T+L’s Photo Contest Finalists: Julian Walter
California-based Julian Walter uses his photography to connect with new people and explore his surroundings. “Photography has led me to some interesting places in life,” said Walter.
Walter's shot of a dunes falling into the Atlantic grabbed our judges’ attention. Take a look at some of Walter's work below and vote for your favorite of the finalists.
T+L: Tell us about yourself as a photographer.
Julian Walter: I started out becoming obsessed with it in college, spending the next few years not really knowing what I was doing until I assisted other photographers and honed in on getting a much better mastery of the craft in my last few years since moving to New York. Since then I've made efforts to travel and shoot personal projects in order to show my stories to the world.
T+L: How would describe your style of photography?
JW: My style of photography is very journalistic and highly depends on being able to connect with strangers. I've always been fascinated with the idea of exploration and travel, and photography has granted me the perfect medium through which to make it all happen with a good purpose. With every image there needs to be a story. If I can come back from a remote region of the world and make a viewer feel like they've been there after looking through my images, then I've done my job and I am happy. I'll shoot anything from a landscape, a street scene, a detail, an intimate portrait, whatever is needed to make the overall story well rounded.
T+L: What do you look for in a great shot?
JW: To create a great photograph, one has to think about aesthetics, the subject, and timing, among other factors. Often times during my travels I'm thinking "how can I describe this place and its inhabitants?" I need to be very aware of my surroundings in order to capture and convey the same sense. I'll seek out beautiful locations and make sure to get it in the best light. I find interesting people to meet to capture portraits. Understanding the subject is one of the most important factors that goes into the creation process. The viewer should be able to feel the same connection that was made when taking that shot.
T+L: What makes a great travel photographer?
JW: A great travel photographer simply has to tell the story they want to tell, and make it interesting. In my case I don't like shooting secretly, I find my strongest point is connecting with people of all types, even despite a language barrier, and I use that to my advantage to create my images. Some people say in doing so, I wouldn't capture candid situations, but I highly disagree. It's up to me to make them candid after having made that connection. They need to feel like they've known me and can relax and be themselves in front of me in order to truly show who they are, especially when I have only several frames in which to make it happen. I'd rather be immersed than a voyeur.
T+L: Do you have a favorite photo or photographer that has influenced your work?
JW: I don't have a single favorite image or photographer, but rather many different ones that have each influenced me in different aspects to make me who I am, many of whom I've had the great honor to work directly with. Steve McCurry of course for getting deep in travel stories and his incredible use of color. Anne Menke for her ability to capture people at their purest, see the world beautifully, and have a great time all in between. Kurt Iswarienko and Norman Jean Roy for their portraits, lighting, and post processing (tones, colors). Henri Cartier-Bresson for his storytelling. Ruven Afanador for not sticking to what's normal and making it look incredible. Cory Richards for capturing adventurous intensity at its most intimate. And the countless images I've seen over the years that I use as inspiration for myself to constantly become a better photographer to bring stories to life.
School children in Bali
These kids were sitting quietly in their class when I asked the teacher if I could shoot a few photos, and this is what ensued.
Burning Man Art
Two burners walking through a dusty sunrise at Burning Man 2016.
View of Namibia's Namib Desert from an open-door Cessna. These sand dunes are part of the oldest desert in the world and stretch for hundreds of miles up and down the coast and up to 60 miles inland.
Between rituals in his temple at Keramas, Bali.
A look into the entrance of Havana's chinatown neighborhood.
One of the prettier sunsets I've seen, my girlfriend stopped to take a picture and we enjoyed the colors together.
I was stepping out for a surf with some friends on the south coast of Sri Lanka when I saw hundreds of school kids playing in the waves. I sprinted back to get my camera and spent a few minutes shooting with the students. Of course boys and girls separating themselves, I was happy to catch this nice moment on the girls side.
Himba children sit for a group photo in the northern regions of Namibia.
A Boy in Sri Lanka
After getting off the train in the mountainous region of Sri Lanka, this little boy was staring at me and my friends. Before the train left I asked his mother if I could take a picture and she was happy to oblige.