image and the sleek final presentation. Check her (and Angela) out at Artomatic!

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