One of the ‘Hottest Men of Instagram’ Is Actually an Awesome Live Music Photographer
It’s tough to tell who looks better in photos: Jules Schratter or the massive musicians he shoots.
The 26-year-old, who was recently crowned one of the “Hottest Men of Instagram” by People Magazine, is also one of the hardest working music photogs around.
Jules has found his passion shooting live music photography. He’s shot everyone from up-and-coming artists like Vic Mensa to big stars like Incubus, who brought him along on tour last summer.
We caught up with Jules about his transition from modeling into photography, what it’s like working with some of music’s best artists, and what he is looking forward to shooting this year.
Let’s start from the beginning. What made you move to New York and become a photographer?
I fell in love with New York City and moved here three days out of high school. My interest in photography was sparked while I was working on a set with a Ben Watts. I was the model, and he was having a lot more fun than I was. I thought, “I want to try to that.”
What made you get into music photography specifically?
I’ve always loved music but, unfortunately I’m not a musically talented person. Taking photos puts me in a room with people that inspire me. I get to be around music which is great, whether it’s rock ‘n’ roll or hip hop or something else.
Is there anyone you’ve shot or worked with in particular that gave you good advice?
I think that the best advice has come from the photographers as opposed to musicians or artists. It’s more of a collaborative effort when you shoot with a musician. They’re looking at you from their craft to your craft as opposed to a photographer who can mentor you. Cliff Watts was a big mentor to me. Ben Watts (not related) as well. RJ Shaughnessy is really cool. He does really great work. I have taken pieces of all of these shooting styles and incorporated them into my own.
What’s it like touring with bands like Incubus and Jay Z and Beyonce as their photographer?
These guys are great [Incubus], because they let me have creative freedom. Touring is great is because you get to travel. Cultures, faces, food, views everything is dynamic on the road. On top of that you listen to live music every night. It’s pretty awesome.
How did you get involved with both tours?
I did some rehearsals with Jay Z and Beyonce for their OTR tour. That was through Cliff Watts, he shoots a lot of Beyonce’s personal stuff. [He] dropped a mention and I got to do a couple days with them. With Incubus, I met Mike through Yuna and photographed him in his home studio. We kept in touch and a year later Mike [Einziger] sent me a Twitter message asking me to photograph his band. I was like “Oh man, you started a new band!” and he was like, “No man, Incubus.” I was super excited. I went and did a one day rehearsal with them, and then they invited me to go on the road with them.
Are there any artists you are excited about shooting right now?
Vic Mensa is really fun to shoot.
What is one of your favorite places you’ve travelled on the Incubus tour?
Japan is amazing. Australia, Italy was great. We rode motorcycles, well I rode on the back. Thanks, Ben. The thing is these guys have travelled before. They know their spots. So I get a very curated view of each city, which is great. It may not be the experience you have as an individual traveling, but these guys know what they like and I like a lot of it too.
Is it cool as a photographer and a music fan to see the different crowds in each city and place they play?
Absolutely. That is why I am taking photos. Ultimately like any artist I want the fans to enjoy the visual. Whether it’s a concert visual, instagram video, or album cover you are doing it for the fans to love. You want to love it and you want the artist to love it… but the ultimate approval is the crowd, the fans.
How do you balance your life as a photographer behind the camera, and a model in front of the camera?
I’ve been really fortunate to work with people that let me have the best of both worlds. So if something comes up on tour, I will just jet for the day. Wherever I am, I’m there and it’s my priority.
What was your biggest take away from the tour?
The friendship I have with those guys is invaluable to me. I would trade it for any and all photos I have taken without question.
Are you focusing more on modeling this year? If yes, do you think that photography has given you a new perspective on modeling?
My focus is work! However it comes. Ultimately being around creatives prompts creativity, no matter what role you play.
Are there any projects you worked on a while ago that are coming out now or soon?
Yes. “Throughwhose” is an ongoing film project I am always working on. I have been distributing, collecting, and curating disposable cameras to different people from around the world for almost six years! I have been sitting on some awesome content from Allan Kingdom, Incubus, Maxwell, Trashhand, and some others.
What are some things you’d still like to do as a model or photographer?
Shoot for Galore 🙂
All photos by Jules Schatter.