We had the good fortune of connecting with Julius Schlosburg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julius, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have enjoyed photography, along with other forms of expression such as music and paper folding, since I was a kid. In my 20’s I managed the networks and computer security for an East-coast company – as interest and fulfillment in that field waned I began bringing a camera with me to local shows in which I was either performing or just attending. I also began to bring it with me on hikes, and happened to be dating someone who had a great deal of knowledge about photography which they generously shared with me. Eventually, musicians and a few local nonprofits began asking if I could document their shows and events. The thought of starting my own business had crossed my mind and I quickly dismissed it, but at the prompting of several friends, I eventually made the decision to abandon my career and start my little photo business. I’m not very good at business, but somehow, with the support of so many people in the community here, things have worked out and I’m so gratefully able to do what I love for a living.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Hmmm, I will be honest in that I don’t spend much time inspecting how my work is different than others, but a great deal of time finding inspiration, beauty, and consequence in the works of colleagues in my community of practice. I actually do not find it difficult to photograph – many of the organizations I work with simply request that I “do what I do,” and I have to admit that I’m not sure I could reliably do otherwise. If I had to pick something out, it would be that I truly find joy in what I do. Photographing a conference is joyful for me. Photographing a wedding brings me great happiness and a host of more nuanced, hard-to-come-by emotional states. Making commissioned landscapes… I could do for months on end without tire. On the other hand, sometimes I am asked to document things which are extremely difficult to confront, things which reveal the darkest sides of our society – yet those are the topics which I care deeply about and I document them with the passion for change that I wish to see take place. I think when something brings you joy, or moves you deeply, or instills passion, you will become obsessed with it. That obsession seems to make one’s job easier. The most difficult part for me is just running the business side – the invoicing, the calendars, the communication. As someone with severe ADHD and several cognitive disabilities, those tasks can be extremely difficult and error-prone. But I just try to set aside copious amounts of time to work through them; my clients and colleagues have always been very patient and understanding with me in that regard.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ooh. Well, those who know me know that I love a good trail. Tucson Mountain Park is one of my favorite places on this planet. It’s such a strange place – there is one canyon in which the ground is a pastel cyan. Another where there are strange, undulating, orange sandstone formations reminiscent of Southern Utah. Sometimes the trail will go from deep red stone, to a brilliant yellow powder, to orange dirt, to cubic, geometric magenta rock – a myriad mineral deposits lie within its hills. There are countless peaks to explore, microclimates which cause dense saguaro forests on one hill where the next has a preponderance of cholla. My go-to for those visiting Tucson is the simple, flat, short David Yetman Trail segment which starts at the Camino de Oeste Trailhead and extends to the ruins of the Bowen Stone House, which, aside from being beautiful in its own right, has enormous windows which reveal specific peaks and sights like picture frames. From that trail, one can explore the offshoot Bowen Trail, which leads to the lovely Lorraine Lee Hidden Canyon Trail, or continue on the Yetman Trail to the next canyon, which meets a host of branching paths leading through Cat Mountain, Little Cat Mountain, Golden Gate Mountain and eventually out the other side of Gates Pass, where yet more trails await exploration. I just love that park. I love that our parks here are entire mountain ranges!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh wow, there are so many people and organizations who have so kindly supported me over the years! Two of those people are Ana Cornide and Trayce Peterson of Splitseed Productions. They are incredible community leaders and activists who work tirelessly and often behind-the-scenes to make things happen in Southern Arizona. I’m incredibly grateful and constantly inspired to know them both.
Molly Condit/Great Bear Media, Julius Schlosburg