Photographer Spotlight – Julian Calverley
Tell us about yourself…
I’ve been creating imagery in one form or another since I was old enough to hold a paintbrush. Born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1964, I very quickly demonstrated a love and natural enthusiasm for drawing and painting, in particular watercolor landscape work. After a brief and uninspiring spell at art college, I realized it was the mix of photography and traditional darkroom skills that would allow me to express myself most effectively. The next few years saw experience gained with various studios and in 1988, at 24 years old, I set up my first studio and darkroom. I now divide my time between personal and assigned work, with my attention mainly focused on capturing landscapes in their various atmospheric conditions. This fascination and connection with the landscape, British locations, in particular, dates back to when I was a young boy, with numerous family trips spent wild camping in and around the Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles. These everlasting memories help to provide a deep affinity with the wild, grand open spaces of the British Isles.
We have to ask… Tell us about your photo gear, what you are currently shooting with and why you chose it?
I shoot with 4 camera setups mainly. The ALPA 12 system. I have the SWA, MAX, and STC. Paired with a PhaseOne IQ180 MFDB. I also have a Contax 645 system which I also pair with the IQ180. I also shoot with a variety of Nikons. Everything from the F2 to the D850. I also recently bought a Leica Q2, which I love. Oh, and also my iPhone. The new 12 Pro Max has a great lens setup.
Who are some of your favorite photographers? (Past or Present)
Back in the day… John Claridge and Bob Carlos-Clarke had a huge influence on me. The fact that they worked extensively in the darkroom long after the shutter had been pressed was extremely fascinating and inspiring. Currently, I’m enjoying the work of Dan Winters and Mark Power.
Can you describe a photographically challenging situation that you were confronted with that you were able to resolve on the fly?
I think one of the most memorable situations was when I was working on the Isle of Skye during some particularly wet and wild days. It was then that I first started to attempt working in strong wind and heavy rain. I had a Gortex dry bag with me and an umbrella. Over time I worked out a simple workflow that allowed me to continue shooting single-handedly, when perhaps previously the camera would have stayed in the backpack. Shooting in atmospheric conditions is something I’m known for and something I seek out and thoroughly enjoy!
Share with us details about your latest book.
Insert from the press release: North Northwest is an award-winning large-format book of landscape photographs by photographer Julian Calverley, which has gone on to win ‘Best British Book’ and ‘Book of The Year’ at the BD&P awards. Designed by Les Welch, printed and produced by Boss Print in N.W. London and published by Concentric Editions, with forewords by Alan Moore and Bruce Percy. Its simple aim is to portray and present Julian’s beautifully rich landscape works, all of which were made during multiple trips over a decade, to the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Large and imposing like the landscapes themselves, using craft binding and embossing techniques and employing super high definition print reproduction, this book allows the reader to fully engage with Julian’s beautifully crafted work. “The patented Vivid Colour ™ process enabled us to reproduce the work to an extremely high standard, almost identical in look and feel to his original RGB files. This is something that previously wasn’t possible with conventional CMYK printing processes. A combination of hi screen ruling and expanded color gamut printing ensures that images are reproduced as closely as possible to the original, enabling very fine detail and extremely accurate color and depth”.
What is your favorite underrated photographic tool? Why?
As I briefly mentioned in the question earlier… It’s an umbrella. This simple tool has enabled me to make work in the stormiest of weather. I’d be lost without it. Always opt for a vented umbrella by the way! Or you’ll soon be chasing it across the landscape!
What about landscape work appeals to you?
I simply love spending time out in the landscape. I thoroughly enjoy the physical and creative challenge of creating work that illustrates how I felt while standing there.
If you were behind your camera and could choose anything you wanted to be in your viewfinder, where would you be and what would you be looking at?
That’s a really tough question… Perhaps a weather-beaten vista in New Zealand or Patagonia? Let’s do a CI workshop there!
Why did you select Capture Integration as your equipment partner?
In a word… Trust. I have a huge amount of respect for Capture Integration. The things that I appreciate and have come to rely on are integrity, reliability, and thoroughness. They simply “watch my back”. I shoot all over the world and have had support on numerous commercial shoots. Also, importantly, I have really enjoyed the camaraderie and experiences that come with the workshops that we have run together. I feel like I am genuinely being looked after, supported.. and not “sold to”. Also, it’s great to do business with friends!
Julian is one of the UK’s top advertising, landscape, and location photographers with many years of experience and countless industry awards. His unique ability to create striking visual identities and memorable campaigns has gained him an outstanding reputation with clients worldwide. He has been featured numerous times in Lürzer’s Archive ‘200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide.
Delicately balancing his control over the light, color palette, and composition, Julian brings a stunning cinematic style to rural and urban landscapes and a bold yet natural feel to people and automotive work. Whether using multiple exposures, working with complex composites, or capturing everything ‘in-camera his hands-on approach to planning, shooting and post-production enable him to foresee costly errors and time-saving opportunities, while maintaining creative control and direction.
Julian is what has now come to be a rare breed of a commercial photographer. One with the scope of knowledge to fully manage a project, and enthusiasm for new technology, and amiable laid-back nature. Comfortable working with his own experienced crew or collaborating with a client’s pre-established team, he continues to be one of the most sought-after advertising and brand photographers in the country.