Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Featured Photographer - Jim Rohan

Meet Jim.  He takes some wickedly amazing Holga shots that I constantly admire! Thanks to Jim for taking the time to answer some questions and show some of his Holga work.  You can learn more about him by following his links posted at the end of the interview.

How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?

I bought a 120S sometime in the early 90's. I had just printed a bunch of big color prints for a client of mine who had done some beautiful floral images with a Holga and I figured I would pick one up and shoot with it.  But I never got around to using it and it sat in a closet for close to twenty years. About 18 months ago, I picked up my old Holga 120S on a whim one day when I was taking my dog for a walk in the woods and I haven't put it down since. At least one Holga goes with me everywhere now.

What is it about the Holga that draws you to it? Why do you shoot with it?

The Holga is kind of the photographic antithesis of what I do for a living.  I do a lot of painstaking, exacting digital photographic retouching and post production these days. It's possible for me to spend an entire day sitting in front of a computer working on perhaps one or two images, compositing different shots and exposures and retouching like mad and in the end you end up with this super sterile, super-digitized form of photography. And the Holga is just the complete opposite of all that stuff. And because pretty much all of what I shoot is outdoors, it gets me away from the computer. It's a pretty therapeutic experience for me. And, of course, I have fun doing it

You take a lot of unique nature shots - What do you prefer to shoot? Is there a theme in your Holga images?

I don't really think of myself as a "nature" photographer although I love being outdoors and hiking in the woods. Many of my images come from those hikes, however, so I guess it would be pretty easy to make that connection. I like to photograph simple objects that I feel may be visually interesting because of the way they are lit, or because there is something that just feels different about them to me. Maybe it's just the way a tree happens to be leaning or the way the light is just selectively lighting a few branches. I think Keith Carter refers
to this as an "askew moment". I guess that's what I am looking for. That moment for me when it's not just a photo of a tree anymore. And the Holga really adds it's own particular element of "askew-ness" to what I shoot. If "askew-ness" is not a word, it ought to be.

What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?

I have a few Holga 120N and 120S cameras that I rotate until they break and then I add new ones. If I am particularly fond of a lens from a broken Holga I usually just put it on a new body. I also have a few Diana camera clones which I use on a semi-regular basis as well. I also keep an Eximus 35mm (Vivitar Wide and Slim clone) in my pocket much of the time. And, of course, I have a bunch of real cameras as well; a Mamiya 7II, a Bessa R3A and a Hasselblad Xpan. The short answer is that I own far too many cameras.

Favourite photo films?

If I had to use just one film, it would be Kodak Tri-X 400 (developed in Rodinal).  I have also been shooting a lot of Aritsa EDU 400, which is Fomapan, because it's  inexpensive but quite good.


Your favourite Holga photo that you've taken?

That would be a shot I call "Branches" from the first roll of film that I shot after I began using the Holga on a regular basis. Didn't have a clue what I was doing. Despite the fact it was an overcast day, I had a red filter on the camera so everything was pretty much underexposed. But I salvaged that shot and I still like it. It still looks pretty ominous to me.

What inspires you?

Right now, just the act of shooting itself is enough inspiration for me. Despite the fact that I have been involved in the photography industry for the past 30 years or so, up until about  year and half ago, I never really took very many photos. I was so consumed with the business aspect of photography, that I never had any desire to do it for my own pleasure. I guess it's like that old saying about the cobbler's children having no shoes. I was so busy doing it for a living every day, that I didn't do it for myself. Now I feel like I am making up for lost time and shooting a lot.

Jim's Links:

Blog: www.pushprocessed.blogspot.com
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/jimrohan
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PushProcessed



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