Frame of Reference: Julien Roubinet
Written by: Geo Hagan Photography by: Ben Ferrari

Some people are just naturals in certain fields, and that’s just an undeniable fact. Take a look at Julien Roubinet for example – the French-born photographer has been shooting professionally for less than 3 years, and already his work shows a depth and nuance that a lot of lensmen never develop. He’s already put out a stunning photography book, and he recently held his first solo show in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He’s definitely a shooting star (pun intended), and we tracked him down to find out more about his rapidly expanding influence in the world of photography. 

 “I like to be surrounded by beautiful things …”

Where are you from?

I grew up near Paris and then my family moved to Toulouse, in the south west of France. I studied business in Marseille, Dublin and Paris!

How long have you been living and working in NYC?

I moved here just over 3 years ago to work in finance. After a year of meaningless and unrewarding labor, I realized it wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to live. I started to assist a photographer named Scott MacDonough and retouch for him. I learned most of what I know in the past two years.

When did you start taking pictures?

I have been taking pictures more or less seriously for 6 years. It has been my job for 2 years now.

What is your primary motivation with the medium?

It may sound obvious but I like to be surrounded by beautiful things. I really enjoy looking at a picture that is perfectly composed, with the right colors and lighting. It is an eternal source of inspiration and satisfaction. Photography is the best way for me to share how I feel, what I see and care about.

What are your favorite subjects to shoot?

People who work with their hands and more generally ones with a true passion for what they do. Motorcycle, surf, skateboard and music are the subjects I could shoot and never get bored.

Do you shoot digitally or with film primarily?

I shoot digital for my clients. When it comes to my personal projects I shoot with as many different cameras as I have. It goes from my DSLR to old polaroids to 35mm and also 8mm movie camera. Using different cameras keeps me excited and pushes me to always learn more about different technics and processes. I am trying to get my hands on some Kodak Aerochrome, but it’s a lost cause!

You recently completed a beautiful book on the Bonneville Salt Flats, can you tell me a little about this experience?

In September 2012, my girlfriend and I took a trip to the Salt Flats of Bonneville in Utah. We photographed the World of Speed, an annual gathering of passionate people racing on the salt with uncommon vehicles. It was an amazing and very unique Americana experience for us coming from France. When we came back to NY we decided to do something with all these images. We ran a crowdfunding campaign and raised enough money to print 200 copies of a photography book. You can learn more about it here; act fast if you wanna get one, we only have a few copies left!

What other projects do you have in the works?

Working on a book about the current surf culture on the northeast coast (including NJ, NY, RI, NH, ME) with a writer friend of mine. We started two months ago interviewing and photographing people. We are interested in shedding light on the surfers, shapers, photographers, filmmakers and writers who truly represent the soul of surfing and the challenges of life lived with an obsession for the ocean. Our focus has been and will be the people who experiment with new forms and materials and are less interested in the competitive side of things. We will also include performance surfing as it is a integral part of surfing on the east coast. Putting this together is a long process… I am pretty sure it will keep us busy for the next year at least! I am also working on smaller video projects around surfing.

Where do you see your career and photography going in the future?

Hopefully still shooting subjects I am really interested in. I would love to show my work in prints more as I find it the best way to translate and share my vision of the medium. My first solo show is currently showing at The Great Frog in the Lower East Side. The opening was a great experience, sharing with people my work physically.

What’s your favorite drink?

I have to say that nothing beats a good ice cold beer! I also really like the Dark and Sandy from ForgtMeNot which has rum and other stuff in it and the Whiskey Ginger from Leadbelly (whiskey, lemon, ginger and honey). With these two, nights get a lot wilder!

Where can people view your work and interact with you online?

You can check my website with my portfolios and contact details. I also havea tumblrthat I update regularly and you can follow me on instagram.

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