Not long ago we featured a project entitled A is Yellow – a collaboration between Berlin-based photographer Julija Goyd and multi-talented creative duo Who is He?. Continuing our rather sporadic In The Studio interviews, I sat down with Julija to further explore the way she approaches her highly personal photography projects, the unusual path that led her to land in Berlin and the importance of finding balance between concepts and aesthetics.
Patrick: Well let’s start with connecting a few dots on your background, such as how you started out in finance management, your work as an actress, model, photographer and director – how do these all fit in?
Julija: Four years of economics was great, I was working a lot and it was nice work, but it was not for me. So I decided that I had to do something else – but as you know when you work and already have a certain education, it’s not easy to make these decisions. Obviously you find ways to get out. Through new people, new interests, perspectives… and so on. So after a few years of work I already had a completely different environment, such as with people and friends having artistic backgrounds and activities. Then I got two acting jobs, main roles, and it gave me the opportunity to quit my other job.
Patrick: Were you already acting professionally at the time? Or was this your first acting job?
Julija: This was a first job. The director saw me in the street and said he wanted me for his movie. I said why not. So I quit my job and had a few years to think… and while acting I met a lot of people in cinema production, producers… including one who invited me to work as a photographer in his advertising agency. I spent about a year there and then left for Helsinki to work in a play and take pictures. After a while I went to Athens, to work with the Epidaurus Festival. That lasted about a year and afterwards I moved to Berlin, mostly because of a friend and to see what would happen.
Patrick: Great. Let’s talk a bit about your work and your approach. You seem to work a lot with self-portraits, is it related to your work as an actress and model or is more out of practicality?
Julija: It’s both. First of all only I know best what I want to show and how the picture should look. The second thing is that while I worked as an actress and modeled, I got to know what the image and object of beauty is. Since my body was objectified in this sense while I was modeling, I can connect these things in a direct way.
Patrick: This seems to be reflected in the themes of your work as well… such as in the series Naked Nylon, Black&White or Women in Water.
Julija: Yes of course, all my work is very personal… If I take you through the different projects I have done, they all revolve around the themes of Subject/Objects/Becomings. The first series for example, entitled Growing Identities (series of natural dehydration process), is from the first period I lived in Berlin. I was curious about how to create objects which would represent nature of time within social context. As a narrative I used a mechanism in which status quo is a relation between a man and a woman. Each object is independent, self reflected and individually representative.
“Growing Identities” – Series of natural dehydration process – 2010 See full project here.
Julija: The series named “Portraits of citizens” are spontaneous snapshots of people I know around me. We just spent time together I always had my camera with me.
“Portraits of Citizens” – 2010-2011 – See full project here.