The photographs of 19 year old visual artist Julia Updegraff function like dyed fountains of youth – they let us live vicariously through her world of colour and sugar-addled shenanigans. She captures those subtle moments of wildness passing through in her milieu, documenting the transiency of our younger years, our prime times.
I reached out to get some real bubblegum smack from her:
What’s with this “sex tape”?
Haha okay this is a joke on my tumblr
because people are constantly asking me “how do I build a social media following”. So I jokingly tell them to make a sex tape because if that’s all you’re focusing on then you’re making art for the wrong reasons. If I were to answer that question seriously I would just say to be yourself – be the best version of yourself you can be… and put it on the internet.
Since you started documenting the stuff happening around you, do you ever feel like you’re missing out on the moment you’re capturing? Or more a part of it?
Definitely! – But at the same time snapping a picture takes only a second and i’m usually fully immersed in the moments i’m capturing outside of that little second. A lot of times when i’ve been in really surreal situations I haven’t even taken photos honestly because I didn’t want to ruin the moment.
I think part of the fun comes from the colours in your photos. Would you ever shoot in black & white?
I’m in love with color, but i’m definitely going to play with black & white film in the near future because being able to make a beautiful photograph without using color is really important to me.
Still using a Yashica T4 or have you swapped?
The Yashica is still my go-to camera right now. I’ve been using it since highschool and it’s been everywhere I go with me so I kinda have an emotional attachment to it, but i’ve been getting bored of having the same process for this long so i’ve been experimenting with a lot of different types of film and am excited to start testing out some new cameras 🙂
When it comes to planned shoots, like the one you did for Lazy Oaf, what’s the process like for you?
For some shoots i’ll gather up my friends, we’ll run around the city, and i’ll shoot the whole thing. For other planned shoots i’ll have an image in my head and i’ll recreate the scenario in real life. It’s always really fast paced and spontaneous!
What have you been doing lately?
I’m currently on summer break from college in my hometown of Saint Petersburg, Florida. The film facility that I get my photos developed at here (the only good one in my city) has been closed down for the past couple months so i’ve been mainly focusing on film and making music. A week from now i’ll be heading to Austin, Texas with my best friend and artist Jorge Alvarez to make a couple new films that we will show the internet within the next couple months!
You tweeted that you’re moving to NYC! What’s the city in for?
I’m moving to New York City at the end of August to attend school at Parsons! I’m so excited to finally meet my internet friends from the city who also make art and be able to create with them IRL! Overall, my main focus in NYC will be learning the most that I can in my time there before I stumble out into real life.
Ever had a scene in your mind that you wanted to capture?
Every day! Some I recreate & upload to the internet, other more intricate scenes I am saving until I have the ability to turn them to life.
What’s happening with your magazine, Mouthwash?
I created Mouthwash to have an outlet for putting anything that I like or think is funny into a short run of prints in zine form. It’s always going to be all over the place and ridiculous. For example, Mouthwash No. 1 opened up with a story from my friend about the time he found out “hoes ain’t loyal” when he was 5 years old – and closed with a beautiful, yet darker poem from my URL friend You Can’t Relate. I’ll put them out every once in a while for the people who want a little look inside my brain. I actually just wrapped up Mouthwash No. 2 and it will make it’s way to the internet within the next couple months!
Do you always have candy?
HARIBO FOR LIFE.
Written by Katrina Wong