Photographer Julia Berezina in collaboration with Curated by Girls, a globally-inclusive platform that works to showcase artistic talent regardless of race or gender, chats with us about incorporating personal life into her work and how shooting on film affects the meaning of her photographs.
Tell us about your current project.
My current project (“safe place for snow”) is actually a body of works without an end. It is a continuous self reflection which started 6 years ago. At the beginning it was shot with 35mm camera, natural light and contained mainly staged self portraits and portraits of family members. After my graduation I started to work with a medium format camera and a cute point and shoot Olympus. Working with these two completely different entities made me expand my body of work, my visual language, and obtain a deeper understanding of what I do and why I do it. Today I can shoot everything as long as it itches. It is a therapy indeed.
How long have you been doing photography and how did you get your start?
I photograph since I remember myself. I’ve always been excited about this machine, this “time catcher”, but my true love for photography and the understanding of it as a medium came when I started my photography studies in 2010.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Life as it was and is. I immigrated with my mom to Israel when I was 6, my dad stayed in Russia. The clear memory of him standing with his small leather diplomatic bag at the St. Petersburg airport, his comment “You're leaving, Yulchik”, and my answer, “Don’t be sad, daddy, I’ll go and then I’ll return”, are my anchor. Since that day in 1994 my heart is a tightly sealed jar which contains all the times I had to leave and all the times I didn’t go back.
Your work has a very intimate feel. Is it ever hard for you to share such personal moments from your life with the world?
It was never hard. I always feel that intimacy is an integral part of life in general, and of mine in particular. My body of works, as intimate as it looks, is actually quite universal, or at least that is what I want it to be. I think that intimacy, when wisely captured, is the essence of the term “Punktum”. It is what makes you stop and look at a picture, it is what makes you relate to what you see, to understand, to think that someone out there may share the same fears and pains as you do. And after all, isn’t it one of the most precious moments for any artist?
How does working with instant film change the message of your work?
I don’t think that it changes the message of my work, but I do feel it strengthens it. Robert Mapplethorpe said once that a photograph is something that has to be held in the hands, and for me, a photographer who works with film for the last 6 years, it is very important indeed. There is a huge difference between looking at a picture on a screen and holding it in your hands, doesn’t matter how small it is. I think that Image has to communicate with the space in which it exists, and that’s something a bunch of megapixels on screen won’t ever be able to do.
written by sragomo on 2018-02-11
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