Julie Dermansky is a documentary photographer whose work focuses on social, environmental and political change. She is an Affiliate Scholar at the Rutgers University Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights; a Thomas J. Watson Fellow; and a recipient of an NEA grant. When not on assignment, Dermansky covers stories around the world to which she is drawn based on her regard for the significance of the event or subject.
Dermansky was born in New York City in 1966. She started her career as a sculptor and painter after getting a BFA from Tulane University in 1988. Her sculpture has been exhibited at Socrates Park in Long Island City, and the New York City Percent for Art program awarded her two commissions. Since switching from painting and sculpture to photography in 2004, her photographs have been published internationally in such publications as the Times of London, Der Spiegel, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek and Time magazine. She is also a regular contributor to The Atlantic’s website where she has published mutli-media stories since 2010.
Her long-term documentary projects include photographing genocide sites around the world, the Louisiana's wetlands, and natural history collections in both private and institutional settings. Her recent photography exhibitions include: “As I See It: Julie Dermansky Documents A World Of Changes,” Paul Robeson Gallery, Rutgers University, 2012; “Haiti, After the Earthquake,” Ogden Museum, New Orleans, LA, 2011; “Memorial Sites: New York to Nairobi,” Center for Architecture, New York City, 2008; “Natural Selections,” Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science and Art, Scranton, PA, 2006; "Natural and Unnatural History" Roberson Museum and Science Center, Binghamton, NY, 2005.
Julie’s interest in social justice started at a young age. Her parents participated in local politics, protests, and marched on Washington with Martin Luther King and raised her and her siblings in Englewood, New Jersey, one of the few multi-racial communities in Bergen County NJ, a suburb of New York City.
At a summer camp at age 11 she read Elie Wiesel’s "Night," and began to question mankind's capacity for evil. Julie marveled at Picasso's “Guernica” at the Museum of Modern Art before she could truly understand it. Her eye for photography was developed through “The Best of Life,” a coffee table photography book that introduced her to the power of photojournalism. Those images informed her way of looking at the world.
In college she started as a history major but quickly recognized that art was her true calling. Antonio Guardi’s work inspired her to work large and create environments for the pubic. In the two projects for New York’s City s Percent for the arts program she created whimsical environments for children.
In 2004 Julie gave up her studio and took off around the world with her first digital camera, working on a project that focused on museums at genocide sites. As her experience behind the camera grew her dream of becoming a photojournalist became a reality through her documentary photography.
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