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ePHOTOzine Chats With Fine-Art Photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten

Take a look at Stuart Fawcett's conversation with Julia Fullerton-Batten where he asks what drives her creativity and what her favourite images are. (contains adult content)

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Julia Fullerton-Batten is a regular entrant in the member section of the AOP awards, open now, and she is very well known for her storytelling photos as well as being a fine art and commercial photographer.

Stuart Fawcett(JackAllTog) interviewed Julia for ePHOTOzine to try and gain an insight into what drives her creativity and enables her photography. I do hope you will feel the same spine-tingling sensation I did when reading some more about how she brings forth such amazing images.


Korea_Present by Julia Fullerton-Batten

Korea_Present by Julia Fullerton-Batten


SF: Your early background might suggest you needed an expressive outlet for how you felt about life; Would you say you were most driven by your desire to visually speak out as an activist, artist or photographer?

JFB: I was definitely inspired to be a photographer first. I began to earn a living as a commercial photographer and then was able to follow my dream to become a fine-art photographer. My earlier fine-art work was semi-autobiographical but my recent work is not as an activist. However, I've certainly focused on subject matter that relates to being a social commentary. My project 'Unadorned', for example, deals with today's preoccupation with extreme figure consciousness, ‘In-Service’ looks at the sexual mistreatment of servants in the UK during the late Victorian and Edwardian period, ‘Feral Children’ features historical stories of ‘lost’ children and child neglect and my latest, just-released project gives an in-depth look into the lives and thoughts of women engaged in the sex industry in the UK. 


Madina, Russia by Julia Fullerton-Batten

Madina, Russia by Julia Fullerton-Batten


SF: Do you view yourself differently now, does your previous work and audience force or enable you to continue in a certain way? Do you find it harder to find new ideas you want to express as daily family life crowds around you?

JFB: The change in subject matter from my early work to that I produce today is enormous. I have become much more outward looking, possibly more mature in my choice of subject matter. Gone is the inward looking, semi-autobiographical nature of my work. Now it is outward looking and provocative in content; there is a lot more sexual content and nudism involved. Certainly, today's work is a marked progression from my earlier work, however, I am very conscious that I may have arrived at a point where I will need to change the thread of my subject matter to another theme. I don’t find it hard to find new ideas, the only question is: ‘will they appeal to the same audience or will I have to create a new audience for them?'


Simon Ford by Julia Fullerton-BattenSimon Ford by Julia Fullerton-Batten


SF: Do you still do all the staging, shooting, organising and processing yourself or do you work with others? What else goes into identifying the shoot, people, locations and equipment for the shoot? 

JFB: Essentially, I handle everything myself. Operating in a home office, I do everything from creating the idea to handling contact with agents and galleries and all stages in-between. I delegate some responsibilities – help with location finding, models, retouching, printing, etc. but I never go into a shoot without personally having seen the locations, models, props and I project manage everything else. I use extensive lighting so I have a faithful band of assistants who load/unload the van(s) and shift it around on site. Likewise, with stylists etc. So yes, I do all the creative work and count on others to help me get the results, over which I have complete control. 


SF: In relation to the AOP when did you join them, what previous competitions appealed to you and what are you looking to express in this year’s entries?

JFB: I joined the AOP when I was a photographer's assistant, back in 1998. I have entered all the competitions since then and have had images selected for all of them, except for one year, 2013. Winning a number of AOP Awards when still an assistant led to a German agent signing me up and getting me my first significant assignment, which effectively kick-started my career as a professional photographer. 


Korea Ikebana

Korea Ikebana by Julia Fullerton-Batten


SF: If time, budget and even travel were not limitations what would you love to shoot and depict?

JFB: I manage to shoot everything I want to, but one idea that has been going through my mind for some time is to photograph all female art photographers, both past and present. Now that would be a really rewarding project, for me and the history of photography! 


SF: Have you see any particular photograph in the past that you continue to admire, aspire to and be inspired by?

JFB: No, I don’t have any one specific photo that has left a lasting impression more than countless others. It could easily also be a work of art. My father’s work made an impression on me earlier and gave me the impetus to want to become a photographer. But, in general, I admire the work of Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Wall, Guy Bourdin and Taryn Simon.


SF: Do you have a photo you have taken that you believe might strongly communicate to others in the World? (It has to be the Feral Children project.) 

JFB: I think my favourite images are to be found among those in my ‘Feral Children’ project. Specifically, the image of Genie is the most significant for me because of the background story. It is unbelievable that a father could effectively torture his own daughter for over a decade in that way, by confining her to a potty chair in a confined space. It is an image in my mind I can’t let go of. 


Genie, USA by Julia Fullerton-BattenGenie, USA by Julia Fullerton-Batten


Visit Julia's website to see more of her work.   

The AOP awards competition for 2016 is currently open to entries and whether you're an AOP member or not you can enter. Visit the AOP website for more information. 

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