Julio Juan

Julio Juan 26 (b. 1994, Valencia, SP).
I grew up in a small industrial town, Sagunto. Since my childhood, I have always been enveloped and inspired by the aesthetic ugliness that surrounded me along with the smoke and the surroundings of the factories. However, at the same time, a part of me breathed oxygen and felt the blue of the sky, as well as the beach breeze in my hometown.

THEM is the title of my first documentary series.

It has run over 3 years. The idea came to me when I moved alone to Brighton from Spain aged 23, and with a broken heart. Each day I would go to the same concrete skate park.  It´s called The Level. I would sit down every day for a smoke and watch the world in motion. It was there that I started new conversations in my pigeon English with friends, writers, skaters, workmen and dealers. We´d talk about nothing in particular but they were always meaningful interactions. I loved asking questions to find out more about who they were and so I would build a picture in my mind of this new human being before I captured their unique personalities on film.

I did the same when I took the train up to London. Always with my camera at hand, I would approach real individuals that caught my eye across the capital, from Soho to Bethnal Green.  Ultimately what I am trying to do is to capture the unique emotional connection between me and my friends through their eyes.

Casting for THEM is now completed. I feel satisfied with where it has gone to so I am starting to print my favourites. What struck me throughout this project is that we are all made of the same fragile matter. Warm souls waiting to connect and yearning to be part of something. A community, a perspective, a movement, a place, a conversation, but every single one utterly unique.

Dianne Arbus, Tish Murtha, Wolfgang and Nan Goldin, among others, are the pillars of my visual culture. For over two years I have lived in the UK, developing a wide variety of jobs, from hospitality services to photographing rave landscapes, as well as carrying out my projects such as collecting street portraits and "The Dolphin Project", a photo documentary on human masculinity: a very subjective concept.

Vivienne Westwood is also part of my fashion references, specifically her work on how to mediate with the world through wearing clothes such as activism, ecology, and developing an open mind, three basic things we must all learn in school. I am very proud to work for her, as well as the headquarters of the prestigious Serpentine Galleries. Looking back on my career, I can only find words to thank Anthony Thurner, who at a very early stage saw my vision and potential through my shooting. However, without my family, friends and loved ones and the support they have given me throughout this journey, I would not be the artist I am today.