Lost Angeles, Found Call It Zine’s guest editor, Ben Pobjoy, talks with cover photographer and L.A. wizkid, Julian Berman about punk rock, skating and what makes L.A. different.
How old are you?
I am 22 years old.
You live in Los Angeles, were you born and raised there?
Yup, born and raised in Los Angeles. Wouldn’t have it any other way!
Am I right to presume you came up in the punk/hardcore scene? And the skate scene?
Growing up, my father was my main source of inspiration for my musical likings. At a young age he showed me bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Skid Row, Helloween, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, etc… Lots of New Wave, British heavy metal and punk stuff. As I grew older I started to do more exploring and dug deeper into hardcore and punk, bringing me to where I am today.
As a kid, I was also very into skateboarding. In the early 2000s, it seemed nearly impossible to be a young city boy and not be obsessed with girl’s YEAH RIGHT or flip’s, SORRY, or wearing tight pants, or hopping fences to skate schools on the weekends with all of your friends. Both music and skateboarding seemed to be pivotal factors in my upbringing.
How did you get into photography? When did you start shooting?
I’ve been asked this question time and time again, but to be truly honest I’m a bit unsure of where the fascination stemmed from. My first real exposure to ill photography was probably Patrick O’dell or Atiba Jefferson in issues of Transworld Skateboarding or Thrasher. I wanted to be just like them, especially because I was too scared to throw myself down huge gaps or stairs, but still was obsessed with skateboarding. Let’s just say skateboarding was the prime influence. I decided to take an intro photography course in 11th grade, 2009, and that’s where it all truly began.
I just got super into it very quickly, doing tons of reading, research and watching tutorials. I was learning extremely quickly, and decided to just stick with it. I was obsessed.
When did you start shooting professionally?
Things seemed to have really picked up when I graduated high school. When I wasn’t in my lousy community college classes, I was either skateboarding or shooting photos of my friend Tyler [the creator], who was becoming increasingly popular. Magazines quickly grew interested, and it seemed like it was up to me to deliver these captures. I was certainly young, and rather clueless… but I was 19 years old getting magazine commissions and could not have been more excited. Looking back at it, I would have definitely handled many situations and interactions with publications far differently, but I was just dipping into the editorial field. Hell… I’m still learning more about myself and the industry with every new project.
What photographic achievements are you most proud of?
Honestly, I’m so proud of nearly everything I’ve achieved thus far. Never in my entire life would I’ve guessed I would be able to shoot for publications, have photos printed, travel, or even be able to call this my job… it’s truly a blessing.
Shooting the cover of Billboard magazine was huge for me though, probably one of the coolest things I’ve done to date. I’ve worked with a few really killer publications that I would consider a ‘dream,” and I’m grateful for that as well. In the end, I’m so stoked about all of the people I’ve met throughout the world who have either supported my work, or individuals who produce absolutely unreal work, that I’m lucky enough to call my friends.
How would you describe your photographic style?
You know, I’m not too sure. I find myself constantly exploring new techniques and systems so there’s sometimes a lack in fluidity. Each shoot is different, and the style seems to really be dictated towards whatever needs to be achieved in the final image. Though, there is definitely a constant throughout my body of work, but whether or not I can define it on paper… I’m not too sure. Regardless, i bring my viewpoint to the table, and through my process in post, I feel that I can comfortably create an image that is…… “me.”
What’s your favourite thing about Los Angeles? Why’s it unlike any other city?
Los Angeles is bizarre, definitely unlike any other place I’ve been. It’s not quite a city in the sense of something like Chicago or New York, but instead it is just the ideal blend of peaceful serenity and frustrating madness a la nerve wrenching traffic.
It seems like everybody moves at their own pace. In places like New York I definitely feel out of place; everybody’s in a hurry; I like to just chill. Individuals in L.A. seem to be at their own pace, which is interesting to observe. The weather is definitely something else, constant spring/summer vibes with a few weeks of harsh rain thrown in. I’m a fan of seasonal change, but I simply cannot complain about how impressive the weather is. In the end, Los Angeles is definitely something, and I encourage everybody to travel here at least once. I’ll take you to get some of the best tacos you’ll ever consume.
For the Los Angeles themed body of work you’re sharing, can you tell me what you want viewers to get from it? What the theme is?
The images selected are essentially a glimpse into my life, my surroundings and my interactions with certain individuals. There’s nothing necessarily fictitious about the images displayed, but instead the realities of the life I live from my perspective.