Kristie Muller

The Canadian photographer wishes she still had her stash of pre-teen photos...

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Often photographing the people she knows, Kristie Muller is inspired by her own everyday surroundings in Canada. While Muller says that many of her images are taken from drunken nights out with friends, there is still a sense that Muller considers every image she takes. The photographer’s blog includes many personal shots which allows the viewer to feel privy to this surreal yet somehow still domesticated world. This is exaggerated further by the haziness and muted palette often conveyed through her images, adding to the dreamlike feel. We caught up with Muller to talk about how she approaches an image and why she doesn’t use a digital camera. 

Dazed Digital: How did you first get into photography?
Kristie Muller:
I've taken pictures on and off for as long as I can remember. I don't come from a photo family. There's only five or six childhood photos of me kicking around. I started buying disposable cameras when I was nine or ten. I would take a lot of photos. A lot more than I do now. Blindy/rashly charging through film. There was a lot of weird pre-teen photos that I wish I still had around. I've always made things, and this is just an extension of that, but I didn't put that together till a few years ago.

DD: What kind of photography are you most drawn to?
Kristie Muller: All kinds. Lately I've been interested in cell phone photos. What people gather and decide to put on the Internet. I like shitty quality and any form of documentation. Cell phones have gotten everyone taking pictures, people that otherwise might not. It's all really raw and untainted. Something that's missing in a lot of other photography.

DD: How do you approach an image? Do you plan shots or try to capture moments spontaneously?
Kristie Muller: I have some photos that I like that were taken carelessly while drunk, but It's always different. Usually I'll notice something in passing and I'll try to isolate it in a picture. Spontaneity is as scarce as it is common. It relies on my mood or presence of mind. I'm a drifter. I find it hard to focus on the big picture, so this is usually when smaller pictures call out to me. But, I get restless and manipulate subject matter sometimes. I've always been a collector. Collecting objects, ideas, jokes, textures, concepts, whatever. Taking a picture is the cleanest and easiest way for me to hold onto everything for now.

DD: There’s a nostalgic feel to work as though the images have been created using a film camera, do you ever employ traditional techniques in your work or are the effects produced digitally?
Kristie Muller:
I only shoot film. I don't have Photoshop and I wouldn't know how to achieve anything digitally. I use a really low grade point and shoot. I don't really know anything about cameras. I was fixated on Polaroid a few years ago but decided to give it up. I love film and get kind of nauseous when the guy at the photo lab lists off reasons why I should 'go digital'. It depends on what you're working on I guess. If I was taking photos of my photos; I'd wanna use digital.

Last year I started making some video. I haven't done much with any of it yet, but I shot them all with the web cam on my old laptop.

DD: Throughout your portfolio there’s a sense of intimacy as though these are snapshots of people and places personal to you. Is this the case? And is this connection to your work important to you?
Kristie Muller:
It's all my surroundings. Sometimes I do my best to shift them directly as they are into a photograph, and other times twisting what's in front of me into something else. Connection is important. I photograph my sister a lot. She has a strange and enduring understanding of me creatively that some people are freaked out by. We do whatever we want to. Asking a stranger to take their picture is scary, even when I can tell that they're into it. I rely on connection.

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