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Gundula Blumi

Interview, 10/2023

Hi Gundula, thanks for taking the time to make this interview. It’s been difficult to find information about you, what could tou tell us about yourself?

I am 34 years old and have been living in Berlin in Germany since I was 20. I grew up on the North Sea coast in a small town. I like life in the big city, but I visit my home country regularly because I love the minimalist landscape of the Wadden Sea and need the space in which my eyes and mind can relax again. My pictures are mostly created when I drive out of Berlin, in nature. I came to Berlin to study. I then worked with mentally handicapped people for many years. I am fascinated by the fact that every single person in the world lives in their very own reality, the more special or strange a reality appears, the more interesting I find it.

When did you start as a photographer? What does photography mean to you? Do you feel it’s a way to express yourself that would be harder otherwise?

I started taking photos as a child, and I have always been fascinated by being able to depict the things and people in my life on paper. My family has always photographed a lot, that’s why I grew up with it and was allowed to borrow my mother’s analogue camera at the beginning, but soon got my own, with which I then photographed everything that seemed important to me. The goal of my photography was and still is to capture memories. I have a memory cabinet with pictures from my life and at some point I want to be 90 years old and look at these pictures. I’m looking forward to it. Then at some point I discovered experimental artistic photography, which has become my passion. And yes, it is definitely a channel for me to express myself. In addition, photography is my compensation for the often overstimulated everyday life. When I take photos or edit pictures, then I am completely with myself and in my world and my inner being, which has gotten mixed up in everyday life, comes back into place.

Do you currently make a living with photography? What other ways do you have to generate income?

I have an income from photography, but I also have another job in the social field that is very important to me, because photography and art have to stay independent for me. I believe that if my existence were to depend on my art, then I would no longer enjoy it. Photography is something I want to be completely free in.

You usually shoot in film. How is your process and style? Do you pay a lot of attention to the technique, composition and result? Do you scan the negatives or develop the film yourself?

At the moment I’m even rediscovering digital photography, I like the minimalist and sterile of digital photography. But I love the warm and real thing about analogue photography, the pictures somehow seem to be “heavier” and “more valuable”, more sustainable, digital pictures fly away faster. I developed my pictures myself for a while and found it really exciting, but lately I’ve been having them developed again and then I scan the result myself. Over the years I have developed various techniques that I combine and develop further over and over again. Sometimes a technique works for a while and then suddenly it doesn’t work anymore – because its time is simply over. Then something new will come. I just try around a lot and the most beautiful results are the results that surprise me, because I wasn’t expecting them.

Your pictures are abstract, nostalgic and dark, even like a dream between reality and surreal. as a David Lynch fan your work reminds me of him, and his filming style, and what he said:  I would love to be in that state of a waking dream all day long, but you have to have some quiet. The world is getting louder every year, but to sit and dream is a beautiful thing.
Do you feel identified with that in your work?

Yes, sometimes I just wish to be able to immerse myself in my pictures and to blur with them. Maybe that happens when I die that I can choose a picture in which I then disappear and become blurred with the aura of the picture. And yes, the world often overstimulates me and I need a lot of time to regenerate and diving into images is one method for me to draw new strength. After exhausting days I just sit there for hours and look at pictures by different photographers, which then trigger something in me and let me come down. I love to plunge into life, but what I have experienced only gets value for me when I have enough time to process it. And for that I also need time and rest and being alone. Keeping the balance between experiencing and processing is not easy.

How would you evaluate your current moment on a photographic level? Are you happy with your work or do you feel the need to evolve and start doing another type of photography?

I don’t quite know where I’m headed yet, but something new is emerging that is still being developed, but is already in the making. The “feeling” is already there, but it is not yet tangible.

Could you take one of your photographs and tell us what is behind that image?

This is a self-portrait that expresses the conflict between closeness and distance that I find myself so often in.

And finally, how are you feeling lately? Would you like to tell us about future projects or promote anything?

I’m fine, my life is changing a lot right now and I find that good and interesting. I am curious and look forward to what is to come. I let myself be surprised by my emotions and by photography.

We’d love to bring you a miramono print version. It is not yet possible. Meanwhile...

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