The grey and rainy fall days are all around us and what better to color up the day than an interview with one of our favorite photographers, @picturingjuj! Bright pink, yellow, blue and orange: no color is too crazy for her. Still lives with a smart twist; that’s what she’s best at.
Her name is Juj Winn and she is a photographer based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. “I create still and animated imagery for web and print media for brands and editorial. I love creating content that is bright and colorful with a touch of whimsy. I want to make the world a little brighter, and I’m trying to do that one photo at a time.”
Juj was born with a camera in her hand and has been practicing photography for as long as she can remember. However, she graduated from college with a degree in painting and drawing. “After graduation, I did a lot of graphic design and illustration, and I began using photography as a tool to help me with my design and illustration. As time went on I gradually put down the pencils and paints and moved to photography full time.”
How did your own personal style evolve over the years?
About your very specific, colorful photo-edits: Could you explain your style to us?
“My style is an extension of my design and painting background”, Juj tells us.
“I like to say I don’t “take” pictures, I “make” them.” And it’s true. She tends to create things that are very clean and graphic with a lot of attention to detail. The editing makes the image ride a fine line between photography and illustration. Some true masterpieces, if you ask us. “Coming up with new concepts for brands and bringing them to life is one of my favorite things to do. I love my job, and I feel so lucky to have it.”
She sure has a lot going on in her life at the same time. But she seems to have it worked out a system to keep it all under control. When asked how she keeps track of new ideas and projects she answered: “Ideas pop into my head all the time, and when they do I write them down on a little Post-It note and stick it to the wall in my studio. I have more than enough ideas on my wall and I will probably never get through them all.”
Her own system makes her laugh a little. Maybe because it ends up being more chaotic than she intends it to be! But sometimes she is also just not in the mood to shoot something from the list, so there are times when Juj spends the day trying to think of new and inventive ideas anyway. “I don’t work off a recurring theme but I do reuse my props a lot so some things will crop up again and again. And, of course, if I am working on a particular image I will try many different variations on it to find the one that works best so there will be other images that come from that session that are similar.”
When looking at her feed, it is nearly impossible to not notice how often the color pink recurs in her works. Because, why not? Here at Pickmotion we also think it is an awesome color! When asked about this Juj replied: “I like pink – I think it’s a great neutral and I’m happy it’s had a resurgence – but it isn’t my favorite color. In fact, I don’t actually have any pink in my house. I tend to be drawn to colors in nature – blues, and greens, and oranges. My house is very earthy, and my wardrobe is mostly gray and black.”
Juj feels inspired by literally everything: the fruit at her local market, the rocks and leaves, and feathers she finds on one of her daily walks, her friends, family, weird shapes at the hardware store and ads she sees on television. “And there are way too many artists that inspire me to ever hope to name (or even remember!) them all. In school, I was very inspired by the dadaists, surrealists, and pop artists, and that hasn’t changed. Wayne Thiebaud will forever and always be my favorite, and I love the work of Robert Jackson. I think Adam Voorhees is a genius – his work is so clever and clean and simple but really packs a punch, and of course, all the people I find on Pinterest or Instagram.”
Juj joined Instagram for the first time in 2011 when she was only using it as a place to share observations and photos with friends and family and people I knew from Flickr. But the longer she was on the platform, the more she saw the value of sharing some of her commercial work until she reached the point that that was pretty much all she was sharing anymore. “When I scroll back through my feed my earlier posts seem much more authentic, and I really miss that. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about shifting things back in that direction. I’m weary with maintaining a tightly curated feed, and I’m becoming less interested in whether something “fits” and more interested in whether it speaks to me at the moment. I think a lot of times we second guess what we post because we’re worried about numbers and followers and likes, and I do enjoy those things, but it seems unhealthy to let them drive what I post.”
She loves to follow up on certain people on Instagram. She is a bit of an introvert herself, so reaching out to other people for collaborations is a bit of a struggle for her, even though she would like to do so more in the future! However, she especially enjoys seeing what @paloma_rincon_, @jessicavwalsh, @lellopepper, and @thefeedfeed.vegan have been up to. “There are so many talented people on Instagram and I feel like I discover someone new every time I open the app.”