Meet our photographer, The Photographer, Jules Dunlap

Photogenic. Some folks are. Some are not. Same with any living creature. This term applies to the entity with the lucky features that are always pleasant, always camera friendly. You’ve met people that you like right away, before you get to know them. The eventual outcome is always a toss-up, but that first impression registers in your brain and either makes you respond with a welcome or a quick aversion. You’ve met folks who may, for no cognizant reason, repulse you. Micro-expressions. They tell all in very sub-liminal, sub-noticeable way. A physically beautiful person or animal may show up in your photo as ugly, or angry, or sick looking. These expressions affect someone’s first impression of you. Just does. It’s that subtleness that can turn folks off like a light switch. I was not blessed with a photogenic face. The photo below, taken by a deceased but notable pro, years ago, for an Arkansaw entertainment magazine, was one of two hundred.

Me, 33 years ago, holding son Matt, who is photogenic. Photo by the late Jim Holland

We picked through these and it was the shot of my son, Matt, who has never had a bad picture, that saved me. Every shot of me was hideous. So, please, if and when we meet, and you are instantly repulsed, please give me a chance. Beauty is only skin deep. Ugly goes all the way to the bone. These days, anyone can take a picture and there are easily available bells and whistles, not all cheap mind you, but available, that can turn your photo into a work of art, or turn your world into a bubble, a stretched out half circle, a cartoon, a painting, heck you can do a ton of stuff with PhotoShop and improve your picture, but it takes a real artist to turn a mug like mine into an eye friendly portrait. It takes a natural knack and a dead on eye to click that shutter at the perfect time to catch those micro-expressions at their macro-most pleasant. Meet Jules Dunlap.

Jules Dunlap

Jules is the official photographer for our unique festival, the John Hartford Memorial Festival.

Me, just last year. Thanks Jules! You made it right! 
Jules has the gift. For the last four years, I’ve seen hundreds of her photographs, including several of me, and with each one of me, Jules cut through the ugly and found the pleasant, with perfect timing and just one shot. Julia Dunlap is a gifted pro. She loves to shoot living things, not with a gun but with her Canon 70D. I’ve gotten to know Jules over the years. She’s a pleasant, accommodating person and can carry on a conversation, answer a pertinent question, in full stride. I’ve seen Jules flat on the ground, belly down, resting on her elbows, sweat rolling down her cheeks, to photograph an unsuspecting child. I've watched her do the same thing on the stages, contorting herself to get the best shot. Jules has the gift. “I became seriously interested in photography in high school back in the late 70's/early 80's, back before digital.  Before that I was always the one in front of the camera...hamming it up and such.  My grandmother was an artist, a painter and sculptor, and I always thought I had no such talents in me, until I picked up the camera.  I fell in love!  After high school I went on to study photography at Ivy Tech in my hometown of Columbus, Indiana.” At the time, Ivy Tech in Columbus had Photo and Graphics departments that were rated very highly in the Midwestern and Eastern states. This was in the days before digital photograpy changed the photo landscape. Jules told me, “Digital took a little time getting used to at first. I'm old-school, and had been used to working with celluloid in the lab. Today, one must stay up-to-date on the emerging technologies, as every year something newer and better comes out. Where once one would control every aspect of a camera's operation, digital automation now can control everything and more for the photographer. My newest camera, the Canon 70D, has amazing video capabilities.  I have not shot much video in the past, but with this camera, I can feel free to explore the video side of the world.” 

Jules Dunlap mainly shoots festivals and concerts.  Her works are featured on album covers and is also found in the artwork inside them. Hailing from Nashville, IN, a talent rich part of this country, Jules has produced art for such bands as The Indiana Boys, The Stampede String Band, Kenan Rainwater, and Howard, Lewis & Lovins, to name a few. She also shoots weddings, portraiture, family and school pictures such as senior portraits. Jules shoots many local festivals, and is also the official photographer for The Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms Morel Festival also located in Bean Blossom, Indiana at The Bill Monroe Campgrounds, which focuses on the love of morel mushroom hunting and the great music that Southern Indiana is famous for. But it is music that Jules loves, and to quote her, “Shooting at festivals is my love and passion. Capturing those perfect moments of human emotion and energy, the pain or the ecstasy inflicted by the artist's lyrics, is my high in life...that split second of that musician strumming their instrument, belting into the microphone, with sweat rolling down their brow, giving their heart and soul to the audience..that very moment when the audience is all singing along and dancing and applauding with smiles, and even sometimes, tears in their eyes and on their cheeks...that is what I strive to capture..what gives me the goose bumps....It's what I truly love!” Jules became an important part of The John Hartford Memorial Festival, in 2012, while attending the festival for the first time.  She says, “The minute I got on the grounds, I could feel such an energy and sense of love and home, there among the staff. A sense of silent dedication and self-sacrifice that I would soon understand as pure love and devotion to the art of a folk legend.” After meeting some of the “family”... staff and promoters, she was asked if she wanted to use all access to the main stage for photography. “I had not sent in for any media passes, so this was an unexpected treat!” It didn’t take long for promoters John Hotze and Tom Burkhart to bond with Jules‘ personality and take note of her Iron-Woman work ethic. Jules was asked to be the festival's official photographer and went on to become part of the planning committee. Jules also demonstrated her people skills, manging a crew of volunteers for the Hartford Boogie, held last September in Dunmor KY. For 2016, Jules will also be co-managing the volunteers for The John Hartford Memorial Festival, coming up Memorial Day week in June, 2016.  Our event is a mission to entertain, educate and further the legacy of the late John Hartford. All profits go right back into the next year’s festival. Volunteers are treated like staff, treasured like gold, and are a key cog in this musical wheel. Jules has helped in the past, recruit hard working and dependable, talented Brown County volunteers. Jules is JHMF family. JHMF has established itself as "The Most Laid Back Festival in America". “There is such a feeling of "being home" when you walk onto those campgrounds, seeing old friends, making new ones each and every year, the music you hear not on just the 3 stages, but also at the small "pickin' circles" that form at almost all of the campsites, all the love that surrounds the's heaven!  I have traveled from coast to coast to many festivals over the years and, by far, JHMF is my favorite and, luckily for me, just down the road from my actual home! There is no other festival like it in the world. I am most passionate with living life to its fullest. You've got one time on this beautiful planet so make the best of it, don't sweat the small stuff and have as many adventures as you can....take it all's just there waiting for you!” - Jules Dunlap. You can find many Jules Dunlap photos at Jules’ FaceBook site, "Jules Dunlap Photography.", and also at the John Hartford Memorial Festival FaceBook page too. Most of my John Hartford related articles feature photos by Jules. You can also find tons of her work right here on this site by clicking here.

The JHMF Volunteer Jug Band 2015 from left to right, John Hotze, Chris Pin, Randy Kilper, Jon Griffin, Danny Clark, Clare Burkhart, Ernie Hill, Tom Bukhart