Dreamlike landscapes and surreal atmospheres are the visual language of Julia Beyer from Germany that she expresses on instant film. In 2014, she began to dive into this photographic art form and since then expands her portfolio continuously. Her work is featured in the Photodarium (formerly Poladarium) calendar 2016 and 2017 and has been featured online several times. Besides singing in the dreampop band Chandeen and shoegaze band Seasurfer, Julia works fulltime in the media industry.
“Since my childhood I always loved taking photos. I went to a workshop in school to shoot and develop my first film on 35mm and many years later, when I was unsure about what to do after school, even worked at a photographer for a few days, but back then instant film never really caught my attention. Basically I got in contact with Impossible film some years before I actually started using it when I got to know French photographer Emilie Lefellic. She made a beautiful Super8 video for my band Chandeen in 2008, and was good friends with one of our former band members. I was totally mesmerized by her work and the desire to shoot with instant film constantly grew in me.
“I took a variety of different films with me, but I was most amazed by the dreamy and surreal photos I shot with expired Impossible film”
When it comes to traveling, the thought of it alone instantly induces a moment of daydreaming and spaced-out expression on my face. I need to travel, it is essential for me. In times when it’s not possible I keep my spirits up by already planning the next trip. I love the preparations and the research that goes with it and delve into travel guides months ahead. And then one day we were there, in the western part of the USA, on the road. I love to use Polaroid SLRs like the SX-70 or SLR 680, mostly because of the nice depth of field but I also love the retro look and feel of them. My most used camera is probably the Polaroid SLR 680. A few weeks before the trip, Impossible announced the launch of the new I-1 camera which coincided exactly with our stay, so I took some precautions and then picked up my exemplar at the Impossible Pop Up Store in Downtown LA. From there on, I mostly shot with the I-1, learning to handle this new camera with its quirks. Especially the viewfinder was challenging at first, but after a while even panoramic shots were feasible. The overwhelming and ever changing landscapes combined with instant film made it ridiculously easy for me to get some great shots so that I ended up with a huge pile of photos to take home. We drove along the breathtaking coast of Big Sur, through the desert of Death Valley, admired the vastness of Grand Canyon and the oversaturated green of Yosemite.
On the one hand the different landscapes were overwhelmingly beautiful. On the other hand some places were very overcrowded so that it sometimes spoilt the enchantment of some truly magical spots. I had to frame my shots at Yosemite National Park so that the shining metal of the myriads of parked cars wasn’t visible. Some tourist dropped his iPad he was taking pictures with down the chasm over the unsecured edge of Horseshoe Bend due to the strong wind. That was when I wished that people would try to act more respectful in nature and become aware of what they’re actually doing. Some people were just looking for the most thrilling shot, posing so near to the edge that I couldn’t barely watch. Some were shouting, feeding wildlife, dropping litter or were just generally indecent. But then again, the curious glances I got when I pulled out my instant camera and began to shoot put a smile on my face. Some even asked me about the camera, mostly the usual question if there’s film in production for it still which I happily answered with a hint to Impossible films. As for me, I don’t want to capture the scene like I see it right before my eyes – then I could as well shoot digital – but I love to add another, dreamlike dimension to it through the expired chemistry with beautifully flawed results. Each photo is unique with a non-reproducible and often unexpected outcome, each pack produces a slightly different effect. With Impossible film, I think I found the medium that appeals most to me to express my inner visions.”
On a side note, I made sure to have adequate musical accompaniment while being on the road for about 5.000 Kilometres. The playlist can be found here.