In Conversation: Roslyn Julia

Roslyn Julia is a photographic artist. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan in 2013. Drawn to the medium of photography through her sense of awe, the theme can be found all of her images. She will be releasing a self published book this year titled Imperfect. Her photography work has been shown nationally and internationally, most recently in an online exhibition with Aviary Gallery and featured in many publications including; Lenscratch, F-Stop Magazine, Muybridge’s Horse, Float Magazine and C-41 Magazine. She is currently based in Ithaca, NY.


Imperfect is a collection of images which show moments within a journey, during a chapter in my life of intense realization and transformation. The experiences during this time led me to more wholly accept myself, my path and my photography as inherently flawed. The images, some of which I at first rejected yet later came to appreciate, can represent the subjectivity of what one considers fit to include in their life story. This project explores the value of what we may choose to disown at first, and how accepting both sides of the spectrum may lead to a more total picture of our world. This collection is a self published photo book that was released in July 2019.

First, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started with photography?

I got started with photography when my parents gifted me a toy camera when I was very young. Ever since then the acts of investigating the world around me and photography merged as one. I grew up in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, the vast rolling hills and landscapes of the area have been a huge inspiration for my work. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from School of Visual Arts in 2013 and lived in New York City for 6 years. I have recently relocated to Ithaca, NY where I currently reside. 

How would you best describe your overall work and esthetics? What are you most passionate about photographing? 

The aesthetic of my overall work is delicate, dreamy images that exist within our everyday, which may otherwise be missed. Within them there is a slight paradoxical feeling of sadness and hope. I am most passionate about photographing nature and feelings within a moment. Lately I have been very excited to find and photograph more animals and insects. 

I always found your work to be a microcosms of your emotions within the visuals. They are always zoomed in little moments that are banal to many but somehow you manage to pack them with emotions and nostalgia. Would you agree with the observation? 

Now that you say that, yes I can see that within my work. That is a beautiful observation. I have thought before an image can be the thin line where the artists feelings and the feelings that inherently exist within a moment or place collide. 

Have people ever described your work as “Romantic”? I have a tendency to do that as well but I also know that sometimes that type of adjective pigeon holes the work – not so much a question but would love to get your opinions about it

I’m not sure if I can recall somebody describing my work as romantic, but definitely nostalgic. I think the two go hand in hand because I tend to think of nostalgia as romanticizing the past but obviously it’s not always, it really depends on who’s experiencing the nostalgia. Everybody experiences their nostalgia differently, so when someone describes my work in that way I feel a little tickled because it usually means they are relating personally to the work and that is a wonderful thing. 

You also just self published a book called “Imperfect” can you tell us a little about the title of the book?

This collection of images started when I was grouping together what I saw as “failed photographs”, images that had something wrong with them in my eyes that I normally would take out of my edit. Yet these images really drew my interest back to them enough to explore what I saw valuable in the failures. The whole process became like a metaphor to that time in my life, where I was going through many transitions and I started to appreciate more the self proclaimed failures in my own life. 

Halfway through putting together the edit for the book I started to add more seemingly perfect images, that I saw nothing particularly wrong with. I see that the balance within the book shares a more true reality of successes and failures, both being equally beautiful and important to the story. 

How was the experience of designing and editing the book for you? What was the biggest challenge? What did you learn from this process?

The experience of making a book is thrilling, some moments very joyous and others frustrating but in the end extremely rewarding. The biggest challenge for me was the actual design and figuring out the perfect margins but after a few test copies, I was very happy with the results!  I learned so much about designing, paper qualities and how to choose a size. I’m excited to continue to self publish books of many different varieties. 

Are any new books in the making that you want us to get hyped about?

Yes!! I am collaborating with Match Books, based in Chicago, to publish my Fleeting series. I made this series while in college around 2011-2012. This collection is near and dear to my heart so I am very excited to be publishing it with such an amazing collaborator as Lauren Zallo!  To make things even more special, the incredible Dana Stirling is writing an intro for me! Thank you Dana!

What is one tool in your artistic arsenal (can be a literal tool or figuratively) is a must for you? 

My best artistic tool is my sense of awe. It allows me to survey every inch of a forest (or any place really) with wonder and joy. This is why I photograph and what keeps me coming back to the medium. 

Lastly, What advice to you give fellow artists? 

Keep going! Make work for yourself because it’s what you love and don’t worry about outside approval. 

To view more of Roslyn Julia’s work please visit her website.