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A Professional Portrait by Julio Leipnitz Jnr

UK Head of Photography / Photographer

Christie's Auction House

Photography

Published: 21st February 2018

What inspired you to pursue a career in the arts?

I’ve always liked art but at the same time I never imagined that I’d be working full time in the Art Industry.  I studied Chemical Engineering at University in Brazil, where I’m from. Photography was a hobby and slowly evolved into my career.  From taking shots of my travels, live music and art student’s works, I combined my technical knowledge with the appreciation of photographing art.  I’m glad I did!

 

Can you tell us a little about your role?

I run the UK Photography Department and I also shoot in the studio and on location.  Every single lot sold by Christie’s in the UK, at some stage, goes through our studios.  We produce thousands of images per year.  From printed and online catalogues to Instagram.  The work is very varied and I have a great team of experienced and highly productive photographers.

 

What does your average day entail?

Planning photography for over 100 sales per year plus all the urgent images for Marketing, Press, Valuations, Social Media, events, exhibitions, etc.  Liaising with internal clients and photographers as well as making sure we stick to the budget.  Days fly by!

 

How did you get your job?

While studying Photography at Westminster University, I saw an advert for a Junior Photographer at Christie’s in the British Journal of Photography.  I assumed that it’d be impossible to get but I still applied.  I had an interview, showed off my portfolio, took a few test photographs and got the job! That was in 1994 and I haven’t looked back since.

 

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing the amazing and varied art we see everyday in our studios.  My favourite thing to shoot is interiors on location.  Where you photograph the room and all the contents together to show how they interact and go well together.

 

What is the hardest part of your job?

Trying to predict the unpredictable.  We work in a very fast paced industry where everything is urgent and images are required right now all the time.  I constantly have to adjust plan A to keep up.

 

What has been the highlight of your career?

One of them must be photographing Ayrton Senna’s helmet.  A national hero in Brazil and I brought my own flag into the studio for the shoot.  Not included in the lot!

 

What is your favourite Artwork?

It keeps changing.  The more I see, the more favourites I have.  The latest is Shift by Bridget Riley.  Painted in 1963.  Black and white triangles that appear to be moving as you look at the painting.  Optical art at its best.

 

Which artist would you have liked or would like to meet?

René Magritte.  I’d like to know more about his abstract mind and why he sees normal live and objects in such a different way than most people.

 

What advice would you give to people trying to enter the art industry?

Keep trying.  See as much art as you can.  Feel it.  Learn how to look at objects.  Different angles and light.  If you want to become a Fine Art Studio Photographer, start by shooting for art students and build up your portfolio.

 

If you weren’t in the art industry, what would you be doing?

Either playing the electric bass in a jazz/rock band as I did while a teenager or, in a dream world, be a Formula 1 driver, my dream as a 10 year old.