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One to Watch

November 26, 2008

Julia Fullerton-Batten

A rising star in the photography world, London-based artist Julia Fullerton-Batten alternates easily between fine art photography and commercial commissions, with the ability to capture the aloofness and allure of modern living.

Born in Germany and raised in the US and the UK, Fullerton-Batten leapt into the photography industry as a freelance assistant after completing a BTEC Diploma in Photography at Berkshire College of Art and Design. There, she developed a distinct style, characterized by careful lighting — often supplementing natural light with flash bulbs — and fastidious location scouting, costumes, and composition. Her photographs have a slick air about them, subtly counterbalanced by unsettling narratives that grate on otherwise flawless images.

This contrast is manifest in her ongoing series of photographs of teenage girls. In Teenage Stories, street-cast models act out scenarios in model cities, while School Play focuses on the rites and rituals of uniformity in institutions of learning. In the most recent series, In Between — which alludes to the transition from childhood to adult life — Fullerton-Batten captures girls in suspended motion using post-production techniques. Her subjects are frozen, yet propelled by a beckoning force — floating from a four poster bed or poised for take-off amid shards of a shattered glass at her feet. These strangely detached images, and others in her personal oeuvre, evoke the isolated urban scenes of Edward Hopper, who Fullerton-Batten cites as inspiration, along with artists Eric Fischl and Gerard Schlosser.

Employing her eye for the whimsical, Fullerton-Batten has garnered a wide range of commissions, from a series of 16 portraits of leading NHS professionals (A Picture of Health) for London's National Portrait Gallery, to advertising campaigns with Sony and Ligne Roset. With a number of prestigious awards under her belt (the Prize of the Royal Photographic Society London and the Prix de la Fondation HSBC 2007) and regular appearances at art and photography fairs and biennales, Fullerton-Batten is clearly in full flight.

-Helen Holtom

Julia Fullerton-Batten is exhibiting at London's Eric Franck Fine Art through November 28. Her work is also on view from December 3 through 7 with Madrid's Camara Oscura Galeria de Arte at Photo Miami and with Jenkins Johnson Gallery, as part of Scope Miami's special projects program.

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