Mikaela Lungulov-Klotz is a 24 year-old photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. With her twin, they were born in New York City and grew up in between Chile, The United States and Serbia. She works as a freelancer on several supports: video editing, film, photo set work and until recently, at a stained glass studio for a while. Her latest series deals with her twin’s transgender transition process.
Can you give us some background information about how you got to photography?
I don’t actually remember ever deciding that photography was ‘the thing’ that would I ‘do’. My dad is a filmmaker and it think being around him instilled in me the desire and necessity to capture things and pay attention to stories. As I’ve grown older I find that I can’t actually help myself, almost like a compulsion, I have to see the picture I see in my head through.
Please introduce us to your series “⋀” and tell us more about this symbol-based title.
Strictly speaking the series doesn’t have a title that is a pronounceable word- the title is a very small drawing/symbol.
“I am asking everyone to come along with Vuk and I. I want you to be our third twin. I’m asking that you be quiet and that you listen carefully”.
The series is named after a tattoo I gave my brother on his finger. If I had to translate it into a written word it would be ‘casita’, which means little house in Spanish.
In 2016 my twin, Vuk, came out as a trans man, and decided to start the transition process immediately, I decided I needed to photograph the process. This work explores what this transition means in regards to our relationship as twins- what it means to care for someone, to listen, to respect, and to trust. It explores the reality of a transition and how it ties into the concept of a home. These pictures are the start of the neverending process of proving to myself that we might exist, as well as understanding the ways in which we do. They are a way of piecing the history my twin and I share, and exist in contrast to the transient aspects of our identities as an attempt to grasp at something that may lead to our roots, or carve out a a new place of our own.I took a lot of these about two years ago, and looking back at them I can see myself wide eyed and apprehensive, I think I was trying to build something that could contain it all. In retrospect, piecing it together as a narrative feels like a self inflicted maternal act towards my brother and I. These pictures explore and rely on intimacy, and a willingness for a lack of distance.
Which aspects of the transition did you want to capture & what did you want to transmit?
I’m asking everyone to come along with Vuk and I. I want you to be our third twin. I’m asking that you be quiet and that you listen carefully. When Vuk was first coming out it felt as though something very precious was bubbling up, there was a lot to learn, and unless I slowed down and payed close attention this shimmer would evaporate. These pictures have a lot to do with feeling tiny and see-through, deciding to embrace a situation in which, like a squishy magic grow toy, you have no choice but to become in front of everyone. I’d like for these to transmit my wide eyes and awe for my brother. With these pictures I’d like to examine the structures that the notions we’ve constructed of each other provide and perpetuate, and why perpetuating seems to be easier then rupturing.
Do you think this series that is so personal to you marked your style in your future work?
I think it has. This series has definitely influenced what it is that I value within the situation of a photograph being made. I think the relationship between photographer and subject is really interesting, and can be very precious. As I move on to working on new and different projects I’d like for my pictures to be imbued with the flickering sensation of a very small secret being revealed very quietly, I’d like there to be a balance of serenity and discomfort.
What did you learn from the project?
I think this project re-introduced me to narrative, it cemented the idea of needing to pay very very close attention, and most importantly, it taught me to make stuff about what I can’t stop thinking about; to pay attention to the thing that is making me feel like I will be in a perpetual state of almost throwing up if I keep ignoring it.
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