Art Producers Speak: ioulex

- - Art Producers Speak

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email:

Anonymous Art Director: I nominate ioulex and have been a fan since they first started shooting. They bring such craft and care to the photos they take and you can see this in the work they do. The photos are unique and beautiful. It’s been great working with them and watching their career grow. I don’t say this about a lot of people but I do think they are iconic for our generation and will continue to get bigger and bigger.

Portrait of Diane Pernet in Paris

Annie Morton in Pennsylvania

Choreographer Benjamin Millepied for The New Yorker

Actor Adam Driver for Flaunt magazine

Young actress Odeya Rush for Flaunt magazine

Portrait of Mykki Blanco for Flaunt magazine

a still life from our installation at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York

from a fashion story featuring Iris van Herpen couture collection for Big magazine

Costume designer Christian Joy in her studio, for The New York Times T magazine

Painter Damian Loeb in his studio for The Block magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

How many years have you been in business?
We’ve been shooting as a duo for about 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
We both graduated from Parsons School of Design, majoring in graphic design. We studied in Paris and New York. We took a couple photography classes, but nothing extensive. We are basically self-taught in photography.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
We are mostly influenced by cinematography – the work of our favorite DP’s — Sven Nykvsit, Sasha Vierny, and Raoul Coutard. Also the films of Cassavetes and Fassbinder. As far as actual “working photographers”, we are very much in awe of some of the inexhaustible Magnum members – Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Steve McCurry. The thought of them continuously producing brilliant work over a long period of time is very inspiring.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
We never feel like we’ve exhausted all the possibilities, there is so much you can experiment within image making. Whenever we see a new beautiful film, a dance performance, visual art exhibition, it makes us excited about photography again, thinking how we could translate or evoke something we saw using our tools, in two dimensions, for an editorial shoot or a personal project.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
No, we haven’t been in a situation like this. Maybe because we don’t shy away from talking to the client, communicating what we’re trying to accomplish. Of course it’s crucial to work with creatives who are confident and passionate about what they do and, very importantly, choose us for the right project.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
We update our website regularly, and share specific new projects with individual art buyers and creatives.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Nobody wants to see anything, they are bombarded from all directions. The only way is to share specifically on an individual basis, to be aware what clients the art buyer is working with, what their background is, what their taste might be like.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
We really feel like you can only shoot for yourself, whether you’re getting paid or not. We always have something in the works.

How often are you shooting new work?
In addition to editorial projects, we have on-going personal series, and some spontaneous little projects that we make up every day.

Photography duo ioulex is Julia Koteliansky and Alexander Kerr. They graduated from Parsons School of Design, and live and work together between New York and Paris. Their images appeared in the New York Times T magazine, New Yorker, Die Zeit, Big, Flaunt, and Dossier Journal. Ioulex’s work was exhibited at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York, Colette in Paris, and Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo among others. Advertising clients include Helmut Lang, Bloomberg, and Zara.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Suzanne Sease

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. With the great pleasure I read these “Art Producers Speak” – as many interesting photographers!

  2. They really are unique and beautiful. Quite a contrast, too, having this right after the Zack Arias interview. Zack’s a great, entertaining guy for teaching some basic standard technique, but that won’t get you to a level that ioulex are on. The “arty” path may not worth or be for everyone, but it has a very important place in photography, and ioulex seem a good example.

  3. In photography, being self taught can be an advantage – as seen in these photographs. One can see things with a fresh perspective and one can drop all the technical blah-blah any old time.