“My goal is always to move people and to cause wonder in the viewer. I think this is mainly because it is what I enjoy myself. Essentially when you take a photograph someone is allowing you to look at them, and that is a gift. So I feel duty bound to do the best pictures for those people, and also I want to take pictures that moved people. When I talk about the feeling as opposed to the composition, I mean this, that I was looking for some truth, something authentic and in any case, my vision was always emotionally driven.
Born to artist parents, Julian Marshall is a British Artist renowned for his provocative use of light and sensitivity to the subtle moods of his surroundings. After studying Law, Julian felt compelled to switch to the arts, initially working through the medium of photography. Julian was able to capture intimate moments of timeless elegance and spontaneity. His ability to engage with his subjects on an extremely honest and raw level made him a trusted choice for a wide spectrum of female celebrities, including: Kate Moss, Inès de la Fressange, Emma Watson, Gemma Arterton, Darcy Bussell, Erin O’Conner and Daisy Lowe.
Since 2012, Julian has exhibited his work throughout Europe, in both solo and group showcases, and installations, highlights include : 'Group Show' Galerie Marguerite Milin Paris (2018), 'Group show' Il Trovatore Milan (2018), 'Shock London' London Design Week (2018) 'The Other Art Fair' London (2017); ‘No Artists No Art’, Lights of Soho London (2017); ‘Fashion For Future’ Paris (2016); ‘Julian Marshall Solo Show’, Whitehall Court London (2014); ‘Julian Marshall Solo Show’, Mortons London (2012). Julian has also been published in international magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, to name but a few.
Julian currently lives and works in Paris and in 2020 he has given the management of his whole archive to SOLÈNE.
Please find below small video footage about the artist.
SOLÈNE wants the viewer to explore and understand the world of each artist by entering their studio life, their daily exploration or even a show, a project that has marked them but more generally SOLÈNE’s vision is for the viewers to see what inspire them, their artistic process and what they wish to share and transmit.
You were born in a family of artists in London and studied law but … quickly realised you wanted to become a photographer? Can you tell us a bit more about this?
It happened really by accident, although I had been using the darkroom at college and I was drawn to people in the arts. I had come down from college and I had got a random job in an agents’ office. They specialised in Fashion photographers and the agency was connected to a very famous model agency. I had never thought about Fashion photography but after working for a while, I was approached by a photographer to assist on some shoots. The first job we did was in London with some penguins, the second was in Paris with Paloma Picasso, and I thought to myself, this isn’t bad at all and I went on to assist for 5 years before eventually becoming a photographer myself.
You mentioned to me you knew from the beginning the feeling you were after from the person you were photographing. How would you describe this emotional connection between you, the person and your lens?
I think that this is the most important thing, the feeling between you and the model and anyway I was quite shy when I started and that someone would pose for me meant in my mind that I owed them an enormous amount of care and respect. This feeling never left me.
Essentially someone is allowing you to look at them and that is a gift. So, I wanted to do the best pictures for those people and also I wanted to take pictures that moved people. When I talk about the feeling as opposed to the composition I mean this that I was looking for some truth, something authentic and I am anyway very emotionally driven.
As part of your challenge to become a photographer, the biggest one was to learn about composition, would you say having hired a 10x8 plate camera and shot on it for two years taught you what you needed to know about composition? And what would you recommend nowadays to young photographers whom encounter the same issues with composition?
In the beginning I would shoot against walls as I hadn’t yet understood composition, and I would hate to lose the feeling I had with the model if the composition of the shot caused me some inner trauma. Honestly, composition was a trauma for me in the beginning and caused me inner turmoil so I would prefer that not to interfere with the act of taking a picture. I think now taking peoples portraits is more of a performance art, and the pictures that come out are more like a recording in the flow of that energy you play with.
After a while I knew this had to stop, so I started to use 10 x 8 cameras where you have to know what you want before you shoot, and you cannot avoid composition.
Eventually, I came to understand composition and the emotion of it and began to enjoy it. Now it informs everything I do in my art and I enjoy it immensely. It is a source of great wonder. Also, with the 10 x 8 camera you have to stand beside it and it was a great lesson in how different cameras make you feel and how they make your sitter feel. I’m not that interested in cameras and I am never precious about them, but my main interest is that the effect that they have on people. And I would recommend young photographers if they can to start shooting on a 10 x 8 or 5 x 4 plate cameras.
I personally love your photography because not only they are simply beautifully taken, they move me, I feel connected to the people in them, I feel you express a feeling that is key to me in your photography?
My goal is always to move people and to cause wonder in the viewer, I think this is mainly because it is what I enjoy myself.
You decided to trust me with your whole archive and we both know it is a rather beautiful and unique archive with many years of photographing, thousands of shots, some more famous than others, some for famous magazines, each of them so moving and beautiful… I am obviously very flattered and honoured by this gesture… but would you mind me asking why me? why do you trust me with it?
I think you have a genuine love of art and you are a great communicator and great art talking to people, which sometimes I am not.
You decided to leave photography behind to concentrate on another medium, do you wish to tell us more about this new path or shall we say this next path in your life?
I felt like I had taken enough pictures and I wanted to change my relationship to the world. Being a photographer is quite specific and being a photographer of people more specific too.
I wanted to change this dynamic in my life. Moving forward, I am mainly interested in ideas. The execution of those ideas is something else but at the moment I am happy to explore a new universe unfettered by being tied to one form of expression or another. With ideas anything is possible, and I really enjoy that process.