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Julia Fullerton-Batten talks to Art Jobs on capturing the complexities of life

19 July 2016

CAPTURING THE COMPLEXITIES OF LIFE: INTERVIEW WITH PHOTOGRAPHER, JULIA FULLERTON-BATTEN 

 
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1. Where are you from, where do you live and what kind of person are you ?

I was born in Bremen, Germany, second daughter to my German mother and British father. When I was just two years old, we moved to the USA. We stayed there for seven years, which meant that I started my education there and adapted to the American way of life. This was followed by a move back to Germany – new schools, new culture, totally different way of life. We were four siblings, three girls and our younger brother. This period of change ended with my parent’s divorce while we were still relatively young. I was sixteen at the time and moved with my father to the UK, where I have lived ever since. I am now married and have two gorgeous sons. We live in a suburb of London. After studying photography and being a freelance assistant to professional photographers for five years, I started my career as a professional photographer in my own right in 1995. I am passionate about photography, hard working and creative.

2. Do you think a talent for photography is something a person is born with ?

That’s an interesting question and, to be honest, I don’t really know. But doesn’t the word ‘talent’ imply an ability that one is born with? Self-taught to a professional standard means that somebody works to develop their skills and hones them to the equivalent level of a talented photographer. Is that possible? I guess we would have to carry out a historical review of past and present major photographers to determine whether the skill was inherent in their nature or developed with practice.

3. All of your Fine Art stories touch on very deep and, occasionally dark, subject matters. Is there a solid link between each of them as a whole ?

My fine art projects from ‘Teenage Stories’ up to and including ‘A Testament to Love’ are semi-autobiographical in nature. Up until my parent’s divorce, my life was happy and relatively untroubled. The scenes in them relate to the fairly normal experiences of pre-pubescent teens and teenagers in general. ‘Mothers and Daughters’ is a reflection of my and my sister’s relationship with our mother, as well as hers with her mother. When a female viewer sees these images, I think these are episodes to which they can relate to, to one degree or another. Beginning with ‘Blind’, I changed theme to a social commentary on the aspirations, social prejudices (‘Unadorned’) and with ‘In Service’, the sexual mistreatment of female and male servants during the Edwardian period in the UK. This is where the darker subject matter begins to come through with gradually increasing intensity. The depth and darkness of the subject matter reaches a peak with my latest two projects  - ‘Feral Children’ and ‘The Act’.

" The scenes in them relate to the fairly normal experiences of pre-pubescent teens and teenagers in general. ‘Mothers and Daughters’ is a reflection of my and my sister’s relationship with our mother, as well as hers with her mother. When a female viewer sees these images, I think these are episodes to which they can relate to, to one degree or another. "

 

4. Which of the series do you consider the most powerful and why ?

I’m happy with all my projects, but ‘Feral Children’ is a subject matter that was very emotional for me as each of the cases were so tragic, especially the story of Genie. Her father bound her as a toddler to a child’s chair in a poorly ventilated, unheated primitive basement room for ten years of her life. The scope of my latest project ‘The Act’ was mammoth. It involved photographing and interviewing 15 women engaged in the sex industry in the UK. The photographs were of the women performing their acts and portraits. I interviewed them to determine their reasons for their choice of ‘career’ and how they felt being engaged in it. The interviews were subsequently made into a video.

" The scope of my latest project ‘The Act’ was mammoth. It involved photographing and interviewing 15 women engaged in the sex industry in the UK. The photographs were of the women performing their acts and portraits. I interviewed them to determine their reasons for their choice of ‘career’ and how they felt being engaged in it."

 

5. What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing what you do ?

The most challenging and most rewarding thing is to develop the original idea for a project. This I will turn over in my mind, do online research to improve my background knowledge, play with various scenarios in my mind, always padding the idea out more and more. I let my creativity run wild until the whole thing crystallises and I can start the next phase of finding locations, think of set designs, start choosing models, find props, clothing, etc. On the day of the shoot, I have everything established in my mind, my assistants move the equipment around until I get the lighting I want, I press the shutter of my Hasselblad and we can view the shot on my tethered laptop. But, that is the easy part of the whole procedure once I have concluded that creative process – the most challenging and most exciting thing of the whole project.

" The most challenging and most rewarding thing is to develop the original idea for a project. This I will turn over in my mind, do online research to improve my background knowledge, play with various scenarios in my mind, always padding the idea out more and more."

 

6. What tools do you use post processing ?

I personally don’t do anything but the most basic retouching using PhotoShop.  I subcontract the major retouching to a professional, who does it under my supervision. I tend not to use too much retouching.  A lot of the feeling and mood in the images is from the way they are lit.

7. What image is your personal favourite and why ?

I have no single favourite image. As I finish a project I get a new favourite. Therefore my current favourites are to be found among those in my ‘Feral Children’ project; specifically the fore-mentioned image of Genie springs repeatedly into my mind. It is significant because of the background story. It is unbelievable for me that a father could effectively torture his daughter for over a decade in that way, by confining her to a child’s chair in a confined space with few playthings and a totally unsuitable diet. It is a relatively simple image of a girl tied to a child’s stool in a simple monochrome painted room with a bare bulb and a high curtained window providing light, no other decoration but a few cotton reels as her playthings. But, if you read her story it is a heart-wrenching image.

