Larger than Life: Julia Blaukopf’s Custom Photographic Wall Decor


Julia Blaukopf is not afraid to think big, particularly when it comes to her photographs. She’s also not afraid of blurring the lines between fine art and commercial enterprise. Equal parts photographer, designer, visual artist, and entrepreneur, Julia is the founder of Fotografica—an arts-products venture with the goal of re-envisioning options for photography and photo-based products.

Above photograph © Julia Blaukopf

In this week’s podcast, Julia leads us along her inspiring path—from her early days working with alternative processes and forging relationships with crafts people to her latest collaborations with architects, designers, and developers in the creation of architectural-scale commissions and custom photo-based installations.

When collaborating with professional partners and clients on huge projects, psychology is key, which we discuss in detail. Blaukopf also describes the critical importance of seeking out the best printers and installers. Besides a command over technical details such as sound absorption, color fading, and bubbling, she sheds light on lesser-known yet equally essential construction issues such as fire codes.

In addition to Blaukopf’s commercial work, she is also a documentarian with a passion for women’s empowerment and social justice. Towards the end of our chat she describes her work in that realm, offering insights about connecting with non-profits, and sharing stories through photography that have the ability to galvanize change.

Guest: Julia Blaukopf

Sponsored by

Wall covering inspired by a sunset view from the Rockaways ferry in New York, commissioned by Joslyn Ewart, founder and principal at Entrust Financial, LLC, for accent walls in her guest and media rooms.
Custom wall-vinyl for a newly renovated Philadelphia home. Julia collaborated with her clients to elevate their kitchen with scenes of the surrounding natural environment.
Custom photo-based wall-vinyl for North Bar, in Tribeca, New York. Julia worked with the partners on a meaningful design concept inspired by 19th century TriBeca and harbor — once home to the area’s largest oyster cluster.
Entire restaurant view of North Bar, a cocktail bar in Tribeca, New York. North Bar celebrates small plates and unique drinks reminiscent of maritime Tribeca.
Custom work for a residence in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, an important African American cultu since the 18th century. Julia worked with architects, Worth and Wing, and her client, to create a collage blending original photography, historic imagery, and maps.
Custom photo-based wallpaper for Goat Hollow in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, PA, created in collaboration with Studio IQL and Metcalfe Architecture & Design. This was Julia’s first architectural project, in 2013.
Custom photo-based wallpaper for Goat Hollow in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, PA. Interior photos made from the exterior environment during renovation.
Custom work for The Peyton, Philadelphia, PA. Real estate, development, and management company, Alterra Property Group, in collaboration with Eileen Tognini Design, commissioned Julia to research historic blueprints, photograph company properties, and design two collages that speak to the history of Alterra’s portfolio.
Custom photo-collage printed on glass for Brandywine Realty Trusts’ office building in Devon, PA. In collaboration with architecture firm, granum a/i.
Custom photographic wall vinyl for Brandywine Realty Trusts’ office building in Devon, PA. In collaboration with granum a/i.
Wall-vinyl for the residence of Susan Davis in Philadelphia, PA, featuring one of the first photos Julia made early in her career.
Custom work on window-shades for a newly renovated addition to a historic home, Philadelphia, PA.
Glass artist from Afghanistan, Mahbuba Maqsoodi, working in Munich, Germany.
The Grandmother, photographed by Julia in Bastimentos, Panama, for Bonöre, a collective of women artisans from the indigenous group the Ngäbe.
Portrait from the photo series Bonöre, centered on the work of an indigenous collective of women artisans in Bastimentos, Panama. Julia manipulated her images with layers of gold to create a multi-textured, evocative view of the women’s lives.
The Dock in Elmina, Ghana.
Woman Walking, Ghana. Julia worked with the grassroots organization Women in Progress in Cape Coast, Ghana, creating a photo series that promotes the work of local women artisans’ through national exhibitions, product sales, and the book The Rain Parade.
Fish Pull, captured in Cape Coast, Ghana, while working with the women’s empowerment organization, Women in Progress.
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
Julia Blaukopf self-portrait with iPhone

Episode Timeline:

  • 1:56: Julia Blaukopf’s beginnings in the darkroom and in collaboration with craft fabricators, plus creating solid relationships and collaborating with bigger printers.
  • 9:24: Julia’s first major photo-based wall installation project on wall vinyl.
  • 15:35: The dynamic and psychology involved when collaborating with clients.
  • 18:38: Aligning with the right printers and installers when dealing with matters such as color, fading, bubbling, and construction issues such as fire codes.
  • 22:34: Breakdown of the process and timeline behind a typical project.
  • 31:43: Julia Blaukopf’s photo gear, both primitive analog cameras and the latest digital tools
  • 36:20: Episode Break
  • 37:04: Finding the right vendors for printing and installation of wall coverings.
  • 38:18: Materials that can provide sound absorption, plus air filtration, wall vinyl sealants and so on.
  • 43:00: Julia’s most challenging wall covering for a corporate realty project.
  • 45:30: The evolution in the industry for large scale photographic wall coverings, and competition in the marketplace.
  • 50:15: Julia Blaukopf’s social justice work, how she connects with non-profits, and other resources in the non-profit realm.

Guest Bio:

Julia Blaukopf is equal parts photographer, artist, and designer. She focuses on visual storytelling with a social bent through photographic imagery and mixed media works, as well as photo-based tiles, wallpaper, window panels, and environmental installations.

Julia blurs the line between documentation and fine art by examining emblems that compose the everyday lives of workers, farmers, and families. She has photographed for a women’s empowerment organization in Ghana, a reforestation project in Kenya, a collective of indigenous women artisans in Panama, and collaborated with artists and organizations in the United States and internationally.

In 2010, she launched Julia Blaukopf, Imprinted Images, LLC, an arts-products venture that re-envisions the possibilities for social art and photo-based products. Her commercial work includes custom photo-based installations on wallpaper, corian and glass tiles. Commissioned by architects, designers, and developers alike, the pieces have appeared in restaurants, private homes, apartment lobbies and co-working spaces across the East Coast.

Stay Connected:

Julia Blaukopf’s Website:

Fotografica Website:

Julia Blaukopf’s Instagram:

Fotographica’s Instagram:

Julia Blaukopf’s Twitter:

Julia Blaukopf’s Facebook:

North Bar Wall Covering:

Julia’s book The Rain Parade:

Host: Allan Weitz

Senior Creative Producer: Jill Waterman

Senior Producer: Mike Weinstein

Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner