We had the good fortune of connecting with Don Holtz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Don, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’m not built for a Monday thru Friday 9-5 job. I’ve done it before, and I’d do it again if I had to, but it sure feels better to do something that I’m passionate about. I find it hard committing my time to work that I don’t enjoy or at least feel is making a difference in the world. I realize there are times when a person just needs to work and earn a paycheck, no matter what the job is. I’ve had plenty of those times, but right now I’m using my art to earn a living and that brings me a lot of fulfillment. If I won the lottery, I’d still be concentrating most of my time on improving the craft of photography and making beautiful photographic prints.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I use a camera to try and extract authenticity from whatever I’m engaging with. Whether it’s people, landscapes, cityscapes, whatever. Everything and everyone has a story, and I want to tell it through imagery. As far as what sets me apart from others, it’s the same thing that sets everyone apart from everyone else: We all bring our own individual life experiences to everything we do, which makes for unique recipes. I guess that’s what sets me apart from others, my own unique perspective of the world. Nothing necessarily special about that other than the fact that no one else has it. What do I want the world to know about my brand? Not much. I’m not much of a brand guy. What do I want the world to know about me and my story? This: I love my wife Tina, I love my son Caleb, I love my dogs Lu and Walter, I love photography and making beautifully crafted prints, I love traveling but can’t wait to get home, I love my tiny peaceful home in the mountains, I’m most at peace when I’m out in the middle of nowhere with my camera and my dog.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Lots of outdoor stuff. Hiking in Malibu Creek State Park and the Santa Monica Mountains, maybe a road trip up the coast to Morro Bay or a day drive along Mulholland, swimming in the ocean at Zuma or Will Rogers. For entertainment, a concert at the Greek Amphitheater or a Dodger game (dare to dream), art at the Topanga Canyon Gallery, and I’m still a sucker for Griffith Park Observatory. For food, Philippe the Original for French dips, the outdoor pop-up taco stand La Chingona tacos in Topanga Canyon, and steaks at Saddle Peak lodge.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Usually when I read a photographer’s answer to this question, I see the familiar names of the photographic icons and legends in the world of photography. And while I was definitely influenced by the masters, the most powerful influences on my photography have come from those photographers who I’ve gotten to know personally and/or worked for. Some of those photographers are: Tom Stoye, a social documentary photographer out of Detroit, has been an endless source of inspiration for me. His photography is a poignant narrative, and he has an incredible ability to deeply engage the viewer without resorting to gimmicks. Tom is unbelievably self motivated and hard working. He’s one of the most authentic photographers I’ve ever known, and I believe his work will eventually receive even more recognition than he recently got by winning the Kresge Arts Fellowship. Eric Perry is another Detroit based photographer who specializes in portraiture, lifestyle, and commercial photography. I deeply admire his character and art. I had the privilege of assisting him for almost 5 years. Eric is one of the most prolific photographers I’ve ever seen. The guy never stops. When he’s not shooting for work, he’s shooting for pleasure, or trying out a new lighting setup, or shooting street portraits in downtown Detroit. He literally never stops producing imagery. His style is aesthetically beautiful and thoughtful. He knows the feeling he wants in a photograph, and that’s exactly what he gets.
Linkedin: Don Holtz
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Don Holtz Photography