Although never a professional photographer, Julian Greenspan’s career always revolved around cameras. Throughout his life, his passion for photography has taken him from a young boy with a hobby to an esteemed Army photographer, and ultimately to a successful entrepreneur with personal clients ranging from Jackie Kennedy Onassis to Ralph Lauren.
“When I was around 10 years old, my uncle gave me my first Graflex camera, one of those where you wind the picture, get one shot and turn it over,” said Greenspan. After that, his mother’s bridge club pitched in $1 each to buy a 35mm camera. “It just always came naturally to me,” he said. “I just picked it up.”
Greenspan opened three JD Camera Exchange stores in Manhattan – which he ran for 45 years before moving to South Florida. “I loved the work,” he recalls. “I earned accounts with corporations, auction houses and ad agencies like Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Grey Advertising. I worked with top lines like Kodak, Polaroid and Nikon. It just kept progressing.”
Greenspan’s business took him to all corners of the world including Hawaii, Thailand and Germany, however it was his love for Miami that lead him to Vi at Aventura when it was time to retire. Now 92, he enjoys dining with friends, socializing and attending exercise classes at the senior living community he has called home for the past 5 years.
While Greenspan doesn’t do a lot of photography these days, he does keep an impressive collection of more than 100 vintage cameras. His favorite is an 8×10 view camera that belonged to former governor of New York, Alfred E. Smith. Smith’s grandson, a friend of Greenspan’s, gave him the 1890 camera as a centerpiece. “It has revolving backs, tilts and extensions,” he said. “It’s a beautiful piece of furniture.”