julia mejnertsen

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how to flatten a mountain

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copenhagen, denmark

the project 'how to flatten a mountain' came about during the 10-day artist residency 'how to flatten a mountain' in enniscorthy, ireland (may 2016). 11 emerging photographers were invited by cowhouse studios and photoireland to investigate the irish countryside and the blackstairs mountain.

in my world, only God (or whatever you choose to call this force) can flatten a mountain, but in today's world, no doubt, man thinks he can. thus, the pictures take a humorist view on man's attempt to control nature. i use a mix of snapshots and still life photography, incorporating razzle dazzle camouflage, a kind of camouflage known from the battle ships in the first world war. this type of camouflage is not one of integrating with the surroundings but rather one of confusion.

my part of the project took form as a book, which will be exhibited at rathfarnham castle in dublin in july during photoireland festival. 

my participation in this residency was kindly supported by the danish arts foundation (statens kunstfond).

finishing up and shipping out

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copenhagen, denmark

the last month my life has revolved around finishing the 24 copies of my book 'tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?' it's been a lot of work, but fun, oh so much fun, at the same time. 

well, now they are finished and i've started shipping them out to all corners of the world - tokyo, melbourne, new york, brussels, siena, london and beyond. it's pretty cool to see my babies go find a new home. i hope they will be enjoyed out there.

a couple of facts about the materials used - all of which have come directly from japan. the book is inkjet printed on OK adonis rafu, 75 gram, color white from oji paper, the silver paper comes from takeo paper and the title page has been silk screened in japan by natsuki-san. the cover is made from 2 mm thick black card board. every book is hand glued with a spine that has its book binders spine mesh exposed, so that the pages behind the mesh are visible.

24 signed and numbered copies ladies and gentlemen. i'm keeping copy 24/24 for myself, as i expect it will be valuable one day :)

copies still available at the Tipi Photobook Shop

 

 

SOLD OUT preorder of Tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?

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copenhagen, denmark

dear all,

finally the day has come, where i can start taking pre-orders on my hand made photo book 'tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?' the book is sold through reminders photography stronghold in tokyo, japan, but i will hand make the books to order and ship them from denmark. 

the edition is limited to 24 copies only and i have been told that half have already been reserved, so if you're interested in getting a copy, please go ahead and visit this page. you can see a video of the book here.

Tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?
every copy will be stamped with place, year and edition number and signed by the author.

specifications:
photography: © Julia Mejnertsen 2016
art direction and editorial coordination: Jan Rosseel and Yumi Goto (In cooperation with Reminders Photography Stronghold)

card board cover with 3D hyphen, exposed hand-glued spine
weight: app. 350 g
size: 15.5 x 21 cm (w x h)
81 pages / 91 photos
french fold pages
edition of 24 hand made copies
price: 7,000 JPY

your order will be shipped from denmark
shipping within denmark: 1,400 JPY
europe: 3,000 JPY
rest of the world: 3,300 JPY


NB. A number of pages stick out from under the protection of the cover, which means the pages may become slightly damaged and/or will bend over time. The paper clip and rubber band that are used to keep the book closed may scratch the surface of the cover over time. All is intentional ­ wear and tear is just as beautiful on a book, as it is in life. Please bear in mind that the book is hand-glued and delicate, just like the human soul, handle with care.

 

charlottenborg spring exhibition 2016

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copenhagen, denmark

super happy to announce that my photograph 'search for me in plain sight (rabu)', which was part of the series 'search for me in plain sight' photographed during my stay at 3331 Arts Chiyoda last year, has been selected to be shown at this year's Spring Exhibition at charlottenborg in copenhagen, denmark. the spring exhibition is one of the four yearly state supported censured exhibitions in denmark and will be my 3rd appearance at one of these having previously exhibited in aarhus at the artists' easter exhibition and in copenhagen at the artists' fall exhibition.

the exhibition will run from 10th of march to the 17th of april 2016 at charlottenborg, nyhavn 2, copenhagen. opening is on the 10th.

when the rains come (we will fear no more)

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copenhagen, denmark

dear all,

i've been neglecting you. i'm sorry!

after my last post in mid-october (!) i've returned to life in denmark. been busy with trying to figure out what to do next, but i have at the same time been working on a new project. well, new is perhaps an overstatement seeing that i've been working on it for 3-4 years, but it wasn't until recently that i realized that i needed to make it into a photobook.

hence, i signed up for an intensive 4.5 day bookmaking workshop with toscana photographic workshops (or tpw for short) taught by teun van der heijden and sandra van doelen of heijdens karwei. the workshop was limited to 4 participants, and seeing that there were two teachers and two assistents, it was pretty much a 1:1 situation. happy camper i was. the workshop took place in bologna in a room located in a private museum of sorts in the center of the city. we were surrounded by old italian paintings, which made for a beautiful bookmaking backdrop.

