Julie Hamel is a multidisciplinary maker working with photographic media that speaks of loss and memory. Frequently using what's found in nature to highlight the distance in human interactions, she marks the importance of connections and the emotional effects of separation. Reflecting on the broader context of exposure, time, and sensitivity, her work simultaneously represents what may be absent or present, whether visually or emotionally. The results reveal associations emphasized by indexical evidence: this work physically happened, whether all at once, over the course of hours, or through an assembly of individual parts; much like our personal relationships throughout our lifetimes.
Hamel received her BFA with honors in photography, and a fellowship from the University of New Hampshire in 2010. After living in the South and Rocky Mountains, she returned to New England and now resides in New Hampshire. She received her MFA in Visual Arts from Lesley University College of Art + Design in Cambridge, MA in 2021. Hamel has won numerous awards and has shown across the United States, Canada, and internationally including Italy, Budapest, Greece, and England.
In this work, altered photographic negatives are used to highlight the distance in human connections and interactions. My process begins by using film as a proxy for relationships. I ‘blindly’ adhere remnants from the body and nature onto the unexposed film, creating intimacy and connection through the sense of physical touch. Remnants attached to the film project onto and block each other, hindering complete exposures. At different stages of processing, items degrade and disappear, leaving one to consider what is absent and what is present. These images represent a seamless indexical moment referencing the distance and loss of a past connection. Each empty moment requires the viewer to consider what is missing; like our memories of past conversations, only traces may remain.
Release Date: April 22, 2022
While the series Altered Negatives was created with large format film and a pinhole camera, these images are a handheld size, born from an old Brownie Bullet. I was intrigued with the intricacies of these works in connection to the details that take place within our relationships. The smaller scale and single negative create a more intimate moment during the exposure. Mini Altered Negative, (ladies) was created with Asian lady beetles attached to hair and then adhered to the unexposed film before shooting. Each empty moment requires the viewer to consider what is missing.
Mini Altered Negative, (ladies), 2021