Artist Spotlight: Julian Castaldi


We are back on the blog with another Artist Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is a weekly feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work.

This week, the spotlight is on a photographer based in Dubai, Julian Castaldi. Julian had reached out to us a while back, but we just had the chance to feature him. We loved the Polaroids he captures from the road while following around bands.  One look at his work and you feel he’s not just on assignment, but that he is a true fan of the people he has been fortunate enough to capture. You can see more work from Julian and follow him online at the links below.

Website | Instagram | Twitter

A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.

A concise history to date : Born In Anglesey in Wales moved to South Wales within months grew up in the Valleys

took a trip to LA in 1990 started taking snaps of old LA glam and punk bands just for fun,banks like Junkyard, The Nymphs etc

Back in the UK eventually started touring with the Stereophonics and working with Tom Jones and shooting various bands, festivals around the world.

Now living in Dubai and mainly working on original paintings using acrylics, enamels and pastels and also design screen-print artworks which are sold in the Gulf region through Gallery 1 /

How did you get into instant photography?

I starting touring with a band in 1997 thats when i started taking polaroids regularly, i had always loved the process and the hit and miss one time element and instant tangible outcome only a polaroid can give you

What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

I had a few cameras that bit the dust on the road mainly the old One Step cameras and also a talking polaroid which at times had the recording of Tom Jones, Paul Weller and Chris Evans on it.

What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

I would love to have a play with the old SX-70 Land Camera even if you never used it you could just look at it, gorgeous camera.

What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

Being boring i just go for regular color 600 film, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it…

How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

I spend far more time painting now rather than jobbing photography and i use polaroids to document my painting coming to life.. some of these have made their way to be framed and become a piece of art in their own right.

How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)

I always feel polaroids are far more personal and have a fun element and hold time better than a folder on a mac.. i tend to re visit my boxes of polaroids a couple of times a year.

Any personal projects we should know about?

I did a show in 2002 called Polaroid People a mix of travel and people images along with 20 blown up polaroids on canvas and 2″ thick wooden frames.. I would like to re visit that in Dubai sometime in the future.

I also started asking questions to accompany my polaroids while touring with bands and on music video shoots and plan to launch that as a blog soon called “Private Rooms”

What other photographers do you look up too?

Well a huge influence has been Warhol who shot some incredible Polaroids and understood how to use the medium so well.. I prefer his early work including his Polaroids and department store window display work for Bonwit Teller also Ed Ruscha and Dennis Hopper who are / where artists also, from a commercial angle have always loved the work of Sante Dorazio his book ‘A Private View” was a big influence. Another iconic photographer Dan Eldon had a huge influence on me artistically and mindset wise.

What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

Well firstly they only get 8 shots per pack when we got 10, Ha the good old days.. Its just a case of finding your niche and putting in the hard work

there are many more photographers nowadays with digital and the cost being so affordable so its trickier to stand out i imagine… just keep at it and have a goal in mind early on.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

While on tour i would never be without my camera and at least 2 packs of film as you never knew what you were going to come across i have a set of 10 polaroids of a bus fire starting with a little smoke to fully ablaze. I enjoyed shooting cab drivers and people in the street as much as rock stars and actors.

Oh, I almost forgot to include an image that Julian sent along with his interview. I love seeing this many Polaroids scattered around on a work surface. Inspiring!




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