Shoot the Breeze: Julian Master


Do you ever look at a stranger sitting across from you on public transit and wonder what their life is like, what they do when they’re alone at home, or out on a Friday night? It is this curiosity for the unfamiliar-yet-everyday subject and their underlying stories that motivates photographer Julian Master’s work. Currently living in New York, Master encounters his subjects in passing, on the streets, or while travelling abroad. While his finished work lends a movie-character quality to these strangers, it never feels as though he is making a spectacle out of them. He approaches his subjects with sensitivity and humour and challenges our tendency to make assumptions based on shallow visual cues. Master’s photos offer a “brief vantage into the lives of compelling and strange people,” featuring characters that could easily be written into a Todd Solondz screenplay. – Cerian Phillips 




1. How would you describe your photos?
They’re supposed to be funny and plot-based. I want it to be easy for a person to be able to quickly concoct a story from the photo when they look at it.

2. Do you carry your camera with you everywhere you go?
Yes. If I forget to take it with me, I get a sick feeling in my stomach. I don’t want to miss out on a shot because I left my camera at home.

3. What celebrity would you like to shoot most?
Kanye West. I feel he’s made a decision to say weird stuff all the time even though he’s really famous. That’s interesting.

4. What animal would you like to be, if not a human?
A gorilla. They seem pretty human. I’m quite happy being a human.

5. What’s your current obsession?
My current obsession is scanning film. Go figure.

Going Out of Business, NYC, 2015






6. Would you like to live forever?
I think living forever would be torturous. I would like to live to the age of 200. That way I could see the future where robots drive us around.

7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Conan O’Brien said that “If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” He didn’t really ‘give’ me this advice but I watch his show a lot so it still counts.

8. What do you do in your spare time?
I’m working on making realistic replica food jewelry. First I’m trying to make a pair of earrings that look like Cheez-Its.

9. Do you like having your photo taken?
If I’ve planned already for somebody to take my photo, I don’t mind in the slightest. But there was this one time I was sitting in a bar, and a man came up to me and shot a photo of my face using a flash. I shoot strangers on the street all the time with a flash, so you’d think I’d be used to it. But I’m not. The guy walked away quick like it was nothing, which is something I also do when street shooting. People do give me weird looks a lot when I take photos of them. I have empathy for them.

10. Which photographers do you like right now?
Alex Webb, Martin Parr, Richard Sandler, Max Pinckers, and Richard Mosse. Richard Sandler frequented a coffee shop I used to work at. He sparked my interest for street photography.