Fine Art Photographer, John Holtman - Anacortes Magazine - Art, Music, and Community

Fine Art Photographer, John Holtman

John HoltmanAn Interview with Fine Art Photographer John Holtman

What equipment to do you use? What camera?
For a camera, I use a Sony A7r. It is the perfect camera for me. The electronic viewfinder is great for focusing my old manual lenses. And it’s particularly well suited for night photography. I use vintage Leica, Nikon and Olympus lenses. My favorite would have to be a 1949 Leica Summarex I found in Portland. There is just something special about that lens.

Technical Advice?
I will pass along some great advice from Dick Garvey: Use a single lens for an extended period. Get to know it inside and out. I have often gone on vacation packing only a single 50mm lens. Far from feeling constrained, I find it completely liberating. No messing around in the camera bag looking for the right lens. Just living and seeing in the moment. Not mention how much lighter the kit will be.

Creative Advice?
I spend a fair amount of time looking at other people’s photos. I have a bookshelf full of photography and other art books that I will go to when I need a little inspiration.

Post Processing – Favorite techniques?
I do quite a bit of image stitching for panoramas. I start by using three or more images using a shift lens to eliminate distortion. This makes the stitching very simple while retaining the original resolution of each image.

Post Processing – Software used?
I use Lightroom for organizing and the basic stuff and Nik software for more serious editing. Between these two, I can accomplish everything I need.
Technical challenges?

I have invested more time and energy into printing than any other technical challenge. I spent a couple years experimenting with my own process of printing on watercolor paper and then adding several layers of gloss varnish. I really like the look of it and I like having more of a physical input into the final product. The downside is it takes about five days to make a finished print.

Creative Challenges?
You could ask me this question on any given day and I would probably give a different answer. I suppose I’m looking to convey meaning in what I do. But what is it I mean to say? I’ll have get back to you on this one…

Artistic signature that conveys your style?
I have always been fascinated by things that are on the edge of visibility. This probably shows up through a lot of images of night, fog and other things obscuring clear vision. I suppose I like the idea of a little mystery in many things, to maybe wonder a little, and make up for yourself the story behind a picture.

Favorite Subject?
It would be difficult to come up with a single subject. But, I do love shooting at night. Add in a little fog and some street lights and that would be just about right.
Favorite Location?

There’s enough places right here in Skagit Valley to keep me busy for years. I also love shooting in cities: Seattle, Portland, Vancouver.

We made a trip to Paris a couple years ago, which is as close to photography heaven as I’ll likely get. Throw in a shot of the yellow jersey in the final stage of Tour de France on the Champs-Elysees, and yeah I guess that was a pretty good spot…

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