Hi friends, former students and lovers of life, please come along and join us at Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Hollywood if you can. I’ve lead this workshop a few times now and it’s always great fun (& educational!)


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Tinsel Town is in the rain…

I spent an hour this afternoon walking around shooting Hollywood Blvd in the rain.  The pre pro meeting at Smashbox; thanks to Dave Radin, Donato Sepulveda and John Cassidy there, who always have my back in any weather.

More Rain!

More beautiful rain in LA today. The city is thrilled, except my son who hates not being able to play outside at school. Sorry Will!

Where have all the Sexy Camera’s gone?!

Hey, I’m as super excited as the next closet film director about the democritization of motion photography; putting the capacity of a motion film camera in a small dslr package.

But word to the designers of these things. For a lot of us who love photography, cameras, lenses, the tools we make our work with, cameras have a near erotic allure. The rather ordinary boxes you’re coming out with now are just not sexy.

Please do some homework and have a look at the history of camera design. Oh hell, I’ll do it for you. Have a look at these cameras and tell me which ones you think you’d rather go out with.



Return to the High Desert



It was with some considerable reservation I returned in July to Santa Fe Photo Workshops to teach a week long workshop called The Fashion Portrait. Not because my first time three years ago hadn’t been amazing, but because my first time had been so amazing (see earlier blog). I was sure that there had to be something about luck and first times and personal chemistry that could never be repeated.

The setting of the campus nestled up against a silent order of Carmelite Nuns, just a garden wall away, the incredible support team (this time for me Michael Karsh and Sophie Kuller), Renie Haiduk (Director of Operations) who presides over the ebb and flow and workshop life in every detail with unflagging joy and humor and Reid Callanan, (Director) the visionary man who beheld a high desert under endless skies and saw a utopia for lovers of photography, whose deep love for photography and photographers all make Santa Fe a very special place unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been or anything else I’ve ever experienced. I know I’m gushing (those of you who have read my blog before will know I’m readily available to the big emotional moment) but I’m quite serious.

In these hard, conservative times, as photographers so much of our daily energy, life force and creativity is consumed by just getting the next job, delivering the shoot at warp speed, making the client happy. Not to mention wrapping our heads around the myriad of social networking opportunities at our disposal. (Hmm, disposal? I typed that word without thinking about it but has the speed of life imposed so much more disposability on photography? Has the nature of digital photography where everyone with an iPhone is a photographer with a full arsenal of post effects at the touch of an app. and we are daily deluged with imagery made it so much more casual and throw away?)

So what a joy it is to spend a week in a place where the sole purpose is to make work, discuss work, support other photographers in their work, interact constantly with other photographers and to…get up and do it again for 5 solid (very solid, long, exhausting) days. For a week there was no talk of ftp sites for delivery, budgets, self promotion, career strategizing, representation. There was only making, taking, showing and critiquing photographs.

This is not to say all the above are not essential parts of a photographers life; the daily minutiae of what we need to do to run a career, a studio, a business. You do need to know how to negotiate, you will finally be helped enormously by a great rep, you must self promote. But in these days where clients are looking to us to take on more and more production responsibilities as budgets continued to be wrung out, where delivering imagery fast is not fast enough, just to get back to making photographs, the place where we all began, just looking and seeing and watching and waiting (waiting, there’s a modern luxury!) is a pretty profound experience.

Somewhat selfishly, as much as any reason, it is what will return me to Santa Fe to teach and maybe one day to take a class myself. To renew my faith in the simple act of photography, which in spite of miraculous, mostly fantastic technological advances in the last 10 years, remains largely about looking at life through a hole and wrestling it around to compose it in a square or rectangle. It continues to be about having a point of view and something to say with a photograph. I need to be reminded about all of this constantly so in spending 5 days telling it to other people my hope is some of it will sink in (with me). And I am reminded what a privilege it is to be us, to be photographers, to have the sterling stamped excuse to stare longer than is otherwise appropriate. A lovely quote I from Walker Evans recently I read recently:

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”

Ok, before I get off my rickety stage here I gotta give acknowledgment to my class. Amy, Amelia, Nick, Dan, Benté, Yuko, Elise and Bill. Your best work was fantastic and your self perceived failures were giant steps in the right direction. Just keep doing it. As Helmut Newton said “The first 10,000 shots are the worst.” I hope I’m approaching that total myself because I’m ready to improve any time now! Seriously, thank you for chancing a week with me and committing to the work we did together so rigorously. For some of you the expense must have been a considerable sacrifice and for others of you, less. But to a person you inspired me with your work ethic, commitment to each other’s success, sense of pride, humor and humanity. Sometimes I think photography is really just a great excuse to hang around with people like you!

Finally, the great unexpected pleasure of the week was the time spent, too briefly but wonderfully with my fellow instructors, fantastic photographers all.

Karen Kuehn

David Michael Kennedy 

Norm Clasen 

Jennifer Clasen 

Norman Mauskopf 

I encourage my reader to check ‘em out! It will come as no surprise to read I am a fan of photography and photographers. And I left Santa Fe with 5 great new photographer friends I will be very happy to meet again.


UGG Campaign with Tom Brady

Did I mention I shot this campaign with NFL star Quarter Back and super nice guy Tom Brady?

It was a blast, one day pre-light, one day shoot, 5 big set ups.

My crew were total rock stars and deserve a big shout out right here:

Production: Jill Roy and Mary Brooks at 3 Star

First Assistant: Eric (Rembrandt) Larsen

Photo Assistants: Mark Nakagawa, James Moy, Thomas Henrikson, Roberto Kozek.

Digital Tech (& my right and left hand man) J.C.Szostak

Set Design: Thomas (Snow, rain, autumn leaves) Thurnaer

Agency: M & C Saatchi

Client: Nancy Mamann

Creative Director: James Bray

Art Director: Ron Tapia

Production Director: Brian Bushaw

Account Handlers: Rachel Nairn, Christy Shannon Hayes, Heather Hoffman.

Stylist: Karla Welch

I cant thank all of the above enough for their enormous creativity and support.

This is (I think!) the first time a photograph of mine will have been made into a painting hundreds of feet high. This one in New York City. Have a look at this very cool time lapse film of the billboard going up.