Julien Drach: glorious Roman interiors

Photographer Julien Drach started his working life on the other side of the camera. After studying acting in New York he returned to Paris to work in theatre, TV and films. Stuck in New York, when an acting job got delayed, he bought a camera and started shooting abstract images of the city. Ten years on he is a widely exhibited art photographer, whose latest project, Shades of Rome, is showing upstairs at Connolly until 10 January 2024. We talked to him about his insider tips on the Eternal City.

My project started in 2018, when I was on residency at the French Academy, the Villa Medici, in the heart of Rome. Some of the images I created while I was there are of the trees in the Villa Medici, others were made at the Villas Borghese and Pamphili. In the past five years I’ve been 40 times, enough to really inhabit the city. My favourite restaurant is Piperno. It is still owned by the same family, a sister and twin brothers. The food is very typical Italian and Jewish dishes. And the interior is like the set design of a movie from the 1950s. There’s green carpet on the wall. It’s fantastic. It could be the backdrop to a Fellini film. I also love Palazzo Altemps near Piazza Navona, which was once the private home of Cardinal Altemps in 1568. In 1997 it became an offshoot of the National Museum of Rome, and you can visit it and walk among its incredible interiors. I also love Galleria Doria Pamphilj, an old private home which is untouched and is full of incredible furniture. There’s something about the accumulation of paintings which makes it so beautiful. 

To see Julien’s work, visit Connolly, 4 Clifford Street, London, W1S 2LG; connollyengland.com/collections/julien-drach

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