Zeitgeist: Julien Martinez Leclerc

Each year the CR editorial team pick a number of photographers who have had a breakthrough year for our Zeitgeist series of profiles. Julien Martinez Leclerc graduated just two years ago, but is already offering a fresh perspective in the world of fashion photography

Julien Martinez Leclerc’s year has been one to remember. Graduating from London College of Communication in 2017, he signed with Mini Title agency and has since produced memorable editorials for a dazzling array of titles including Vogue Italia, Arena Homme+, Pop Magazine, Luncheon Magazine, Dazed, AnOther Magazine, Another Man, Buffalo Zine, and L’Uomo Vogue, as well as commercial ­projects for Helmut Lang, Hermès and ­Bottega Veneta. It is the industry debut that most new photographers could only dream of, and yet Martinez Leclerc has a pragmatic point of view on what’s to come.

He has an imaginative and often dramatic visual style, with rich geometric black-and-white compositions and a knowing nod to some of the greats of the medium, including the otherworldly, wide-angled distortion of Bill Brandt, the characters of Josef Koudelka and the studio craft of Richard Avedon.

Top: Rafael for Buffalo Zine, 2018; Above: Image for Bottega Veneta Accessories, 2019. All images © Julien Martinez Leclerc

His early work was as unafraid of the grotes­que as it was of elegance, and while his flourishing career as a fashion photographer has forced him to temper that slightly, ­Martinez Leclerc’s editorials are resolutely thoughtful, bold and playful, and offer an ­altogether different approach to fashion photography.