Julie Elman is an assistant professor in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University in Athens, where she teaches courses in design and picture editing. In 1987, she received a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from OU and in 1982 received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design from the University of Dayton.
Before moving back to Athens in the fall of 2005 to teach, Elman worked at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. She started out there as a picture editor in 1994. During that year, The Pilot won third place in the Pictures of the Year International Competition for best use of photographs. In 1995, The Pilot was awarded POYi's Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award. From 1998 until she headed to Ohio University, Elman designed news pages at The Pilot. Over the years, her front pages won numerous awards from the Society for News Design. She has been a judge at SND's Best of News Design competition in Syracuse, and for two years, she was the Education Chair for the SND Foundation.
Elman first started out in the newspaper industry working as a photojournalist for dailies in West Virginia and Tennessee. She has also picture edited for a group of weeklies (The TAB Community Newspapers) in and around the Boston area. In addition to teaching at Ohio University, she has taught photojournalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia and design at Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia Beach as an adjunct instructor. For a couple of weeks in 2007, Elman taught design at The National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’s Graduate School of Journalism in Ukraine, as part of a U.S. State Department-sponsored project intended to help support a free and independent media.
Since 1997, she has written many articles for Photo District News (both PDN and PDN/edu) magazine, exploring photographic projects created by a variety of photojournalists and educators.
In 2008, Elman designed the New York Times best-selling book The Rise of Barack Obama for Pete Souza, now chief White House photographer. She was also instrumental in the picture editing of Souza's book. Her latest book design project, Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music, will be published by Ohio University Press in 2010.
One of Elman's most memorable experiences is hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 1989 (yup, she did the whole thing in one shot). Elman lives in Athens with her husband Jody Grenert.