PIRNIE GENERAL STORE, Weissert, Nebraska 1981
A mentor lent me a Leica M4 Rangefinder the summer of 1981, at which time I took my first good picture after seven years of trying. I had been nearly ready to give up on the idea of becoming a photographer. Then I took this picture of my grandfather in the Pirnie General Store in Weissert, Nebraska. I credit the success of this photo and my photographic career with Leica.
Julia Dean is a photographer, educator, writer, and founder and former executive director of the Los Angeles Center of Photography for 22 years. She is currently the director of The L.A. Project, a group of street, documentary, and news photographers whose mission is to tell the real story of the streets of L.A.
Collaborative projects with talented photographers is Julia’s passion. In the 1990s, she raised money to send six photographers around the world to document stories about child labor. This work resulted in two trips to the Capitol and a lot of press. Her current collaboration is through The L.A. Project.
Julia began her career as an apprentice to pioneering photographer Berenice Abbott. Later, Julia was a photo editor for the Associated Press in New York.She has traveled to more than 45 countries while freelancing for numerous relief groups and magazines. Her extensive teaching experience includes 40 years at various colleges, universities and educational institutions including the University of Nebraska, Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Santa Monica College, the Santa Fe Workshops, the Maine Photographic Workshops, Oxford University, the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and the Leica Akademie.
When did you start using Leica?
I started using a Leica in 1981 when a mentor lent me a M4 Rangefinder camera with a 35 mm lens.
What is your favorite camera?
I loved my Leica M film cameras for 27 years and now I’m crazy about both the Leica Q2 Monochrom and the SL2. Basically, whichever Leica body is in my hands is my favorite.
What is your favorite subject matter to shoot?
Long-term documentary projects and street photography
What other Leica camera are you thinking of getting?
How has Leica changed your life?
I feel like I became a documentary photographer because of my Leica and that changed my life and set my path.