Julian Oldenburg

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Julian Oldenburg, 20, is a photographer based in Cape Town. His love for photography started at a young age and now as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, he draws his inspiration to explore gender and identity through the body and fashion. At an early stage, he gained recognition for his fashion and had his first fashion shoot published by Between 10 and 5.

View his photographs produced during this year, along with his year-end interview below:


When you started the programme what genre of photography were you interested in and has this shifted over the course of the year?

When I started, my main interest was fashion photography. Throughout the year my interest in fashion grew and it became my specialised section in my commercial portfolio.

Analogue (film) or Digital photography and why?

Both. I love the quality, look and feel of film. However, I prefer working and mainly work with a digital camera as I find I have more control. I also shoot with film, depending on the project.

What subject matter do you find yourself drawn to?

I find myself drawn to the exploration of gender and identity through fashion and the body.

Pick three words/phrases that describe your approach to the medium?

Playful, experimental, different.

Why did you choose to study photography?

My interest in photography started at a young age. It became a hobby of mine and I wanted to extend my knowledge and skill.

What has been the most noteworthy shoot/project you have done this year?

The most noteworthy projects would be my fashion and my body/ self-portraiture. My fashion got published on Between 10 and 5, and my body/self-portraiture helped me find my voice and medium.

Who is your biggest photographic influence at the moment and how/why?

Robert Mapplethorpe. He helped form my body project. His photographs are stunning, playful and shocking. Though his style and visual language are quite different to mine, he helped inform me of my practice.

What has been your biggest misconception about photography as a practice?

That it’s easy. A photograph is not just a picture, a lot more thought goes into a photograph.

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt on the course?

To be patient. Reshooting isn’t always bad. Giving and listening to constructive criticism to and from peers is important. Step out of your comfort zone.

What advice would you give to anyone seriously considering applying for the course?

The same as the previous question. Also, take it seriously. Work hard, manage your time, it’s essential.