my project started off with the working title while we're waiting for the rain, but the book's final title is when the rains come (we will fear no more). first thing's first though, and the whole process started out with finding out exactly what is the story that i want to tell. i already knew that my story had the possibility to go in many directions, but i am not a photo journalist nor am i a reportage photographer, so going into the workshop i had a distinct feeling that i was looking towards a more poetic style (thanks to mette frandsen for helping me realize this). am i getting ahead of myself? - i think i am.

the story: my mother is a big game hunter; a passion that has evolved in later years, and the project “when the rains come (we will fear no more)” began, without being aware of it at the time, when she back in 2012 one day asked me, ‘do you want to go with me to zimbabwe to hunt?”

but what then is the focus of the story? - hunting, killing, my mum, girl power, poaching, animals, nature, africa? you see, many possibilities - and following all of them would make for a rather confused book. the project is not a project about big game hunting as such. it is above all a project about my mother and about finding oneself, about strong women challenging themselves and their boundaries, and about never stopping to grow as a person. i have seen my mother grow into a woman of tremendous format and courage, a person I can admire and see myself in. a real inspiration to me, being somebody, who still can’t figure out who I am or where I belong. i know that hunting is a sensitive subject, but my motive and story is not one of provocation, but one of love and admiration for strong women and role models. my point being, my mum is a strong woman, who has taught me to follow my passion. the second thing i wanted to make a point of with my story is the, from my point of view, misunderstood nature of hunting. people, who do not hunt, seem to think it is all about the kill. but it is so much more. it is just as much about becoming one with nature, understanding nature. what's the name of this plant? what's the name of this flower? what animal leaves this track? do you think those clouds indicate the rains will come soon? it is about passion, it's about challenging yourself, and it's about getting to know yourself, because when all material things are stripped away and your mental and physical boundaries are tested, you get to know yourself really well. and how do you put all of this love into a book of pictures? that's what teun helped me clarify during the workshop. a couple of pointers from teun on editing:

  • your editing depends on what your outcome is going to be - is it magazine, newspaper, exhibition, book?
  • a photobook is like a slow film (visual novel) - sequence, tension building, screen play
  • senses / form / feeling - 3d photobooks play with the senses
  • build narrative layers (this was an eye opener for me) - when you build layers into your book, you often get an extra layer for free. meaning that readers will deduce their own narrative layer, which you had not necessarily intended or thought of at the time your book was made. this for me is key, because i myself love the feeling of getting it, when reading a photobook. whether i actually get it or not doesn't matter in the end, as long as a book can conjure that feeling.
"the speed and rhythm of a photobook is faster than a textbook but slower than a film" - teun van der heijden

the process: first selection of images was made, sequencing. second selection of images was made, sequencing. indesign set up - size of book was decided (which can depend on publishing - see below). diary text was scanned and added as a graphic element, diary text was added in the back of the book. handwritten text with names of plants and flowers were added to pictures. french title page, title page, spine text (this is probably the most time consuming, complicated thing to do!!), and then of course one has to consider the number of signatures (=sections) the books needs. the size of the book and the number of signatures is where the maths come in. let's see:

a printing sheet in offset printing is normally 70x100 cm. that means you get 16 pages of 24x34cm (8 pages on recto, 8 pages on verso). then if you make your pages smaller within the size of 17x24cm), you can get 32 pages on one printing sheet. if your pages are even smaller than that, you get more pages on one printing sheet. hence, if you are to publish your book, it may be a good thing to keep in mind, as the price increases every time you have more printing sheets.

click on the image to see full size

however, i was not at this point going to a publisher to have it printed, but when you set up your files in indesign, you still have to be aware of your signatures, as they should be dividable with 8 for booklet printing purposes.

in the end, i came away with a first dummy of my book that i am very satisfied with. i love that it has a handmade, sort of rough feel to it. i hand-stitched the 7 signatures together (took me 2 hours) and then it was glued to make it more stable. lastly, the cover was added and the book was cut. you will understand the cover, when you look at the last picture in the book. i give all credit of this fantastic cover idea to teun :)

i hope you like it!

last of the best

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back in tokyo, japan

hi y'all.

it's been a while and i apologize. what has happened since last post over a month ago? many things. let's see...

  1. i had my exhibition 'highway 202 to karatsu' at studio kura.
  2. i left studio kura after a 2 month stay. what an amazing place, which i can highly recommend to anyone who need to get away from the hustle and bustle and stress of it all. i din't know i needed it, but i did. it was so relaxed that i managed to practice my headstand everyday... let's just say, i've gotten really good at standing on my head.
  3. my first ever attempt at a photobook 'tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?' was shortlisted for guatephoto 2015
  4. i travelled around japan for 2 weeks doing app. 3000 kms in train and visited nagasaki, kyoto, i had the biggest artistic experience in the chichu museum in naoshima, got drunk in takamatsu, hiked the ancient pilgrimage route kumano kodo through the kii mountains, sang karaoke in tokyo and rode the train 2.5 hours to kanazawa to see an art museum, which didn't live up to expectations (then went 2.5 hours back to tokyo on the same day). oh, i also had my second oyster ever in kanazawa - it was the biggest thing i ever saw, had to eat it in 3 bites and i didn't throw it up afterwards.. 

