Hailing from Germany, a multidisciplinary artist and photographer Samantha Muljat revitalizes the analogue world with her fresh techniques and paints a surreal dimension where colors pop and film grain rules. Rich landscapes, painterly scenery, and ghosting portraits await us in this interview.
Firstly, how are things for you as an artist?
I’m glad that a few years ago, I took a leap of faith and stepped away from being an art director at a record label and dedicated myself to becoming a full-time artist. There’s been a lot of ups and downs, creatively and economically, but in the end, I love what I’m doing, which to me is the most important aspect of my profession. As for the current situation, I’m glad to be working independently. I’m not other-directed and can work in my studio and go out into nature and just shoot. It’s a lot of freedom and I’m very grateful to have that.
How did you get into photography and film?
I’ve always been curious about visual arts in one way or another. When I was little I drew and painted a lot. After high school, I went to art school to become a professional painter but quickly dabbled into other realms, like photography, film (as in the moving picture), and graphic design. I believe we were the last photography class to learn how to shoot analogue and I just loved the hands-on process. For commissions like album artworks, I do a lot of digital photography, where you are very in control of what’s happening and the results are extremely direct.
Once you start experimenting with analogue film, there’s always a remaining element of uncertainty. Sometimes you can control experiments to a certain degree, sometimes you’ll get “happy accidents” and sometimes an experiment goes awry and you end up with nothing. For me, there’s a certain tickle to that, that I can’t get out of another medium.
We love your unique approach to composition. May you tell us more about your experimental approach? Apart from capturing photos, what film photography techniques do you love to do?
I often push or pull film in order to get more dramatic effects. I also often use a variety of already tinted films, and I sometimes soak film or paint on it directly.
Tell us, what do you instantly look for when composing a photograph?
I believe in creating a strong focus and achieving balance.
What subjects are you most drawn into?
I probably like nature scenes the most since I can work alone. That is my preferred way of working. All I need is a camera, film and a car. I also like taking pictures of one person in a natural setting. I would like to do more of that.
We mentioned that your photography is very unique -- can you give us a few tips on how we can find our own unique voices as photographers?
I think the most important part in order to find a unique voice is trying out other mediums. It’s not about becoming an expert, it’s about finding common denominators and really sharpening your senses. Graphic design has taught me more about composition and painting more about the use of colors than photography alone.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I like trying out new things, methods, mediums, etc. I also feel great inspiration by going to museums and looking at paintings or other people's art in general. Contemporary or old. That goes for social media too. The more I look at stuff, the more I get this itch to create something. I also find looking at album art very inspirational or looking at logo making or typography.
Lastly, what are you up to next?
I’ve been doing a lot of “just” photography for the past year. I would love to go back to doing more album art. I also would like to pick up painting again, that's been on the back burner for many years.