The Known Unkown
Each image in The Known Unknown is a consideration of self. In this exploration, only fresh air and footsteps are exchanged with the land, with no real direction or goal other than keeping one’s head up. A thin veil obscures the landscape and encroaches onto the sky during each long exposure of the 4×5 film, reminding us that we are never truly still even when resting. The simple act of wandering alone in the woods creates a practice of slowing down and claiming a space: I am here, I belong, I matter. Capturing these moments in time allows us to identify how we are connected to the environment, to others in our lives, and most importantly to ourselves. The repetitive and disorienting nature of the work allows the viewer to consider the cycles in our daily lives. Reflecting on the internal conversation, and how this translates into the actions we take to care for ourselves, is an attempt to map the overwhelming unknown.
Julie Hamel is a multidisciplinary maker working with photographic media that speaks of loss and memory. Frequently using what’s found in nature to highlight the distance in human interactions, she marks the importance of connections and the emotional effects of separation. Reflecting on the broader context of exposure, time, and sensitivity, her work simultaneously represents what may be absent or present, whether visually or emotionally. The results reveal associations emphasized by indexical evidence: this work physically happened, whether all at once, over the course of hours, or through an assembly of individual parts; much like our personal relationships throughout our lifetimes.
Hamel received her BFA with honors in photography, and a fellowship from the University of New Hampshire in 2010. After living in the South and Rocky Mountains, she returned to New England and now resides in New Hampshire. She received her MFA in Visual Arts from Lesley University College of Art + Design in Cambridge, MA in 2021. Hamel has won numerous awards and has shown across the United States and internationally including Canada, Budapest, England, Greece, and Italy.