Thursday, May 20, 2010

Julia Weber: VW bus historian/artist/fan

About a month back, Julia Weber posted a note on VW Camper Family asking for VW bus stories. She linked to her project - a series of photos and a series of recordings - and I was amazed. It's like someone is scraping the stories off the side of a bus and putting them on a mantle for all the visitors to see.

I thought it was interesting and wanted to hear her story. I asked her a few questions which she was kind enough to answer:

BBD: I'm interested in why you are interested in VWs. What about them appeals to you?
Julia: My first car was a 1982 VW Vanagon camper, me and my boyfriend – now husband – bought it in Germany in 2003. It was a slow and rusty Diesel in pretty bad shape, but we loved it. To me the best way to travel is in a VW Bus, there is this sense of freedom of being able to just leave and go where ever the road might take you. When we moved to the SF Bay Area in 2006, I was fascinated by the number of older Buses still up and running. Due to the bad weather in Germany few of the older models are still on the road. I am especially drawn to the ones that show a lot of rust, wear, and imperfections - they have a lot of personality, you can just tell that there is a story behind them.

Do you own an old VW?
Yes, me and my husband now own a 1986 Vanagon, a dark blue camper with a pop-top. But compared to some of the VW Buses I've been photographing it may be considered rather young than old...

Has it been hard to get people involved in your project?
It depends, when I started looking for stories I just asked around among people I knew. Some of them have or used to have a VW Bus and sometimes they would refer me to friends. It actually worked pretty well and I got some wonderful stories this way. Especially the former Bus owners I recorded, told me that telling these stories brought back a lot of fond memories. I also had a post on the forum of the local San Jose VW club and was able to record some of their stories in my Bus at their hang out. Getting strangers to participate is a little bit harder. From the cards I hand out when I talk with people about my project and their buses hardly anyone ends up getting back to me. However, I am having a lot of great conversations and very much enjoy working on this project.

What is the ultimate goal of the project?
Through my photography and the audio recordings I am trying to capture the spirit of these unique vehicles. As for the ultimate goal, you could compare it to riding a VW Bus, the journey is the destination. To me the process of collecting the photographs and stories is just as important as the possible outcome. So far I have been following my intuition and one step has led me to the next, so the project may shift as I continue to work. The last path I took, was to experiment with a way to integrate the three parts of my project into an exhibition, which was shown in Gallery at San Jose State University. Right now I am trying to get the project out there and to encourage more bus enthusiasts to participate. The next step will be to go to Germany this summer and hopefully record the stories of German VW Bus owners. Besides exhibiting the work, a possible outcome could be to transcribe and translate the stories and to create a bilingual book, which would also contain my photographs ... but who knows where my path may lead me.

For more information about her work please visit: To listen to some of the stories she recorded click here:



Interesting interview...I love the idea. :) I'll give it a listen for sure.

  © Blogger template por Emporium Digital 2008

Voltar para o TOPO