Julie Pike

A model climbs on a roadside safety barrier in dappled sunshine. Below her is a sprawling green valley.

Canon Ambassador Julie Pike's photography has a dreamlike, spontaneous quality. This carefree image was taken for a fashion shoot entitled Catch Me If You Can. "I try not to think too far ahead when I take a photograph but instead try to be present and capture the moment by being true to it," says Julie. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM ) at 60mm, 1/640 sec, f/6.3 and ISO320. © Julie Pike

Dramatic yet with softer, poetic undertones, Canon Ambassador Julie Pike's photography has a distinct dreamy grandeur and narrative bent, which has helped the Oslo-based photographer to earn a name for herself in both Scandinavian and international fashion, art and lifestyle photography circles.

Having worked with magazines such as Elle, VICE, Oyster, Nylon and Costume, Julie has also made commercials for brands such as American Express, and worked in the music industry for Sony Music and Universal Music Group. She has exhibited her work both in her home city and abroad.

Reflecting an honest interweaving of human emotions, her images are, in part, a nod to who she is. "All my photographs are a bit like a self-portrait," she explains. "Even if it is a commercial project, part of me is reflected in the work because I put myself into it. You could say that it is an extension of me."

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, where her parents were students, Julie grew up between Norway and Denmark. Changing schools every two years when her family moved to a new city or country meant that Julie became used to being part of different communities. This ability to mix well with others gives her an advantage when she is shooting, she believes.

"It is essential to get to know the people you're photographing in a very short space of time. I have been moving around since I was young and so, in a sense, I have an advantage," Julie explains. "It feels very natural to me to be open and to meet new people. In a way, my life as a young girl has continued into my professional life."

Canon Ambassador and fashion and portrait photographer Julie Pike.
Location: Oslo, Norway

Specialist areas: Fashion, art, portraiture

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
A red-headed model with her eyes closed is photographed against a black backdrop.

Captured using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II's on-camera flash, Julie's ethereal image is part of a commissioned series inspired by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens at 85mm, 1/200 sec, f/22 and ISO400. © Julie Pike

Julie never intended to pursue a career in photography. She was familiar with the art form, having taken photos on holidays as a child with a little pink camera she was given as a birthday present, but studied a degree in religion at university in Oslo. A job in a professional photography lab in Norway changed that.

Working in the lab while she studied, Julie learnt about photography, film and printing. The more time she spent there, the more determined she was to make a career out of what she loved. Her passion for photography led her to apply for a degree in photography at The Academy of Art University (formerly The Academy of Art College) in San Francisco, California, before returning to Norway in 2001 to begin life as a freelance photographer.

A black and white image of three sisters lying stretched out on a single mattress in a field.

Julie's work has been featured in some of the most prominent publications in Norway and around the world, including this image of three sisters for A New Type of Imprint magazine. "I went to Bergen, their hometown, and spent the day with them," says Julie. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens at 55mm, 1/400 sec, f/8 and ISO320. © Julie Pike

Often making use of natural light to create her narrative-driven images, Julie shoots mostly with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens. Rather than finding inspiration in what she calls "grand paradigms, be it philosophical or political", Julie says that it's smaller moments that capture her imagination. "I find inspiration in the little things of everyday life. That could be books, paintings or something as ordinary as the view outside a window or some light making its way through it."

She describes the feeling of taking a good shot as "like being in love. There is adrenaline, it's a rush. I still get that feeling even after working in the industry for so long."

When you're on a shoot, how do you interact with your subject?

"I talk to them for 10 minutes and take pictures for five, rather than the other way around, to help the person or people feel safe and relaxed. That way, I don't have to give too many instructions when it comes to the actual shoot."

How do you go about taking a photograph?

"I work fast so I tend to use my camera handheld. The camera has to be easy to hold and shouldn't weigh too much, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV does exactly that for me."

Do you prefer day or night shoots?

"I like both because they are different, and I enjoy the diversity. I am not afraid of using a high ISO setting because I like it when the images have a feeling of noise and grain. Hard flash is sometimes nice to use at night."

How do you decide which photos will make the final cut after a shoot?

"I follow my intuition. I look through the images and put a star against the ones I like. I never look at them for more than half a second and never go back to the ones I didn't mark. The ones that are starred I then mark with a colour, and I play my favourite 10 as a slideshow. Often, if I have time to sleep on it, the first picture I think of after placing my head on the pillow, is the winner."

You have described yourself as a 'storyteller'. Can you elaborate on that?

"All I want is for someone to stop in their tracks and have the desire to look at the photograph. In doing so, they put the photograph into their own story. Sometimes I compare it with making a meal. It is up to the person who eats the food to decide how it tastes and whether they like it. That analogy can be applied to people looking at photographs. It's the taste they get."

One thing I know

Julie Pike

"I believe in being true to yourself. Do what you love, be kind to people and respect them. This is what I tell my kids and it is at the centre of everything I do. If it doesn't feel right in your heart, don't do it."

Facebook: @juliepikephotography

Instagram: @juliepike


Julie Pike's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Julie Pike's kitbag containing a Canon camera and lens.


Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Designed to perform in every situation, the EOS 5D Mark IV is beautifully engineered and a thoroughly accomplished all-rounder. "I believe that less is more, plus I like to travel light, which makes this lightweight camera ideal for my needs. It produces quality images at a high ISO," says Julie.


Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

This lens is ideal for when you need to capture exceptional image quality, while travelling light. Julie says: "This lens has everything I need. It has a wide-range focal range and it's great in low light."

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