Julia Wimmerlin - Photography (@juliawimmerlinart) is a ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆUkrainian photographer, currently based in Switzerland. She has lived in France, Switzerland, UK, Japan, the Philippines, Spain and Hong Kong.

Julia has recently won the Photographer of the Year, Moscow International Fotography Awards - MIFA and 1st Place Winner, Fine Art, Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) 2021! ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†

๐Ÿค”: So Julia, what's your photography story?

๐Ÿฆธ๐Ÿฝ:"I held my first camera when I was 34 years old, until then my professional life was all about marketing. My husband was sent on a job assignment to Japan and that absolutely different world required being recorded.

I bought my first DSLR, hired a teacher to explain the photography basics and could not stop since.

At the beginning I would photograph absolutely everything. I was not coming from the position of an artist who tries to create and show his own world. I was in an absolute admiration of the fact that I could record a physical proof of fleeting beauty and may be show my perception of what I see. And I saw beauty in everything, literally.

I remember taking photos of beautiful trash in Japan that I can nearly make a series from. We then moved to the Philippines where I could no longer have my marketing practice, so I had time to concentrate on photography. The rest was just trying to narrow down what I love photographing most.

๐Ÿค”: Tell us about your winning at TIFA 2021!

๐Ÿฆธ๐Ÿฝ: "It felt wonderful and slightly surreal since there were a lot of great works submitted. This series enjoyed some success with the recent winning of the MIFA Photographer of the Year.

Bearing in mind that I am Ukrainian, it must have been for a specific reason that the moment Russia destroys my country, I became the ultimate winner of the competition bearing its capitalโ€™s name.

After an agony of despair and confusion, I resisted the desire to decline the title which under different circumstances I would have been enormously proud of.

I believe in symbolism in life. I am thankful that in a small symbolic way Ukraine once again proves its strength of creation over the emptiness of destruction.

I am thankful that the prize money of 3000 USD that I donated to the Ukrainian Army will help to make this symbolic victory a real one.

This series was shot in Kyiv with an amazing Ukrainian model (and photographer) Mariya Andriichuk. She fully supported my decision to use this victory as an opportunity to promote Ukrainian excellence and turn evil into good. Glory to Ukraine!

๐Ÿค”: Your TIFA winning piece is called "Fresco". What does it mean?

๐Ÿฆธ๐Ÿฝ: "Fresco is a technique of mural painting where it eventually becomes an integral part of the wall. It has been used since antiquity but it became a synonym of Italian Renaissance. In fresco, water is added to dry pigment to turn the wall into a beginning of a new world.

In my series, I wanted water to create a new life, a new soul and a new woman."

๐Ÿค”: Our world has been facing a lot of challenges these few years. Has your work changed or evolved during this time vs. pre-pandemic?

๐Ÿฆธ๐Ÿฝ:"Up till 2020, my portfolio looked very different, it was made up of travel and wildlife photography. Once in a new surrealistic reality of restriction of movement and in-person communication, my previous world of constant change of places and faces disappeared, leaving me literally in front of the mirror.

In search of an outlet for creative energy, I started shooting self-portraits in which light and colour became the protagonists, and I was an additional element. Light and colour are able to most honestly convey emotions and states from despair and loneliness to hope and transformation."

๐Ÿค”: Your future plan or project?

๐Ÿฆธ๐Ÿฝ: "All my plans were turned upside down since the war in Ukraine.

Everything I wanted to work on lost its relevance to me. There is only one way I can help Ukraine, spread awareness and even get money for donations - it's from my creative work around Ukraine. This is what Iโ€™m currently developing and working on.

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Julia Wimmerlin, Fresco - Gold Award in Fine Art/Nudes, 1st Place Winner, Fine Art in Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) 2021