Exclusive Q&A with artist Julian Lennon on his “Atmospheria” exhibition at William Turner Gallery during Frieze L.A.

Julian Lennon’s “Atmospheria”

Artist Julian Lennon’s “Atmospheria,” a collection of ethereal photographs, opens at William Turner Gallery this weekend in conjunction with Bergamot Art Station’s Open House for Frieze Los Angeles. Lennon makes his debut at the William Turner Gallery with “Atmospheria,” which highlights the drama of nature’s atmospheric forces, revealing his passion for the environment and deep commitment to its preservation. In a time of critical shifts taking place on our planet and the delicate balance between humans and nature, Lennon’s photographs serve as beautiful yet serious reminders of our planet’s peril. “Atmospheria” celebrates our majestic atmosphere and inspires us to better revere and protect our world.
A portion of the proceeds from “Atmospheria” will benefit The White Feather Foundation (TWFF), Lennon’s nonprofit organization. Since its inception in 2007, TWFF has championed conservation projects worldwide. The foundation raises funds for Indigenous, environmental, education, health and clean water projects around the world. TWFF has saved native lands from being taken from Indigenous groups; brought clean water to developing communities; provided girls with educational scholarships; helped furnish and build schools in underprivileged areas; brought mobile ambulances to remote villages; assisted with disaster relief and brought meaningful social justice films to light.
Julian Lennon gave Interiors magazine an exclusive interview about “Atmospheria,” which opens Saturday, February 18, and runs through April 1.

Please describe “Atmospheria” and what it represents.

A collection of ethereal photographs highlighting the drama of nature’s atmospheric forces.

What do you hope people take away from Atmospheria?

A sense of Peace… That even in times that appear turbulent, there is a stillness to be had. A Beauty. A Silence.

Your work strongly focuses on nature. How does “Atmospheria” fit in to your overall body of work?

The reality is that the majority of these images are a collection from several incarnations of other collections, bar one or two new images, that felt a kinship to those being presented already.

I would say that my work focuses on Life, in all of its forms… From Portraiture, to Storytelling to the Beauty of Nature, in all of its Glory.

What led to the development of “Atmospheria”? Did you set out to photograph scenes that fit into a particular concept?

No, quite the opposite. I had met gallerist Bill Turner, through my agent Wendy Posner, and loved his gallery space, and had mentioned to both that I would love to try to do a show, with larger images than I’d ever done before.

Most of the work being displayed there was quite abstract, and so initially, I was looking in that direction, at images I already had, but as time went on, it was obvious that Wendy and Ted really did like some of the more ethereal images—clouds, sun and sea, in a multitude of colors… quite painterly, which in part, was to some degree, what I’d been known for, in certain circles…

So that’s what we all agreed should be the focus of “Atmospheria.”

Tell us about your editing process for “Atmospheria.” How did you determine which images were right for this exhibition?

As I’ve said many times before, I believe the work “speaks” to you, and it was clear after playing “jigsaw puzzle” with a variety of images, the ones that worked together, at least in our minds, are those presented.

Can you share what equipment you used to shoot and produce “Atmospheria”?

I would have to say it would have been a variety of cameras, from a Canon D5 MK V, to a SONY A 7R IV, to my latest, Leica M 11…

Is it possible for you to share the range of places that are included in “Atmospheria”? We’d love to know more about where each was shot.

Briefly, and as far as I can recall:

Sultan Sun — On a boat, leaving Singapore at sunset, for a trip around the South China Seas, a journey which spawned My “Cycle” collection.

Midnight Smoke — Was taken during a return flight home, over the hills of the South of France, during sunset.

Suspended Sky — Taken during a trip to Kenya, several years back, when I was there traveling to schools and local communities that were part of the UN Millennium Villages Project. It was an innovative model for helping rural African communities lift themselves out of extreme poverty, whom The WFF was trying to help.

Ískalt Blár — This picture, obviously taken from the skies, was so unique to me… What I was seeing was otherworldly… I found myself in between so many different types of clouds, some of which I’d never seen before, at least not together…

Painted Rainbows — Was taken as I was looking out to sea at a Mediterranean storm at sunset.

Silver Linings — Was named after a film title, as I’d seen the film whilst flying, and I believe it was at the same time that I took this image, so it felt fitting…

Blaze — Was taken during an incredible storm, whilst I was staying in the South of France, during sunset, and the storm clouds lit up, as though they were ablaze…

Balance — Was taken after one of my many trips over the Santa Monica Mountains, to the North of Malibu, at a point where the mountains meet the sea… Before driving on, I noticed a certain shimmering across the water, that was like a visual spell, moving like velvet being stroked by an invisible hand… 
And the light and balance between the heavens and earth was just magical.

Boom! — As though the Bomb had gone off… That simple… Stratospheric.

Heavens Above — No idea where or when this was taken, but it obviously moved me…
You just felt the power of the sun, trying to break through, and it did…

“Atmospheria” in part benefits your nonprofit, The White Feather Foundation. Please share with us why you started TWFF and how it is championing conservation causes that are important to you.

My Dad once said to me, that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be OK — or that we were all going to be OK — the message would come in the form of a white feather.

When I was on tour in Australia with the Number One song in the country at that time, “Saltwater,” I was presented with the gift of a male swan’s white feather, by Iris, the Aboriginal tribal elder from The Mirning People. They asked for my help in preserving their sacred culture. In response, I created The White Feather Foundation for the purpose of giving a voice to those who cannot be heard…

Our charity celebrated its 15th anniversary in July. Since its inception, we’ve expanded to support conservation projects worldwide in four major areas of giving: The Environment; Indigenous Cultures; Clean Water and Education & Health. We also have a separate fund for The Cynthia Lennon Scholarship for Girls, created in honor of my late Mum.

Julian Lennon “Atmospheria” Opening reception: Saturday, February 18, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The show runs February 18th to April 1, 2023.

Sultan Sun
Midnight Smoke
Suspended Sky
Ískalt Blár
Painted Rainbows
Silver Linings
Heavens Above

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