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Meet Julia Ciaccio of Jules Photography in North Side

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Ciaccio.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Even as a tiny baby, I knew I would be an artist. It is something I think I was just born to be. Growing up, our house was filled with art, music, cooking and baking, crafts, basically anything using your hands to be creative. My mom creates more art than anyone I know, and my dad is an out of this world jazz piano player. Throughout my 33 years, I have never once questioned what I wanted to do. My first love was painting. There is paint on my hands right now actually! When I was a kid I thought my older sister, Maria was the absolute coolest, I still feel the same. With her 35-mm camera that I learned on, I took one of my first photos ever that still is on my desk. It’s of my sister on a grassy hill, and my finger is covering part of the lens. Our talented little sister Gina now uses that very same amazing 35 mm camera.

Since then, I have forever been obsessed with taking photos of absolutely everything, everybody, and everywhere. I am quite annoyingly famous to my friends and family for always having a camera in front of my face or constantly saying, ‘this light is just so so beautiful.’ Which it is! Light is beautiful, what can I say. While in school for painting, I worked part time at a photography studio specializing in family and children which not only expanded my love and knowledge of photography and business, but taught me about the photogenic energy that kiddos have and their fun & simple take on life. An important lesson I learned at that little studio and continue to learn is what an honor it is to share moments with families and be the one to document special memories. This inspiration would eventually grow into what is now Jules Photography. I am so grateful and thankful to have the best friends and clients with the most beautiful families that hand me opportunities to document their memories and allow me to do every day, for the past 6 years, what I absolutely love.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh goodness, choosing to be an artist is an obstacle in itself. Add running a small business in there makes for not the smoothest of roads, but I don’t think it is supposed to be!! Struggles are part of the learning experience and signs of a growing business, artist, and person. One of the biggest struggles I and my business face I think is the advancement of technology, like phone cameras that are now insanely advanced. Everyone is inspired to be the best photographer in the world, which is awesome, but makes my job a little bit tougher. Just the advancement of digital photography in general and high-tech cameras being so available to everyone is an obstacle. I think that this challenge can be utilized as a positive tool because not only should everyone be inspired to create, but it also personally challenges me to discover, learn and grow along with advancements in technology and digital photography and constantly pushes me to be more unique. I sure do miss film though, and still carry around my 10-year-old plastic fisheye camera on special occasions.

Jules Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I specialize in on-location photography, and absolutely aim to capture organic moments in a more lifestyle documentary kind of way. Posing people is not really my game, catching something like a natural hand hold or giggle is. I also absolutely hate having my photo taken, hate it. So, I sympathize with those who share my in front of the lens fear. I really aim to have a comfortable, natural, easy, stress free experience which photographs very well. No matter who or what the subject, having fun and creating a relaxed environment is so important to me. Families and kiddos are what I photograph most, which is just so much fun. Kids are so entertaining to photograph, they surprise me every time with their unexpected stories, imaginary friends, facial expressions, songs and dances, self-picked outfits, reaction when I tell them not to smile, There is a particular energy that kids have and it is so contagious and fun to capture with a camera. They keep me young too. I just adore laughing along with them.

The on-location part of my job is the best. Chicago is stunning and overflowing with photographic amazingness and I have been in love with our city forever. Walking through of one of the many neighborhoods with clients and using street scenes as a backdrop is my favorite type of shoot. Right now, I think some of the most exciting parts of the city is where all of the magnificent street art is happening. Basically, all of Logan Square, Pilsen, downtown even is just booming with murals, pictures, colors, all of which are so photogenic and also is a nod to our fine city.

I think also what sets me apart from others is using a painter’s rather than a photographer’s eye. Colors, line, balance of composition and shapes, light are all such a huge part of my work. and actually, some of my photographs unconsciously end up mimicking some of my paintings which I think is super cool.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I think success is defined by waking up every day, excited to get to work, always having new ideas, and simply being able to say ‘I’m happy and proud.” Being inspired and able to take on challenges with ease is also something I think defines success. New clients, referrals, new projects, interviews such as this, are all markers I look out for. I shot a wedding in Brooklyn last October and not only was it just so cool to be there, it was something I never ever thought I would do! It really made me feel a sense of accomplishment and enthusiasm. There is also a bridge being built between my paintings and my photography which is what I have always strived for. I think that the two really support one another and go hand in hand. To be able to brand the two together is my ultimate goal. Slowly but surely, I feel like it is happening. With patience, which is absolutely key, it is fun and exciting to watch business grow and myself grow with it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Julia Ciaccio & Maria Ciaccio

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