Born @ WdKA

Hamsa Hamsa Hamsa | An Upbringing

Sat 23 Oct
Function Photographer
Year 2021
Major Photography
Practice Autonomous Practices

Nominee Threshold Award Autonomous Practices

Meet Julia Gat! Julia was nominated for the 2021 Threshold Award Autonomous Practices with her graduation project ‘Hamsa Hamsa Hamsa | An Upbringing’. In this interview, Julia tells us about her work and future plans.

Can you tell us a bit about your graduation project and how it came about?

Hamsa Hamsa Hamsa | An Upbringing is a long-term project that began as soon as I started taking photos and shooting videos, when I was about eight years old. Growing up, I have always had a camera in my hands and have been documenting everything around me: my family, my siblings, our home, our daily lives, et cetera. My parents adopted an educational philosophy called 'unschooling', which is a form of homeschooling in which there is more personal freedom, and is much more focused on the individual interests of the child. Growing up unschooled, I learned to see the many possibilities life brought me, and that has shaped who I am today. My graduation project concludes my development as an image maker so far, rooted in my early childhood. It is a long term archival project, centered around my family. And for once, not from the perspective of the parent, but from that of the child. Looking at the pictures I have taken over the years, I can see that my way of shooting changed, but you can also see the people I photographed growing up and the spaces around me change.

I presented my work through three mediums that are all equally important. I created an exhibition displaying a selection of prints and a short film. Next to that, I collected the full photo series and created a publication, together with my written research.

Which themes or societal concerns are you addressing in your work, and how?

The main themes are family, daily life, home and intimacy. It captures my home, the place where my development took place, and the safe space it represents. But the project also has an educational agenda, and imagines how we can think of learning in alternative ways. For example: what do the future generations need in terms of space and tools for learning? How do they learn? Where and when does learning take place? And who is in charge of it?

What will you be working on in the near future? What are your next steps?

Throughout the graduation process, I realised that the grand themes which interest me the most are often intimacy and freedom, and how these two manifest within daily life. In the future, I hope to continue exploring these themes in contexts other than childhood and family life. Furthermore, as my love for film rapidly grows, I am considering doing a Masters in cinematography or filmmaking.

But I will definitely continue photographing my family and the people around me. This is a project that I hope to continue for the rest of my life. I see this graduation project as a first chapter that has now come to an end, since me and my siblings all grew up and our lives are changing. There will be future chapters to this project as we enter the next phase in our lives, and my siblings will have their own kids, et cetera. I am now in the process of getting this first chapter published together with a French book publishing house, which means there will be a big book release soon. Stay tuned for that!


To read more about Julia’s work, pay a visit to her Graduation Catalogue Page. Furthermore, her journey can be followed on Instagram and her Website. The winner of the Threshold Award Autonomous Practices will be announced during a festive ceremony as part of the Graduation Show. Keep an eye on our Graduation Show page for more information.