8. Do you have any projects you are currently working on or any upcoming exhibitions you want to tell us about ?

I’m just completing ‘The Act’, which is my very latest project. I’m just releasing images and a video, as well as entering these into competitions. This is probably the most comprehensive project I have ever done, as it involved set design as well as all the other aspects of one of my photo shoots, including finding and interviewing real sex workers, lighting, etc. and working together with others on the video. Each project becomes more and more rewarding. I am brewing on a new idea….

AOP takes its Awards to Edinburgh's Retina Festival

11 July 2016

We are really excited to take a specially curated selection of over 90 images from the 2015 AOP Awards to the Retina Festival this month. From 14 - 23 July our show will be exhibited at Our of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh, do come and see us! 
 
RETINA EXHIBITON

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It's Nice That talk to AOP member Joseph Ford

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Work / Photography

Joseph Ford plays with perspective in latest editorial for Avaunt

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Brighton-based landscape and aerial art photographer Joseph Ford has completed a trompe l’oeil for Avaunt Magazine. Titled Anamorphosis, this project uses the lines of a tennis court distorted and overplayed onto an abandoned swimming pool that can only be read from a certain perspective. “Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point to view the image correctly,” says Joseph. The series created for the publication has the feel of a game played at length rather than simply one clever image.

The main image, which displays the anamorphic view in full is one of the most effective produced in the project. The two players squaring up at far sides of the gaffer tape tennis court drives home the size and accomplishment of the anamorphic space, successfully coercing the viewer to read the physical world falsely, and the imagined perspective as intended.

Parkour artists Kevin Francomme and David Banks occupy the camera’s field; it is only in the shooting of figures in action, living and breathing the space of distortion, that the photographs are brought dynamically to life. Though their presence high up and low in the main image solidifies the perspective, some of the most interesting examples of their work are seem in close up, scaling, running and twisting along the walls to further challenge the viewer’s expectation and understanding of space.

Accompanying the images is the tagline, “2.5 kilometres of blue gaffer tape, seven assistants, two anamorphosis artists, two parkour artists and one derelict swimming pool in Glasgow.” A true collaboration, the project was realised with a team of anamorphosis artists and assistants coordinated by Papy and Milouz from TSF Crew.

Joseph also recently completed and collated a series of diptychs pairing aerial landscape photography with fashion products for Avaunt Magazine, demonstrating a keen eye for perspective and challenging the way in which the world is viewed.

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Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt

 
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Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt

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Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt

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Joseph Ford: Anamorphosis for Avaunt

 

 

 

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ePHOTOzine talks to fine art photographer and AOP member Julia Fullerton-Batten

Read the full article here 

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/ephotozine-chats-with-fine-art-photographer-julia-fullerton-batten-29511

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Our Own Oscars

Great article about the AOP awards in Professional Photo Magazine 

http://www.absolutephoto.com/index.php/magazines/photo-professional 

twitter: @prophotouk

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AOP member Charlie Clift photographs Brits in Europe ahead of EU Referendum

It's Nice That's article on AOP member Charlie Clift.

 

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AOP Student Awards finalists revealed

We are pleased to announce that after judging over 1,200 entries, leading photographers Nigel Harniman, James Eckersley & Paul Hill have picked the 55 finalist images for this year’s AOP Student Awards on the themes of Things, People & Places.

You can see a full gallery of all Student Finalist images here: 

AOP Student Awards partner theprintspace, London’s prolab, art printer will host the winners' exhibition at their gallery in Hoxton, London from 28 July-9 August 2016.  The winners will be announced at a ceremony party on 28 July where the three ‘Best in Category’ and one overall ‘Best in Show’ winner will be announced.

There is still time to enter the AOP Lecturer of the Year and AOP Affiliated Course of the Year. These celebrate the wealth of teaching talent and courses that are available to students, and are designed to complement the three photographic awards. 

To make a nomination please download the document below or email Flo at flo@aophoto.co.uk

The deadline to get your applications in is Thursday 30 June. We will present the winners at the AOP Student Awards ceremony on 28 July.    

To coincide with the Awards the AOP will once again host its Young Photographers' Conference on 28th July at Holborn Studios, sponsored by Direct Photographic. With practical, informative talks aimed at graduates and those who want to kick-start their careers in professional photography. Full details will be published soon.

 

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Repeal of Section 52

The government announced last week that they have finalised their response to the consultation on the transitional arrangements for the repeal of Section 52 of the CDPA 1988.

Their position is as follows;
The repeal of Section 52 will occur on 28 July 2016.
The depletion period will run up until 28 January 2017 - a miserly 6 months.

94 responses were received, of which the AOP's was one and despite an overwhelming majority of objections to the shortened timescales, it is obvious that the IPO has ignored those representations.

The repeal of Section 52 of the CDPA 1988 has implications for anyone using 'designer' items (i.e. industrially manufactured artistic works where more than 50 copies have been made) in their photographs that fall outside the incidental inclusion exception in copyright. Any interiors, still life and fashion photographers using industrially manufactured artistic works will need to take particular note, of both work they currently have available for license (library/stock) and work they might make in the future.

There is a government advice document available here 

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