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Gin Majka communicates oneness with nature

Gin Majka is a Maine-based photographer working with analog and digital imagery. Drawn to a wide array of photographic processes, she experiments with different mediums and styles. Gin received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Planning and Policy with a Nature Tourism minor at the University of Southern Maine in 2021. After working outdoors with the National Park Service for seven seasons, she is now pursuing her creative aspirations in the Professional Certificate for Visual Storytelling program at Maine Media College. Combining her love for creativity and the environment, her images portray meditative human interaction with the natural world.

See more if Gin's work on Instagram at @cosmicgin

A/A: Nature and people in natural settings seem to be a theme of your work. Is that intentional?

GM: Humans cannot exist without nature. With my first memories occurring in the woods of Maine, I think of the natural environment as an extension of myself; it is at the core of my being and will always sneak into my work. When speaking to my experimental analog imagery, I’m grasping for a way to communicate oneness with nature. This is not referring to a fun hike with friends, these images are about a profound, empathetic, and innate connection to our environment. Often, we lose touch with this link in our daily lives. If you’ve ever tried Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing), meditation by the ocean or cold water dipped, you may have experienced this feeling of unity and bliss with the planet that birthed us; even if just for a brief second.

A/A: What got you interested in alternative processing?

GM: I became interested in alternative processing when I realized I wanted a way to interact with my images on a more physical level. I was raised in a tech-heavy time with immediate gratification at our fingertips. Image-making without the aid of modern technology is a void in my soul I’m constantly trying to fill. I have thoroughly enjoyed the test of patience with shooting analog and souping film. With anything regarding analog I am self taught. I’ll read about a type of process, research it extensively and try it repeatedly. I wish I could try every single process, yet some are easier (and cheaper) than others. Multiple exposure images and soaking film have simply been the most accessible to me at this point in my life, although now I’m beginning to dabble in ziatypes and more intensely with cyanotypes.

A/A: I've always found portraiture challenging. What is your advice for photographers attempting to capture people?

GM: I can certainly empathize with this! I have two extremes: one where I practice a photojournalistic approach and walk around snapping tons of images watching moments unfold before me (eg. cinéma vérité). In the second extreme, I enjoy posing people precisely (eg. Anne Brigman style). The experience of portraiture is about having/making a connection with your subject and just practicing.

Some tips

  • When you look at a portrait that you find successful, what elements does it include? Take note of what you are drawn to and how to achieve it.

  • Find someone who is willing to sit and pose with you and practice tweaking their pose. Think about the mood of the image. What posture/gesture shows this mood?

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