Apr 27, 2006

An Interview With Julieanne Kost

Source: Imaging Resource
Written by Mike Pasini

You may know Julieanne Kost from her amusing Photoshop lectures (“How do you pronounce GIF? Get a life!”) or her Classroom in a Book Series for Adobe, for whom she’s worked since 1993. As a Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist, she flies all over the world, lecturing on creativity and Photoshop (and Lightroom, too, now) for Adobe.

As she flies from one city to another, Julieanne shoots photos from her window seat. And, after five years of taking pictures of the sky from the sky, she’s published Window Seat, a down-to-earth book on creativity, photography and digital imaging.

It’s a unique book, featuring sections that sandwich her portfolio of images culled from 3,000 originals between advice on remaining creative in a need-it-yesterday world and a technical appendix that reveals the equipment and techniques used to create the images reproduced in the book.

We chatted briefly with Julieanne about the book at an Adobe event during the Photo Marketing Association’s trade show in February and followed up with an email interview.


First, outright prolonged applause! The book arrived just before the PMA trade show and just after lunch one afternoon. We propped up our feet and went straight through it, only occasionally reaching up for a call light to get some peanuts.

The idea of shooting out the window was the first thing that amused us. Such a prescription for disaster, we had to wonder how you managed.

But we quickly got tangled in the broader scope of the book. The argument for creativity in a Post-it notes world. Practical advice, but not heavy handed.

Finally, much as we dreaded yet another technical discussion, we found this one, like the encouragement toward creativity, hit just the right tone. Comprehensive but not a tour of the menus. The smart way to solve certain problems, achieve certain effects.

Q. The book’s organization in three sections (manifesto, portfolio, manual) is unusual. How did you arrive at this particular structure for the book?

A. I wanted this book to be more than another “How-to” book for Photoshop. Book after book focuses on what the tools do and how to achieve certain effects. I wanted to spark people’s right brain for a change. You’re creating a certain effect in Photoshop, but what’s your point? What are you trying to convey? The creation of an image goes far beyond the tool (or tools) and methods used to create it. In the beginning, there’s the concept stage. Essentially, this is where you need to create “something from nothing.” You may have an idea or an emotion, but how do you convey it visually? Hence, the “ways to stay creative” section. Then I wanted people to get a feel for the process. And finally, I wanted to cover workflow to get a feel for what I do. It’s not a “recipe” by any stretch, but an overview of the “nuts and bolts” of what I use and why I choose them. My editor, Edie Friedman, was actually the one that came up with the three-part approach. The book would never have been so well sequenced without her!

Read entire interview

Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking
By Julieanne Kost
Published by O’Reilly
First Edition February 2006
ISBN: 0-596-10083-3
152 pages, $39.99 US

Portrait by Greg Gorman

About Julieanne Kost
Photoshop Hall of Fame member Julieanne Kost joined Adobe Systems in 1993 and currently serves as the Graphic Arts Evangelist, educating graphic designers, photographers, educators, and fine artists. She is a master of both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and has used them extensively in graphic design, print, and photography as well as cross-media for online and multimedia productions.

Julieanne is a passionate photographer. She has had several shows of her work, and many of her images have been published. She is a frequent lecturer and teaches courses in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at prominent industry tradeshows, distinguished fine art and photography schools and workshops, and numerous trade conferences around the world.

Additional information available at:

John Paul Caponigro interviewed Julieanne for the Aug/Sept, 2000 issue of Camera Arts Magazine which is available for viewing at JP’s web site. See: DIALOGS–Julieanne Kost

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