The melancholy feeling of vacation with Julia Dunham

Julia Dunham, 24, is a conceptual photographer and artist working in New York City, graduated from a BFA in Photography. When she’s not taking photos, she works as a lab manager in a traditional c-print darkroom and fine art printing service. Growing up in a military, Catholic family during the rise of the Internet has been incorporated thematically into her artistic practice. Her series See Ya Real Soon taps into the themes of holidays and the melancholy of these memories.

As a child, Julia first used photography as a tool to store her memories, compulsively recording her life. She logically took the photography course in high school which sparked her passion for looking at the world through the lens, and it became an incredible coping mechanism for the stresses of growing up. Julia started taking self portraits, which was eventually incorporated into her thesis work.

Her series See Ya Real Soon is an ongoing project exploring the melancholy feeling of vacation and leisure coming to an end. This theme develops through a family reunion, a romantic cruise, a drive with her mother, and a childish adventure in Disneyland. The title refers to what Mickey Mouse says instead of saying goodbye, as if goodbyes are too final for Disneyland. Family memories that Julia looks with the same hopefulness as Mickey Mouse: the idea that we aren’t really going to die, and that we’ll see each other real soon.

“I feel this Christian-American fantasy while on vacation that I’m not going to die. As if I have become immortal by creating a bubble of excessive relaxation. Vacation is a feeling that for a moment I get to be someone else, someone rich and fun who indulges and is fearless. Where the biggest decision to make is vanilla or chocolate? There is a fragility in this chunk of time that is dedicated to being completely free of obligation. Vacation is crucial, but there is something falsifying about leaving the confines of my reality in order to withstand it”.

Julia’s website and instagram

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