The last few weeks I seem to have mentioned or featured John Holding on my blog quite a few times, probably has something to do with the fact that I know him and we go out to take photos together. It occurred to me that I hadn’t done an Introductions post on him, and thought maybe it was time I gave him a proper introduction. So today I would like to introduce to you John Holding.
I’ve known John for a bit more than a year now, and though both of us have WordPress blogs, it isn’t really how we met. I seem to recall we met through Red Bubble. I was trying to sell some photos there, and he introduced himself and helped me work out how to do things. I am not on Red Bubble any more, but John and I stayed in contact and then I found his blog. The above image is one of the first I remember seeing there. It is a church in Melbourne and his photos have made me want to go and visit it ever since, still haven’t got there, but I will one day.
I asked John my usual questions, the first was why do you take photos?
Its always an interesting question as to why someone does something especially when the interest ventures into the creative world. There are a number of reasons why I take photographs. There is the intellectual aspect where mastering, and I am no where near that yet, an area is challenging. Not only the technical aspects of the camera/gear but also understanding and seeing light in a different way to normal. It took roughly two years to start to see light much how a camera sees it. To notice the nuances of how light falls on an object or scene. Of course there is much more than just those simple aspects. There is still much to learn, I think I read somewhere that it takes about 10,000 hours to master an activity. Still about 8,000 hours to go. Oh I don’t give much truck to the supposed rules of photography you know the rule of thirds etc.
I also asked how long he had been taking photos for.
I first had a camera when I was a teenager, however like many the financial imperative of life meant little to none over many years whilst raising a family. Finally in 2010 I bought my first serious digital, a Sony but then the bug really bit me and it was a two year journey to get to the equipment I now have.
When you look through John’s blog you never quite know what you will find. I think after reading why he takes photos it makes more sense to me why he does this. He is experimenting and trying different things, which I think we all know is a great way to learn. He is also very generous with his knowledge, and I think part of the reason my milky way shots have got a lot better is because he has been helping me. We have been out to get photos of the stars a few times now.
Inspiration, I know John has others that help him find that.
There is no one thing that inspires me about photography. I look at many works and artists and each genre has its own beauty, many sublimely so. As I look at the many works it is the sheer ability to capture such beauty whether it is in the portrait, landscape of fine art. If I had to bring it down to one thing I guess it would be light and the sublime subtleties that it produces.
Something I like about his work is how you are never quite sure what you will get, an ordinary street shot changed because he noticed the woman looking up. I know that John also likes to wander the city and images of people, and this is a great example. I’ve never done that with him,
I do think we all work in our own unique ways, and so I asked John if there was anything special about the way he worked.
Nothing special about the way I work. Though I do have a series of botanical prints in which I work in a particular way to achieve the high key photographs. Much of the work goes into finding a subject whether it is a leaf of flower that will work in the high key genre, many don’t. Sometimes when I have the right subject it can be all finished in ten minutes, which is pretty quick. I think it goes that quickly because I spend a lot of time visualising what I want from a photograph. For instance there is an Astro photograph that I want to try, I have the vision in my head and the location I just have to get there and do it. Then when there will be about 10 minutes of work. Though in this case I might actually have to spend a bit more time getting it to work as it will be quite a challenge technically.
One thing I think John does well is the coast. He seems to know the area around Sorrento and Blairgowrie really well, and I have discovered new areas because of him. I enjoy seeing how he approaches the ocean and how he records it.
Funny thing about photographers, we always want to know what hear we each have.
I currently use the following equipment, Canon 5D Mark 2, with a number of lenses, two macro, one wide angle 16-35 a beautiful lens for landscapes, a general purpose 24-105, a zoom 100-400 which I don’t use a great deal and a fisheye which I mostly use for Astro work as it grabs so much of the sky. Mind you it also quite good for some landscapes for the same reason. I also have a very cheap 50mm which is astoundingly sharp for $120 and a laser cut pinhole which I use very occasionally.
I hope you will go and see John’s blog, John Holding, and introduce yourselves to him. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank John for giving me permission to feature his work here. I have made a selection of the works that I enjoy seeing, I didn’t pick his astro work, mainly because we have seen a bit of it lately and I wanted to show you other work he does. Please enjoy.