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Tintype Photographs Yearn for the Analog Days | Not Dead Yet

Photographer and filmmaker Julie Orlick makes work the ol' surrealists would adore.
May 9, 2016, 1:30pm
Portrait of Julie Orlick, Photograph by Vanessa Maestri.

Ever gaze out your window and wonder what you're missing out on? Perhaps feel an overwhelming sense of dread thinking about your mortality? Not Dead Yet is a column dedicated to finding the most exciting, experimental, funny, and out-of-this-world work, so that you won’t have to worry about missing out. With interviews and features like these, you’ll totally forget that death is at your door.

The acid-dipped photographs of Julie Orlick are like a journey into the most nostalgic depths of your psyche. Heavily influenced by surrealist photography and film, the fashion of the 1920s, and “the beautiful people of Instagram,” the California transplant and now, Brooklyn-based analog photographer and artist keeps the analog tradition alive by executing her works in tintype photography, 35mm, and 16mm film. Her work contains a haunting yet sophisticated air, despite such arduous and involved developing processes.

Orlick offers her photographs in print, zines, and books she self-publishes. Having shown her work at the LA Zine Fest, Spoonbill and Sugar Town books, The Church of Fun, Echo Chamber, and the Homeroom Gallery, and is currently working on a new tintype series. The Creators Project caught up with her about life goals, thought processes, and more.

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Untitled, Tintype. 2016. Photo by Julie Orlick

The Creators Project: How would you describe your work to someone that wasn't familiar with what you do?

Julie Orlick: I'd like to say that my photography and films steer the viewer into a world of the past. Mostly shot in black-and-white. I view every single frame in my films as a single photograph, except those photographs move in time, creating movement; some sort of story. All 35mm and 16mm film work.

Tell us a bit about how you got into analog photography and film.

The earliest memory I have of being interested in photography is when I visited the Getty with my 'rents as a kid and seeing a Diane Arbus photograph of an old lady with her eyes closed. I asked my pops why someone would take that photo, what was the point? It was so candid but it held so much history.

I became very interested in analog techniques in high school, I loved being in the darkroom, making my own prints, smelling like fixer. I was also an intern at LACMA during the Dalí exhibition in 2008 and during that time they offered a 16mm experimental film class that I took park [in]. I loaded my first Bolex and shot my own film. It was the most exhilarating feeling I've ever had.

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Untitled, TinType 2016. Photo by Julie Orlick

You've currently crowd funded a project of tintype photographs, and in the past, crowdfunded films as well. Is crowdfunding a primary source of income for your projects?

I've put a lot of trust into crowdfunding as it allows people to find out about me and my work. I definitely have a bit more of a ways to go in terms of making money off my photography and film work. My day job is working as a pastry chef and I seriously barely make any money, but I'm content regardless. People are also contributing [to] my art, which seriously gives me hope in the world.

You've self-published over six books and zines, do you often self-make and self-publish your work?

Yes. I self publish my own work because I find it very rewarding to do so and have always been the type to "do it yourself." The entire scene I thrive in back home in Los Angeles is full of DIY-ers.

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Untitled, Tintype 2016. Photograph by Julie Orlick.

Influences?

When I moved to NYC, I found out about the Anthology Film Archives. They have this special night, like once or twice a year, where they show french surrealist films from the 1920's. This includes Fernand Léger and Man Ray, etc. That entire collection truly inspires me. I also love the surrealist photographs of Grete Stern and the films of Kenneth Anger. Rabbit's Moon, with the 1950s soundtrack, is gold. Photographs of Clara Bow almost inspire everything that I do. She's my fashion idol. The K-town, Los Angeles puppet show, Almighty Opp. The beautiful people I follow on Instagram. Also, living in New York inspires me everyday. Visiting my home in Los Angeles, my life in general, and traveling to Europe.

If your WILDEST dreams could come true, what are some types of projects and collaborations you'd like to do?

I still have a lot of 16mm film projects in the works, a gallery show featuring my tintypes and live 16mm screening, a feature I've been scheming on for the last five-ish years. I want to make more stop-motion animations, shoot more tintypes and Polaroids, and finally for fucks sake get myself my own cameras so I can stop renting. Also, become a part of LaborBerlin, an analog filmmaking collective.

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Untitled, TinType 2016. Photograph by Julie Orlick.

If you were to (hypothetically) die right after this interview, how would you hope your work and your life would influence the world?

Honestly, at this time, I feel like if I died a lot of people wouldn't notice or care about my work. I mean that on the grander scheme of things. I hope that I'm able to make a breakthrough in the underground avant-garde 16mm filmmaking movement during this century, along with the organizations and other film makers still using this medium. Truth is, I feel like I need to live a lot longer and make a considerable amount of more work to feel I would have any impact on film and photography.

“Sirene Femme”, 2014, starring Lexi Laphor, music by Salmon

Want more of Julie Orlick? Check out her work at www.julieorlick.com and see more of her work on Instagram.

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