i have a hard time getting my head around having to leave japan in less than 2 weeks.. when i came back this summer for the second time this year, i didn't really have any expectations. actually, the whole thing didn't start out too well. it was scorching hot, and i was left to my own devices most of the time, but it just kept picking up and getting better and better. and poof, i'm head over heels in love with japan again. the high points of the last 2.5 months being the music festival sunset live in keya beach in itoshima, the harvest festival in a field close to the studio kura, riding my bike through the rice fields in the sun wind in hair in itoshima, being buried in hot sand in beppu, the kumano kodo hike, where we walked from takijiri-oji and 2 days later ended up in hongu after an 8 hour hike with no place to stay and finding the most amazing small vegan minshuku (called yamamizuki), which was just absolutely perfection, and lastly the amazing naoshima (the ferry ride and the chichu art museum in particular).

some pictures to illustrate the whole thing.


a little bit about the work - highway 202 to karatsu

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itoshima, fukuoka, japan

impressions of the middle of nowhere.

i came to itoshima after having been working in tokyo on the project search for me in plain sight. i thought i would continue that work here, but with a rural spin. the people out in itoshima surely must also experience loneliness. maybe they do, but the fact is that i haven't seen it. i haven't seen the lonesome pensive moments undisturbed by nothing or no one. when i came here a month ago, it was so hot and humid that by the time it was 10 o'clock in the morning nobody was to be seen anywhere. come night time it got so dark that i guess nobody ventured outside either (unless they were in a car). hence, the setting didn't really invite a continuation of the project from tokyo, which i had originally thought it would. from my own point of view however, the loneliness, silence and melancholy was ever present.

the days went by. i didn't move outside the aircon during the day, and while still HOT at night, it had cooled down slightly. so come nighttime i went to the street. i live right next to the highway 202 that runs to karatsu - it's a fairly busy road and it's the only thing that divides me from the kilometers of rice fields that stretch out on the opposite side. in the back of my house is where the mountain and forrest begin and beyond there is the ocean. while there is not a lot of artificial light sources out here at night, besides a few street lights on the road, the cars and truck continually running through on the 202 create quite a good light source that i thought i might be able to use. also i hadn't quite found the courage to venture too far into the darkness, and thus the hunt for motives around the 202 began. the project of portraying the area around highway 202 to karatsu was born.  

since then i have taken loads of pictures, but the premise remains the same. i shoot at night time, not any longer out of necessity, as it has cooled down since then, but rather to get that uncanny, sort of lonesome feeling that i love, and that i felt when i just arrived. and still feel at times. further i have included the farmers as characters in the series. they are to me mysterious creatures, because i see them in the middle of their fields completely covered in hats, gloves and what not to avoid the sun. i never see a face, because of the big shaded hats and because they are always bent over rummaging through the dirt. to me they are anonymous creatures, but so ever present in the vast landscape, even when they are not in it physically. 


note to self

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itoshima, fukuoka, japan

just a short update on life in the country side, where this week i've been so lucky as to have my series dark ops shortlisted for the prestigious black and white limited edition book publication by gomma called MONO vol. 2 (the series dark ops is also the visual foundation of my photobook tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?). MONO is a trilogy of photography books with contributions by the best of the best b/w photographers along side emerging photographers. vol. 1 came out in 2013 and vol. 2 is expected later this year. alas, i was not among the winning artists, but considering i've only been out of photography school for 7 months, i feel very proud and honored to be among the shortlisted. it is a nice acknowledgement to get, when you constantly feel like you're fumbling along trying your best to do something that is true to yourself and it then also resonates with other people. it is small things like this that assures me that i was not wrong in leaving my job in marketing to pursue my dreams. 

next, this week the fall issue of the danish fashion magazine note came out. in it i am featured with a personal essay on tokyo, my best city tips, as well as five pages with some of the photography from my search for me in plain sight series, which i shot earlier this year in tokyo. you can read my essay and see the photos here (in danish only).

over and out.

 

UPDATE on Tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?

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itoshima, fukuoka, japan

i'm included in an exhibition in tokyo in september at Reminders Photography Stronghold (RPS) along with the other participants, who joined the hand-made photobook workshop there in may. for that reason today i took some photographs of my latest - and best - dummy for the pr for the exhibition. 

if you're in tokyo, please find your way by RPS between september 5th-23rd and have a look, or follow RPS on facebook for updates. it is also through RPS that my finished hand-made photobook tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen? will be sold, when it is (eventually) finished (expected early 2016). 

Tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?

  • Author and bookbinding: ©Julia Mejnertsen
  • Editorial coordination and Art direction: Jan Rosseel and Yumi Goto (in collaboration with Reminders Photography Stronghold 2015)
  • 83 pages
  • 65 pictures
  • app. A5 size