Julia Fullerton-Batten for Status

I write on occasion for Status magazine and this is a proof of the article I did on fine art photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten. It may or may not have already come out, but it’s become clear to me that I have trouble turning down opportunities to write about people of whom I am a fan. I have trouble turning down opportunities to write, period.

This is her work. Article after the jump.

While pop culture is already heavily saturated with the image of the anti-heroine, fashion and fine art photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten is bringing something new to the table in her staged (but not photoshopped) representations of those cringeworthy awkward years.

Amidst mainstream insistence that the life of a teenage girl is a 24-hour, wall-to-wall party, Julia Fullerton-Batten has taken the tweets and bleats of the world’s Blair Waldorfs and Katy Perrys, and woven another tale of what it means to be young and female.

“I related the content of my first project, Teenage Stories, very much to my own adolescent years,” she says, of the teenage Gullivers wandering about the miniature scale models of castles and supermarkets. Her more recent series, entitled Awkward, continues Teenage Stories, only this time replacing the inability to find a place in the world with the inability to form healthy relationships. “It’s a state of mind at a certain stage in a late adolescent’s development to maturity that anybody–or everybody–can go through.” By using conventionally beautiful models, Fullerton-Batten sheds light on the universality of relationship hang-ups, exorcising her own demons in what is no doubt “a very cathartic and rewarding experience.”

Much photography is dependent on capturing flattened states and framing moments out of context, making Fullerton-Batten more of a storyteller than a lensman; capable of adding that elusive dimension that demands a second look from the viewer. “You can shoot only what you believe in. It will not please everyone, and it is worth realizing that varied response is a good thing,” she said in a previous interview with Exposure Compensation. Indeed, what is most striking about both Teenage Stories and Awkward is their capability to turn the viewer’s eye inward: to the same kinds of narratives that give other teenage stories–from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to Twilight–their universal appeal.

Now that everybody and their mother is a proud owner of a DSLR, photography has further evolved into a largely misunderstood art form. Taking the expertise of working with film out of the equation has resulted in the misguided notion that photography does not require the same surgical focus and marksmanship that it used to. This may contain a few shreds of truth, now that digital media allows unlimited takes of a subject—especially with Fullerton-Batten’s fine art photography, which allows her to stage situations, rather than capture circumstances—but this does not diminish the importance of a good idea, which Fullerton-Batten stresses is a crucial component for anyone looking to pursue fine art photography.

What truly sets Julia Fullerton-Batten apart from the starving, neurotic artist stereotype is her recognition of photography as a profession. When asked what five things are essential to a successful shoot, the 40-year-old stressed the importance of “systematic and thorough preparation, above all.” This is how Fullerton-Batten has been able to climb the ranks in an already saturated European art market, making a name for herself in a world of insta and hipstamatics, and taking a well-deserved turn from selling out, to creating for the love of creating. “In the past my commercial work has funded my fine art work; this is changing now.”

Another change to watch out for is in a forthcoming project, in which she transitions from shooting scenes with a model and a crew, to documenting real-life relationships between mothers and daughters. This ties in deeply with Fullerton-Batten’s belief that the true role models for young women should be found in their own homes. “There are no air-brushed, sensation-seeking role models worth being imitated,” she shares. “Being a role model doesn’t mean being unblemished and without fault, but that person having the ability to cope with the ebb and flow of life in a positive manner.”


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