Evan Joseph started his blossoming photographic career in Jewish Baltimore
Written By Simone Ellin Photography By Evan JosephPhoto by Evan Joseph, taken from a helicopter at dusk.
The NYC home of musician and Evan Joseph’s client, Lenny Kravitz
The New Yorker Hotel through Evan Joseph’s lens.
Evan Joseph gets ready for another shoot.
Times Square, by Evan Joseph
Another view of Times Square
Julian Schnabel's triplex at Palazzo Chupi, 11th St.
Philippe Starck’s lobby at 75 Wall St.
The Chrysler Building at an extreme angle, taken from a helicopter
Baltimorean Evan Uhlfelder never expected to be known as Evan Joseph, New York real estate photographer of the rich and famous.
“It’s so weird to be this New York person with my Orioles cap and Ravens gear,” he said. “I’ve gone from the darkroom at Pikesville High School to a New York City gallery, where 200 people are drinking champagne.”
Indeed, Joseph’s career has taken some surprising twists and turns. And he’s found that in life, as in photography, timing (along with a lot of talent) is everything.
After graduating from Pikesville in 1988, Joseph attended Vasser College, where he studied the fine arts. After college, he landed a job in a New York City gallery but was soon transferred to the gallery’s Los Angeles location. Within two years, Joseph met his wife, Amy Schulman, a 1991 Pikesville High graduate.
“We were a Jewish Times Beshert column,” he recalled, chuckling.
“Working in the art gallery was a valuable experience, but I realized it was not satisfying me artistically. ‘I’m on the wrong side of the fence,’ I thought. ‘I shouldn’t be selling art, I should be making it.’”
In 2000, the couple returned to New York, and Joseph, who had become fixated on “digital art,” enrolled in a graduate program in interactive telecommunications at New York University.
“It was a great way to reinvent myself. You bring your passions, and they help you wrap it in a new palette of digital media,” he said.
That same year, with his newfound skills in digital art, Joseph and Schulman started an interactive media company. The company sold content to cell phone companies, an idea that was revolutionary at the time.
“People looked at us like we had three heads when we tried to explain what we were doing,” Joseph said.
One of their concepts — screensavers for cell phones — really caught on.
“We were one of the only companies providing this material. For a short time, our screensavers were beating out Disney’s Mickey Mouse screensavers,” said Joseph. “But by 2003 or 2004, the modern mobile Internet was born, and the big companies took over. “That’s how my photography career got started. The screensavers showed me I loved to design digital pictures. I figured if it worked on a micro scale, it could work on a macro scale.”
Eventually, the Josephs got a job helping a real estate company with its website.
“The company didn’t have good photographs of the homes they were selling,” Joseph said. “Their photographer had just quit, so I offered to take the pictures.”
From then on, Joseph began shooting real estate; in time, he became a full-time photographer.
“Pretty soon, I was shooting the homes of people like Joan Rivers, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell and Sting and buildings like the Trump and the Ritz Carleton,” he said.
These celebrities had apartments with incredible views, and Joseph began photographing cityscapes he saw through their windows and balconies.
“One day a publisher called and said he loved my night shots of Manhattan. He asked if I’d like to do a book,” he said.
Of course, Joseph’s answer was a resounding ‘yes.’ Not only was “New York City at Night” a big hit (Joseph took the photographs, New York-based journalist Marcia Reiss wrote the text), it also led to shows in galleries in Tribeca and Chelsea. A new book, “New York, Then and Now” will be released later this month by Thunder Bay Press. Joseph is also preparing for additional gallery shows in 10 countries across Europe.
Despite the glamorous career, the Josephs (who use the Uhlfelder name in their personal lives) and their children, Ginger, 7, and Rex, 6, live modestly, not in New York, but close by
in Jersey City. And while he certainly isn’t complaining, Joseph would love to have an exhibition in Baltimore. And if it were possible, he would even “move his whole operation” to his hometown.
Said Joseph with a chuckle: “It’s a thrill to be in the JT. Maybe when they read this, my parents will finally understand what I do and why I have to live in New York.”