Julia, also known as zweifellosmondbetont , is a psychologist and art therapist from Magdeburg. She works in a practice for child and adolescent psychiatry and in her free time she often experiments with the medium of analogue photography and also mixes it with other art forms. In diesem Artikel kannst Du Julia und ihre gefühlvollen Arbeiten kennen lernen.
Hello Julia and welcome to LomoMagazine! Can you tell us how you got into analogue photography? Do you still remember your first roll of film?
I guess the question is how I got back into analogue photography after a short break. My generation mostly grew up with film cameras. The films from holidays with parents or school trips had to be taken to be developed. That was normal. It wasn't until my teenage years that there was a definite change. More and more people bought digital cameras; so did my parents and I also took photos with them - as they say. I then uploaded the photos to forums or blogs, but it wasn't until I was supposed to bring an SLR camera for art class and I held my parents' old analogue camera with the shaft viewfinder (EXA1c) in my hands again that a spark of fire was lit inside me.
On the one hand, this was certainly due to the viewfinder, and on the other hand, it was only then that I really understood what aperture, exposure time, and focus are all about and what creative possibilities photography holds.
That was in 2007.
My friends and I finished school that year. We had a lot of time and so I started to document our lives, but also to stage my friends for photos. I realized that I could express my emotional state and I liked that.
Has your photography changed over the years? How would you describe the look of your current photos? To me, it looks fairytale-like, abstract, soft.... ?
After about seven or eight years, I started to feel like I was just repeating myself in my photography. At that time, in 2015, I also began my art therapy studies and, in the course of that, art therapy work in psychiatric clinics. Through the confrontation with other artistic methods, I felt photography - in the sense of pressing the shutter release - even more strongly than before as a rather rigid and boring process. No matter how many creative and experimental methods I tried.
Then I exposed a photo directly onto a wall for an exhibition with the help of a friend. For this, I worked with an enlarger and photo chemicals for the first time. I found the whole thing so fascinating that afterward, I got myself some darkroom equipment for my bathroom. I wanted to be more actively involved in the process of creating a photograph and have more influence than before. Since then, I have made quite a few handprints, made many mistakes, but also learned a lot.
The look of my current photographs is clearly influenced by the work in the darkroom. I believe that my photography is changing and that I am finding my own signature more and more. In my opinion, it is becoming more ironic, less melancholic and gaining clarity. There is also a tendency towards the loud and abstract. It is no longer as quiet, diffuse, and withdrawn as it was in the early years.
You often combine your photography with graphics/painting - what was the inspiration for that?
I don't think it was a conscious decision at all, but rather my curiosity, led by the question: okay, this is how standard, "normal" prints work; I could perfect the whole thing now, but what else is actually possible? I wanted to experiment, but far away from the familiar experimental work (chemigrams, photograms, etc. ). So about a year ago, I started trying different things.
The first thing I wanted to do was to combine black and white and colour on one print.
For this I started working with stencils and multiple exposures. I also had to work a lot with subtractive colour mixing or light filtering. That is, how do colours overlap on photographic paper. This approach eventually led me to the next question: what if I leave out the negative and work only with stencils? In this way, one thing leads to another.
Certainly, influences from other art forms also play a role, after all, I like to look at art. In the last few years I have been quite intensively involved with the thoughts and works of the artists at the Bauhaus, and in my youth with graffiti and street art. I would definitely be happy if some of this had an influence on my art.
Right now, I find it exciting to translate design techniques from other genres into the photochemical process and will continue to work on this.
Can you take us through your photographic process? How do you choose your equipment and your subject?
I am not a passionate camera buyer, collector, or tester. Actually, I've been using a 35mm camera with a viewfinder since the beginning: first the EXA 1c or 1a, now the Pentax LX. Mostly with a 28mm lens. Little has changed in that respect. From time to time I tried and still try other cameras, but actually, the choice of camera is already very fixed. I simply like the 35mm format and the type of viewfinder. For darkroom equipment, films, photo paper, etc., I just buy the products that are cheapest - especially when I start with a new process. Later in the process, I also vary and try different manufacturers or types.
And the choice of motifs? My favorite motifs are those that I don't choose, but that seek me out. That means, in the best case, an inner image has arisen in me that won't let me go. I stage this and then photograph it. Sometimes, however, I stage things without a concrete idea. I then rearrange the surroundings I have found and approach a motif in a rather playful way. It is rare that I do not intervene in the scene in front of the lens. My motivation is to create something new or a new look at things. But sometimes I see situations or places that are so aesthetic or special that I capture them in a classic documentary way.
When I have the developed film at home, I scan it for the first overview. For the photos I like, I think about how I can enlarge them in the darkroom. That is, how do I want to process and present them. For me, a print is my own interpretation of the existing negative. So in the darkroom I have another intensive look at my own photo.
What do you want to express with your pictures?
I wish I knew.
In the beginning, it was important to me to depict people or living beings in a very fragile way. The mood was rather melancholic. I still deal with these facets of being human - just professionally, but for some reason, I could identify less and less with this kind of photos every year. The story of the sensitive, thoughtful human being had somehow been told. Which in any case also led to a small photographic crisis of meaning. Learning processes in the darkroom distracted me from that at first. In the end, however, the question arose: what do I actually want to tell?
I found that the more I think about it, the more it inhibits my artistic process. For me, it works best when I just start playing and trying and accepting supposed mistakes on the print, understanding them and possibly even letting myself drift in that direction. In this way, one thing automatically leads to another. More concrete picture ideas or goals often develop all by themselves.
In the meantime, I see it in such a way that I can't and don't want to determine exactly what my photos are supposed to express before I take them; what's more exciting is the fact that my photos tell me what it is from within that I actually want to express. I think I have quite a multi-faceted and restless inner life. In addition, in my professional work, I am confronted with very many and different themes, thoughts and feelings. That means: there is always a lot going on inside me. The artistic process helps me to establish an inner order and calm and at the same time is an important part of my communication and self-knowledge.
I agree with the thinking of the great psychoanalyst Donald W. Winnicott, who wrote the book From Play to Creativity "It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self."
Beyond that, it would of course be nice if my photos trigger something in the viewer that goes beyond a mere finding of beauty - in the sense of: decorative / attractive. I often notice that I find it a pity when it's the photos that are liked that show a beautiful mood but ultimately only appeal to stereotypical viewing habits and offer little content or novelty. We are all surrounded by so many photos every day and almost everyone has a connection to photography and an idea of what photography is. I thoroughly enjoy questioning this, exploring the boundaries and showing what else photography can do. I find questioning a super important process and it would be great if my photography invited that. Without asking a specific question and without imposing answers.
Do you have inspiring words for our creative community?
I can only echo what many others have already replied here: stay curious. Always try to discover the world, your surroundings, yourself and your photography anew. Question old habits of seeing and thinking. Accept that times of listlessness and lack of creativity are part and parcel of life and are certainly necessary.
Also, if possible, don't let yourself be influenced by opinions, widespread assumptions or so-called gold standards. I myself was put off for years by statements about home color prints in the makeshift darkroom. It applies as so often in life: Have patience, take time, listen to yourself and follow your own impulses and thoughts.
It has always done me and my photography a lot of good to spend some time doing something completely different. By that, I mean other activities, other material or new, unknown subjects. I find that as soon as you have learned something new or have intensively occupied yourself with something that supposedly has nothing to do with photography, it has an inspiring influence on it.
"The enemy of photography is convention, the fixed rules of >how to do it<.
The salvation of photography is through experimentation."