Studio: Julian Murray Photo + Design
Location: Las Vegas, NV // Minneapolis, MN
What made you get into photography?
The honest answer is that I never was interested in photography. Senior year of high school I took photography and within two weeks of it I had a 40% F in the class. I got pulled out of the class and did a cooking class on my own so I would be able to graduate on time. Like I said, at that point in my life I was not interested in photography at all. It wouldn’t be until two years out of high school at age 19 that I started taking photos on my mother’s point and shoot. I can’t tell you exactly what made me start going around with this point and shoot or what sparked a interest in my head for photography. Most embarrassing is my famous line of asking a friend Franz “where do I get film developed, you know, around here?” I had worked at a grocery store from when I was 14-20 and when I started using the point and shoot I saved up my pay checks and bought a Canon Rebel.
How would you describe your photography style?
For a visual reference in the readers head the easiest way to describe my photography style is to think of a mix between Spike Lee & David LaChapelle. A combination of in your face and realness, mixed with bright color and concepts. I know Spike Lee directs movies, but a trademark of his in most of his films will be to have the camera right in the person’s face while having it seem as they glide through the scene without the background moving, everything is a direct focus on the character.
Any photographers or artists that you looked up to that helped influence your style?
There are a few that I have always followed: Jonathan Mannion and David Lachappelle are two the readers will mostly identify with right away, but if you get a chance go check out Matt Barnes, Tom Medvedich and the man that taught me photography, Mike from Infusionfoto.
Did you study photography in school or are you self-taught?
Self taught. A few months after getting the Canon Rebel that I bought with my grocery store pay checks, I was picked up by Mike from Infusion photo in Minneapolis to assist him at an entertainment/swimwear company. When it came to learning the camera itself, that was just hours of messing around on my own and figuring out how it works. Mike never verbally taught me photography, it was more observation and watching how he shot and what he shot with. I have never been “technically” into photography, I will admit that 100%. When it comes to photography, I truly believe it is an art form, you either have it or you don’t. Some individuals will most likely argue with me on that. There are a lot of people that can tell you everything there is to know about a camera, in technical terms, but can’t produce a great image if their life depended on it.
When I was shooting with Mike, we worked mostly outdoors. This is where I was able to learn how to read sunlight and be able to mix it with strobe lights. A good portion of my fashion and portrait work is done outdoors.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about starting a photography business?
The most challenging thing about starting a photography business is getting business. A photography business is not going to happen overnight, and it is competitive. It took me a good year in Minneapolis to be able to go full-time with it. After three solid years of working in Minneapolis, we decided to move out West. We are still young (26 currently). It has been two years living in Las Vegas. I have gained a large work/client base out here as well. When we first settled out West, it was back to starting all over again, like I did when I was 20 years old.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
The best thing about being a photographer is getting to meet new people, every shoot you do. This can come with the good and the bad. I originally started going to college for sociology and after five years of photography, I feel like I have a PHD in sociology.