The FOMO Is Real: An Interview With Photographer and Filmmaker Yulia Zinshtein

Yulia Zinshtein is a photographer, filmmaker and poet living in New York City. In the FOMO (fear of missing out) generation, she paints a portrait of her friends through a sardonic lens that leaves the viewer wondering if she is poking fun or being completely serious. It's a deadpan type of humor that only the keen, or members of her generation, will understand. In her short film, entitled Girls Going Wild, inspired by early-naughts reality TV and late night infomercials, she brings to life what it means not to be the life of the party. She says, "Girls Going Wild is about searching for the best party. This video aims to show how awkward that search can be...and that the very process becomes the best party you could ever find." We got a chance to ask Zinshtein about her work and her new short film, which Autre has exclusively premiered

Autre: Where are you from and why were you in Miami?

Yulia Zinshtein: I was born in Philly and raised in Moscow. I shot the video while in Miami for Art Basel! It was my first time at that art fair and it really affected me, something about Basel brings out the worst in people! But Miami is the best, one of the most inspiring places for my work. 

Autre: Where did the inspiration for this short film come from?

Zinshtein: We had extreme FOMO the whole time we were at Art Basel...worse than general New York FOMO! Where was the “real” party at? Were we on the list? Could we sneak in? Are we having fun? Will there be free drinks? Am I cool enough? Do my parents love me?! The 13 year old inside me was inspired by the old school video camera...filming my friends doing nonsense and acting for the sake of it really brought up how it all started for me. 

Autre: This work has a reality tv feel to it, only it feels a lot more real. Was that your intention, and are you a fan of reality tv?

Zinshtein: Oh definitely! It's between Girls Gone Wild and The Real World. But the message is the exact opposite of what Girls Gone Wild represents: girls not getting wild enough! 
I actually find contemporary reality TV extremely boring, I can never get through an episode of the Kardashians (and I've tried many many oysters, I never got a feel for it). I love watching old Real World episodes but mostly for aesthetic reasons.

Autre: In addition to your video work, you're also known for your photography and poetry. Which medium did you start with first, and where do you feel most comfortable?

Photography was my gateway drug into video work and poetry. I feel comfortable in all mediums, they trigger different satisfactions. However I am most confident in photography, because I am more educated in it and have been doing it longer.

What's next?

Next, I have a trip planned to a private ranch in south Texas, somewhere I've never been! I'm really excited to see the outcome. In the summer I'm planning to go to Moscow (my parents still live there) and make work about them and my old life. Mostly, I want an excuse to annoy my Mom by following her around with a camera! I can see her yelling at me already, it'll be great!

Click here to watch Yulia Zinshtein's new short film Girls Going Wild. Visit Zinshtein's website to see her photography. Text and interview by Oliver Maxwell Kupper. Follow Autre on Instagram: @AUTREMAGAZINE