Freak of the Week - Julie Dermansky

Check out my weekly feature of a notable, like-minded creative doing especially cool things.  Below you will find their answers to my list of questions.  Share support and leave comments - What did you like best about this week's Freak?  Were you inspired? Educated? or otherwise effected?  Share this around and help this important voice be heard.

  1. Who are you?  What do you do?  What is your line of work?  Tell your history in 200 words or less.

Julie Dermansky- photojournalist- multi media reporter. I have been a fine artist since I can remember. I gave up working in a studio with paintbrush and a welder to venture out into the world with cameras. I’m still an artist just using different tools. My work deals with the underlying question of what it is to be human covering topics ranging from conflict, social justice to the degradation of the environment.

2. How do you know Crispina?  How did you meet?  When?  Where?  Who introduced you?

We sold handmade craft items next to each other for years at the Jacob Javits center in NYC at the International Gift Show. I think we met in 1994. We met because we were set up selling out stuff next to each other.

3. Who/what has been most influential in your work?

The coffee table book “ the Best of Life” sat on a table in my parent’s living room. I used to look at that and fantasize about being a photojournalist. So I’d have to point at the book.  Many creatives have influenced my work- including Tennessee Williams, and Niki deStPhalle.

4. If you could (you probably are) send(ing) a message to the world what would it be?

 Be nice to others.  And question authority.

5. When and how did you know to follow the path you have chosen?

I think around the age of 4 I knew I was an artist. I briefly tried not being an artist when I was heading off to college but that only lasted 6 months.

6. Where do you find your inspiration/motivation to continue?

I’m not sure I think it is something in my blood the urge to create. - As for covering stories and exploring the world at large- it is curiosity to see for myself what is going on. Once I want to understand a story I go to cover it and learn what is going on in person. No matter the personal risk or cost.  That said, I don’t chase after all breaking news stories- I just cover topics that are personally relevant to me.

7. Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

I like to ride my bike and stay fit and read, watch films but these days on a tv or computer screen as little of what I want to see is at commercial theaters.

 8. What is one of your fondest memories?  Why?

Collecting shells on Sanibel Island when I was 12. I have always loved to find shells on the beach and Sanibel was covered in them. It was magical to find shells everywhere I looked.

9. Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience?

Being on top of the only float on what would have been Carnival say 2010 in Port-au-Prince Haiti. That day was dubbed a National Day of Mourning.  It was a month after the devastating earthquake.  Yet the people of Haiti couldn’t repress their need to celebrate carnival/life. I climbed on top of a truck that was the one permitted float that led a procession of thousands.. A singer atop the float led the crowd in songs of celebration, prayer and mourning as the float went around the block around the National Palace. Thousands danced and sang in the streets despite the destruction all around them.

10. If you were able to prepare a meal for anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?  What would you want to discuss with that person?  What would you serve?

It depends on my mood who that would be.  I’d like to meet and share a meal with John Lennon, Abbie Hoffman,  Janet Joplin, Margret Burke White,  Tennessee Williams or Jean Tinguely.  Any of those would be great people to meet.  If they were to meet me in New Orleans I’d pick up food from the best Middle Eastern restaurant I have ever eaten at to feed them. The usual stuff- hummus, taboli – kebabs if they eat meat, and futaosh salad.

My kitchen isn’t usually stocked well since I travel a lot so picking up a meal from my favorite place would be the smartest.

11. What is your favorite color?


12. What place is your favorite travel destination?

Anywhere I have never been before . Plus, Tokyo is a place I’d like to spend more time

13. What is a goal or focus for your next 12 months?

To keep doing what I’m doing- while bringing attention to my work so people release they can hire me to document what ever they are doing so I can make money and continue covering the stories important to me. I enjoy shooting anything- not just the work I'm drawn to. Family pictures, events what ever. I need to get more paid work this year since everything around me gets more expensive and the fees for photojournalism are going down.

14. How would you like to be different from who you are now, in 10 years?

I would like to be more established so I don’t have to hustle for work and exhibitions.

15. Paint a picture of your legacy.  How would you like to be remembered or thought of?

I hope the 100 ft fence I welded on East 12th street stays put and continues to give people joy and that the pictures I put out in the world go on telling stories once I am gone. My legacy is probably the people I have touched and shown that they too can live outside the box. I hope those who have my work enjoy it but my legacy- that stuff isn’t really on my mind.

16. Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting?  When?  Where? Details and contact information please.

At the moment I don’t have any exhibitions line up but if anyone knows any curators who would like my work please send them my way that would be great. I am releasing a couple more self-published books soon. Here is a link to book on my work that are currently available.

 If you would like to read more stories I create and see more photo essays please considering purchasing a print.

Readers who contact me via Crispina's blog can get an 8 by 10 print of any image on my site for $100 plus shipping cost or a 13 by 19 prints for $200. Sales don't go to an NGO where you get a tax right off but they go to me so i can go on working and you end up with a print!

Julie Dermansky