You may not know Houston native Julie Soefer by name, but chances are you have seen her photographs. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Texas Monthly, and Houston magazine. Julie graduated from the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University, and began her career in the New York photography scene before relocating to her hometown of Houston, Texas in 2006. Julie worked closely in New York with legendary photographer Arnold Newman, known for his environmental portraits of iconic artists and politicians such as Picasso, Woody Allen, and JFK. After working with Newman, Julie worked behind the scenes for famed celebrity photographer Andrew Eccles, producing photo shoots for major motion picture studios and television networks. In 2004, Julie's images surged into the national media spotlight, as they were featured in director Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me. Her now iconic photo of Spurlock with his mouth stuffed full of French fries was used as the movie poster. In 2010, Julie was a finalist for New York’s prestigious Hearst Photography Biennial, and was the winner of the 20th Annual Texas Photographic Society's Members Only Show.
Julie, who loves to travel, remains a Texas girl at heart. “Being in New York City was great,“ says Julie. “But being in Texas gives me the space to think. And being based in Houston lets me pursue my vision without compromise.” Her work in Texas’ largest city has taken her in many fascinating directions. “I view Houston as the Wild West for creatives,” she says. Julie has made a name for herself as one of the leading culinary photographers in the Southwest. Her exquisite culinary work spans from contributing images to multiple cookbooks to shooting for many of Houston's top restaurant groups. Her culinary photography has been featured in magazines including Food and Wine and Cooking Light. Julie was also a major creative force in shaping the Houston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau’s forward-thinking “Houston Is…” national advertising campaign. The campaign featured a wide variety of local artists, chefs, and athletes, and subsequently appeared in The New York Times. In addition to local editorial and commercial work, Julie is a prolific fine arts photographer, represented in Houston by the Barbara Davis Gallery. In 2011, Davis hosted Julie’s well-received Out of Range exhibition.
Julie has sought to distinguish herself through her dedication to “in camera” composition, avoiding the pitfalls and clichés of overly involved post-production. Her intense artistic dedication shows through regardless of whether she’s shooting a plate of enchiladas, haute fashion figures, post-modern architectural spaces, or children playing at a carnival. And if you don’t believe it, just ask Julie’s companion, Mr. Leo—the most photographed dog in Space City, USA.
University of Houston grad Harry Dearing III – an art major who has pursued both sculpture and digital filmmaking – was in the midst of climbing the Whole Foods hierarchy when fate stepped in: photographer Julie Soefer needed one more aesthetic-minded assistant for her big shoot for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. And the Don Dellilo-reading, Federico Fellini worshipping 24 year old was just the young man for the job. These days, Harry is crucial player on Team Soefer, keeping his boss entertained with a wicked sense of humor and a constant supply of strange Asian deserts. What’s more, Harry – who was raised in the Woodlands, and as a youth was banned from the Woodlands Mall – has emerged a part of Houston’s underground film scene, including his 2012 exhibition “7 Minutes in Heaven,” a video and photo-driven conceptual art project aimed at exploring the sex lives of suburban teens. When not working, Harry’s pastimes include surfing and singing karaoke – “Ballroom Blitz” is his go-to number. “I’m not good at singing,” he shrugs. “I’m good at shrieking.”
Dance, fashion and photography are the poles of Claudia Casabrian’s millennial take on the arts. Like her boss, Julie Soefer, the newly minted Rice Graduate (Class of 2012) is a lifelong Houstonian, who has worked independently for the web-based magazine CultureMap Houston, as well as Cite, published by the Rice Design Alliance. “I like the technicality of it,” says Claudia of photography. “I also like science and math. It’s a technical art.” Lest anybody take her for a nerd, however, Claudia has a keen interest in pop culture, regarding Lady Gaga and Kanye West as the two living stars she would like to meet most in the world. In the spring of 2011, while still a student, Claudia found the perfect way to combine her interest in art and fashion by photographing three months worth of her own outfits for a project titled “Daily Dress.” When it comes time to unwind, Claudia is a fan of minty mojitos.
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