Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Andy Holman

Posted in 35mm, art, film, photography by Jason Gray on November 8, 2009

Bronica SQ

Andy Holman is a St. Louis-based photographer, whose work has had a big impact on me. I first came across Andy’s art in an internet forum called “Classic Cameras”, of which I was just beginning to learn about. His photography has a very quiet, very introspective quality that instantly fascinated me. What’s more, Mr. Holman only shoots film; this, eschewing the popular trend in photography towards cameras with a digital sensor. This man is a master of what he does, and deserves some local love.

A short interview with Andy, and some more of his photos (all are untitled, BTW), after the jump.

bentbikeHOI- How/when were you introduced to photography?

AHI always loved taking pictures as a kid, but I didn’t really get into it until I finished college, and ended up working for a photography lab. I would say that, a year after I started working there, I bought my first camera. That was about ten years ago.

I also had a friend who took really great photos, and I always found myself wanting to shoot with him. So, I would say it was a combination of that, and working somewhere where I was looking at photography all day long, that really got me interested.

HOI- Why do you choose to continue shooting film?

AH- Well, at first, the main reason was because digital looked so bad… I was seeing weddings, senior portraits, families, just about every type of photography coming through the lab, and I was comparing the film images to the digital images. Plus, back then, before digital [took over], everyone was using medium format, so the difference was huge.

My job at the lab was “Digital Artist”, so I had to fix all the moire patterns, bad color, noise, and whatever else was thrown my way. I saw a lot of crap, and heard about even more. That didn’t help what I thought of digital.

Another reason why I didn’t really like digital is that I lost that job at the lab, due to digital… Now, it was my bosses’ fault a little, because we didn’t transform our lab into a digital lab as fast as others, but we were trying to hold on to what looked the best. We always took pride in giving the best products we could.

It was a great company to work for! So, in some way, as silly as it may seem, I didn’t like digital because I lost 3 weeks paid vacation, 2 weeks sick pay, flexible time shifts, and free processing and printing. It really was a kick-ass job, and digital, in a way, killed it for me.

Other reasons include the more obvious things, like the picture quality, and the cameras themselves are more to my liking, and film smells so good!

I must say that I don’t hate digital cameras as much as I used to, but I will never spend money on one, nor will I ever use one for anything that I’m shooting for myself.


HOI- Do you think that your style of photography is linked to where you live?

AH- I think it is, a little bit. I’m a little on the shy side. For instance, I don’t like pointing my camera at people, and I don’t like being in the way. St. Louis City is great for that because there isn’t anybody here! The streets can be so bare, you might pass one or two people within a city block… I think I’m really comfortable shooting in STL. I had a much harder time shooting in places like Chicago or Roma, so I think, since I’m so comfortable here, it really helps my style come out. When it comes to nature, I feel like I can shoot in my style anywhere, but in [terms of] big cities, I am more comfortable in the less populated ones.


HOI- What do you think is photography’s role in art/life?

AH- Honestly, that’s a pretty deep question for me. I don’t think too hard about things like that… My best reply is that photography plays a role in art just as much as any other medium. In life, it’s getting a little out of hand, with all of the digital camera phones and all that jazz. It doesn’t really bother me anymore, but it’s really crazy… I do like, however, that people are taking pictures more now than ever before! That’s kinda exciting!


And here’s a pic of Andy, taken by Andy:


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2 Responses

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  1. kseverny said, on November 8, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    this is really good stuff

  2. jasongrayfineartist said, on November 8, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I know, he’s a pretty amazing guy!

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