Acid Dream may be short, but it’s certainly one of those series that you hope poetic artists like Maria Agustina will pick up again, or at least evolve into another equally intriguing body of work. Kaleidoscopic, mind-boggling, and otherworldly all at once, it’s easy to imagine her trippy technique turning the mundane into something extraordinary.
I wanted to see more of those dreamy hues dripping into the repetitions. I wanted to see how it will look like with a mix of subjects. I wanted to see what happens when she throws her own dreams and nightmares into the mix.
While I was a little sad upon learning that this trippy series is actually done, the Argentina-born photographer was quick to tell me more about this project that she enjoyed, and what she has in mind for a new body of work. Read into the full interview below to find out how Acid Dream came about, how Agustina translated her ideas and inspiration into her photos, her film photography journey, and what’s in the works for this artist to watch out for.
Can you tell us something about yourself and what you do? What keeps you busy aside from film photography?
I was born in 1996 and part of my life passed between Brazil and Argentina. I currently live in a small city in Patagonia and I really want to move to Buenos Aires next year. Beside that, I was working until the middle of this year, and then I went into a sabbatical time.
I also play bass and spend a lot of time listening to music and watching independent movies. I’m a big fan of Andrei Tarkovsky, David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Jean Luc Godard, Gaspar Noé, and Xavier Dolan. Most of my inspiration comes from what I hear or see everyday.
How long have you been shooting film, and what makes you keep working with this medium?
I started when I was 17. Basically, I spent a whole summer photographing anything I liked (in digital format) until I began to feel great curiosity to continue experimenting and I wanted to try the analog format. I remember that at the time I was totally obsessed but I didn’t have any cameras to try. I just got one at the end of that year and it was quite an adventure. I never studied photography, or took any class about. So it was all self-taught. Obviously, I made a lot of mistakes and I screwed up a lot of film rolls.
I think what keeps me interested in the format is curiosity and and the possibility of being able to experiment. I really like that. When you take photos in analog format, you never have idea about how the photo came out. I simply point, shoot and hope that the result is good.
Can you tell us something about your Acid Dream series? How did this body of work came about? What inspired you to put it together?
Acid Dream began to form at the moment I stopped working and began to have more time for myself. At that moment I wanted to experience something totally different and away from what I had already been doing. For example: photographing a model, creating a more surreal, colorful and dreamy atmosphere. I was very influenced by the music I was listening at the time and wanted to try to translate it into a psychedelic visual format.
Repetition or duplication appears to be a big part of this work. How do you determine which subjects work great for this style or approach?
I honestly don’t know. As I said before, I really like to experiment and try different things. With the repetitions I simply put the filter on the camera and I point. If I like what I see, I shoot. Plus, I thought it was very complementary to what I wanted to reflect and had in mind.
What camera/s do you usually work with for this project? Any favorite films, too?
I work with the only camera I have, a Nikon FE. I bought it in 2013 and despite being a camera that already had been used, I adapted pretty well and is one of my favorites. It seems like a simple camera but it really surprises you with the possibilities that it offers you. Besides, I like that the handling is almost completely manual.
The film I’ve been using almost all these years is Kodak Colorplus 200. I also experimented with Kodak Ultramax 400. Unfortunately, in my city, there isn’t a great variety of films and they’re very expensive.
I want to experiment with Purple LomoChrome really bad and others but I still have not had a chance to get them.
Is Acid Dream a work in progress? Do you have anything in mind to keep this series interesting?
Actually, I think Acid Dream is a finished project. Although it was very short, I really liked the final result and it had very good acceptance.
Right now I have in mind to start developing my feminist ideals in my photos. To develop more naked / erotic pictures that can go far beyond than just a “female” body. Something that can contemplate the purity, psycho-social and physical/spiritual conditions. It’s something that’s still in process.
To see more of Agustina’s work, please follow the links below: