Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Wechsler.
Julia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a kid, I was constantly taking photos. I’ll never forget my dad telling me not to “waste film.” For my 15th birthday, he bought me my first digital camera. Since then, a camera has been my constant accessory, allowing me to be curious, observant, ask tough questions, and create lasting memories for myself and others.
Photos push me… when I look back at the number of strangers I’ve approached for a photograph, early wake-ups, random roads I’ve taken, or the extra hills I’ve hiked for that perfect lighting… I understand that this medium inspires me. It has helped encouraged me to travel… taking behind-the-scenes photos in New Zealand on a video project, while traveling alone along the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, to mountain tops closer to home. Taking and sharing photos has been how I’ve made many friendships and a big part of the story of how I met many of the colleagues I still work with today.
Currently, I work as a freelance producer for commercials and branded content and occasionally, I still work as a photographer. When I became interested in visuals as a communication tool, I began college for a BFA in photography and loved it. During school, one of the courses I took was a visual anthropology class. It was a game-changer; I quickly learned the power of storytelling and how video allows for these narratives to be shared more widely. Video can also allow a story to be told first-hand versus from the observer perspective that is often associated with photography.
Around this time, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which changed my perspective on future goals due to my fear that pre-existing conditions exclusions may limit my health insurance options. Recognizing possible consequences besides simply paying rent, I became career-focused. I began, looking for mentors as often as possible interning photo assisting, working as a production assistant, coordinating, and eventually perma-lancing.
During this period, I discovered that I love the collaboration that comes with everyone working together on a goal. There is a unique camaraderie that develops among the team on video shoots and other projects. As I have advanced in my career, I have consistently tried to ask where I can help on projects. Over time my mentor trusted me to take on more and more tasks, and eventually move up the ranks to become the producer on commercial shoots and to do post-production. I’m so thankful for the guidance I’ve received.
I still do photography, but my skillset at bringing people together for a common goal is what I am hired for most frequently. Prepping a project is like designing a frame on the day that we are filming. If no one notices the framework that I built, and each person can focus on doing their best work, then it has been a success. At this point, I work in both Denver and LA. I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with a variety of talented individuals and companies. I’ve also had the good fortune to practice my craft all over the world,
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve been lucky to continue to push myself to grow and seek new opportunities. At times, there have been learning curves, stress, or exhaustion that have come with quick timelines and long hours.
What I’ve learned that has made things more natural is how important it is to be adaptable, resourceful, and to know the strengths of those around me. The best advice I’ve gotten is, “this isn’t brain surgery, no one is going to die based on the outcome of this project.” I work hard to make sure outcomes are always positive.
Please tell us about WexPix and what sets it apart.
In the past, I’ve heavily specialized in destination shoots (mountains, desserts, foreign countries, and projects that require travel to other cities). This is changing for the time being due to COVID-19. While this is the longest I’ve been stationary in years, I’m learning so much and enjoying developing new workflows.
I think that my track record of being level headed in a variety of situations has put me in special considerations for certain projects. For example, I have had to work with foreign governments for quick visas, negotiated with police in Dubai to return home with all our gear in tow, guided crew away from sharks while filming on boats, flown in helicopters, found and negotiated unique locations, filmed in remote locations, and dealt with after-hour emergencies. I have also been successful in finding real people to share their stories or join a crew for an adventure. In general, I think my ability to collaborate with people and to assume nothing is impossible with planning are abilities that set me apart.
As for my photo work, I think my ability to tell visual stories and share alternate world views through images has been impactful. Images have a way of bringing us back to past moments, raising questions, and bring those no longer with us back to life for a moment. Photos encourage new people to meet (hello online communities), go to new places, raise questions, bring us back to past moments, and bring those no longer with us back to life for a moment; that’s really special. I’ve been told that I’ve inspired friends’ kids to want to travel their world and tell stories. Something about encouraging the next generation to connect with people out of their comfort zone is really powerful.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have worked sooner at finding a balance between the creativity that brought me into this field of work and the logistics I balance as a producer.
Starting over would be a challenge. I’m not sure what other careers I could pursue that inspire me in the way my work does now. I’ve made diverse friendships all over the world, found a strong professional community, and a profession that keeps me continually wanting to learn more. I’ve also found creative mediums that can act as inspiration for others and cause change. That is not easy to come by.
- Website: https://wexpix.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wexpix/
Aaron Swartz, Micah Simms, John Roderick, Torch, Eliel Hindert, and Brad Herbst