While we’re still hard at work developing fotoClient, we’ve also still taken some time to talk to another member of our awesome community. We’ve been amazed by all the photographers who have come alongside fotoClient. Today we’re excited to feature Julian Abram Wainwright. Julian is a World Press Photo-winning photographer based in Manila, Philippines. A native of Montreal, Canada, Julian’s editorial clients include Time Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes and many others. You can be a part of his creative journey on Facebook and Twitter.
Born and raised in Montreal, Canada and today you find yourself all over Southeast Asia. What drew you there?
In 1997 I won a grant from the Canadian government to do a 6month work placement at the English-language newspaper in Hanoi, Vietnam. I fell in love with the city and the country, and in 2001 I moved back there with the notion of kick-starting my photography career. It was still opening up after years of post-war isolation, and there was a lot of interest in the international media for news and feature stories there. Within a year I was freelancing for TIME
and other magazines, and in 2003 I was hired as a staff photographer for European Pressphoto Agency
. I served as their chief photographer for Vietnam until 2010. I’m now based in Manila, Philippines, and shoot mostly destination weddings, corporate and commercial work, although I still do some news work as a contract photographer with Bloomberg. Southeast Asia is a wonderful place to live and explore.
What major differences did you notice being a photographer in North America vs. being a photographer in Vietnam or Thailand?
Before moving to Asia I had no photography experience whatsoever. I kind of created a career when I moved. That said, I reckon one of the biggest differences would be opportunity. In North America it would have taken me years – if at all – to get in the door with clients like TIME and FORBES magazine. In Vietnam it happened really quickly. There’s something to be said about staying put where you are and creating stories there, but the reality is that if you are prepared to pack a bag and go somewhere many people wouldn’t be prepared to go, there’s great opportunity around the corner.
Do you ever still travel outside of Asia to do shoots? If so, where have you been traveling recently?
I go back to Canada every summer with my family, and try to shoot a few weddings in Nova Scotia while we’re there. Other than that, when we’re in Canada its vacation time. I try to cut back on my big travelling assignments as I don’t like to be away from my kids for too long, so sticking to Asia – which is big enough already – suits me fine. This fall I have photoshoots in Thailand, Vietnam, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the Philippines. That’s a lot of travel, but the nice thing about Southeast Asia is that there’s a lot of interesting places in a relatively small area.
You shoot weddings, street and editorial photography. How do you approach each challenge?
I approach weddings and editorial photography in much the same way. Everything I shoot is an assignment, and I treat weddings like I’m on a day-long assignment creating a storytelling narrative of the day. Whatever I’m shooting it always means being prepared, arriving early, leaving late, trying different approaches to the usual images and always trying to do at least one thing new, creative and challenging to tell a story in a different way.
In your opinion, what is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
For me, the hardest thing about being a photographer is the business side – the constant hustle. The act of photography is pure bliss. The act of running a successful business? Not so much. But you won’t be making pictures professionally for long if you can’t manage a small business. The art and commerce of photography go hand in hand.
What major cultural differences have influenced your photography since you moved to Southeast Asia?
The biggest cultural difference has been the parameters of “private” vs “public” space. In North America, street photography can be challenging because most people will consider if an invasion of their private space if you photograph them in public. But in, say, Vietnam, there’s not that same notion of privacy. I feel much more comfortable shooting close to people in public spaces in most of Southeast Asia. Mostly because people don’t get as pissed off at me. They usually just smile and get on with what their doing.
What do you value about using fotoClient? If you don’t mind, how has fotoClient helped you improve your workflow?
I’ve been using fotoClient for a few months now, and I use it primarily to help manage and keep track of my wedding leads and bookings. I like that its got a very simple, straightforward interface. Photographers are visual people – it makes sense to have a clean, aesthetically pleasing format to work with! Using fotoClient I’ve become much more diligent about recording lead information when it comes it, so that I have a small database at my fingertips whenever I need it. The automated task/workflow labels are really helpful.