Julie Pointer Adams | Apiece Apart Woman

Julie Pointer Adams | Apiece Apart Woman
 
Photographer, author, mother, interior design enthusiast and honorary member of the Apiece Apart team, Julie Pointer Adams does it all. So when we heard she was coming out with a new book, Al Fresco, we immediately needed to know more

Julie invited us into her home in Santa Barbara, sharing the inspiration behind Al Fresco, how it’s different from Wabi-Sabi Welcome and some important life mottos. Read on to learn more about Julie’s life in California, her interior design philosophy and her first 35 mm film camera.
 
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What was the inspiration behind Al Fresco? Why did you decide to publish another book? If there’s one takeaway you’d like people to remember from this book what would it be?

The inspiration for Al Fresco ultimately comes from my lifelong love of being out in nature and sharing those moments with others around food and drink in a carefree, unfussy way. The outdoors, sunshine, and fresh air have so consistently been a healing balm for me, and I wanted to try to wrap that feeling up into the pages of this book. Rather than simply show and write about how that’s made manifest in my own life, I wanted to highlight and hear from a variety of people about how the natural world—and gathering with others out in it—has improved their own lives in meaningful, personal ways. The book also happened to come to fruition at a time when it was safest to spend time with other people outdoors, and so it all fell into place quite naturally.

If people remember just one thing about the book, whether from reading it or simply flipping through and looking at the images, I want them to cling to the fact that we all have some form of free nature available to us. The benefits of spending time outdoors in the company of others are always there for the taking. We only have to be willing to open our eyes, our hands, and to partake in whatever is offered to us.

 


You published your first book, Wabi-Sabi Welcome in June of 2017. How was writing Al Fresco different from that experience? With everything that the world has been through over the past two years was it harder to pull in outside inspiration for this book?

Writing Wabi-Sabi Welcome was a much more internal process for me. I had a lot more time to focus on the writing itself (i.e. that was before my son was born!), and although I traveled and photographed people all over the world for the book, the project had many fewer collaborators and contributors, at least in terms of the written content. This time around I knew that I didn’t have the brain power or time to write the whole thing myself (nor did I think I have that much of interest to say), and interviewing others and featuring their own reflections as the bulk of the content seemed much more compelling for this particular concept. I also got to collaborate with a number of women photographers whom I love and respect for producing a handful of the profiles across the globe, and that was very rewarding.
 
Apart from the strangeness of these two years for everyone globally, the entire season that I was working on this project was one of great personal upheaval, change, and un-rootedness for me and my family. It wasn’t the easiest time by any means to be working on a project of this scale! It certainly made it harder for me to feel my best self in almost every sense, but especially creatively…which is why I’m so extra grateful for all the amazing people involved in the book who have helped make it come to life.

 


Who do you look up to and why?

The people I look up to most are those who have a humble and deeply self-aware sense of themselves—individuals who know what their values are and hold an awareness of their larger purpose front of mind—and don’t let this knowledge be swayed based on popular opinion, the changing of the tides, or whoever they happen to be around at the time. All this while still being gracious, kind, and flexible enough to keep learning and changing their minds if and when they learn new information. This is hard to find! But when I encounter people of this nature, it gives me courage to more adamantly stay grounded in who I am and what I know to be true about myself and the world around me.

 

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You’re not only an author but also an amazing photographer and an asset to the Apiece Apart team. How did your career in photography start? Was it something you had always wanted to do? If you remember a specific moment we’d love to know more about it.

That’s so kind!—and I feel so privileged to be able to contribute to the team. My path towards photography as a part of my career was sort of an unexpected one and not something I necessarily ever expected, although I’ve always been an extremely visual and detail-observing person.
 
My uncle loaned me my first 35 mm film camera when I was 15, and during high school I spent some time doing an internship with a local photographer. Later, I took a photography class or two in college as well, but it was always something I did on the side as a personal pursuit in addition to my other artistic endeavors, never something I thought about as a serious career option. After graduate school (where I thought more about objects, spaces, and experiences than 2-D work), I worked for Kinfolk Magazine for a few years, where I was constantly in the presence of professional photographers. These were people I deeply admired, but my proximity to them made me feel especially as though my photography would always just be an amateur hobby.
 
Fast forward a couple years to working on my first book, and a few trusted friends really encouraged me to photograph the project myself, rather than hire someone else to do what they knew I could do myself. Making the decision to present my photos in such a public way truly changed the course of my personal path, and psychologically allowed me to start calling myself a photographer professionally. I think I would consider that the biggest turning point for me as far as changing my mindset about how photography could be a part of both my personal and working life. While it’s been a very slow build to make photography something that legitimately pays the bills (still working on it!), I feel very grateful that it’s something I get to pursue more intently at this stage of my life.

 


Do you feel your surroundings in Santa Barbara are a natural inspiration to your work?

My life in Santa Barbara is a constant source of inspiration simply because of how intimately tied to nature I am here. The geography itself presents little bookends to our small-ish town with the mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south (the Santa Barbara area is uniquely situated on the mostly-vertical California coast in this confusing configuration)—and we have the Channel Islands hugging us not far off. Orienting yourself at all times by the mostly untamed mountains and sea, along with sun overhead a vast majority of the year, means that everything I do and make is infused with this vibrant, breathing landscape around me. It feeds and fuels every part of how I live.

 

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If you had a billboard, what is one thing you want to share with the world?

It’s been said by many others far more eloquently, but life is just too short to go through it with unkindness, selfishness, and greed. We are here to take care of one another and to cherish the Earth and all that is on it. Let’s each take responsibility to do better in whatever ways that we can, and to be grateful for every breath we have and gift we are given.

 


Your home interiors are always so soothing and beautiful. What's your interior design philosophy?

I can’t say I have any particular philosophy apart from the fact that I always decorate in a way that feels personal, intimate, and calming to me. I try to avoid making decisions based on current trends or objects of status—plus I’ve always operated on an exceedingly shoestring budget by necessity, and therefore I’ve gotten very good at making do with what I have. Plenty of my home furnishings are things I’ve built myself, found at the thrift store, or collected from the side of the road and nature itself. The art on my walls is mostly made by friends, my 3 and ½ year old, or myself, and so many of my most treasured objects are things collected during travels or have been gifted to me by dear friends. I think the most important thing about making a home space your own is filling it with things that have meaning to you, rather than ascribing to any kind of design trend or pressure to keep up or show off.

 


What has been your all-time favorite piece of clothing?

I’m not sure it’s been my favorite piece of clothing of all-time (for that I’d probably have to say the red and blue leotard I wore on repeat for about a year as a very small child, paired daily with a purple skirt), but the most representative piece of clothing for my personality is a black silk dress I have had for the last nearly 10 years. It’s versatile enough to wear to the beach or the park for a day of lounging, and then nice enough to wear straight from there to dinner out on a warm evening. I like getting dressed to be just that simple every day. 

 

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