Jo Holland is an artist who creates photographic images without a camera or film.
Jo was introduced to photography by her father, and went on to study its origins and experimental darkroom based photographers, including Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy – delving into research and exploring alternative ways to record light onto light sensitive paper.
Having always had a fascination with light, Jo creates original photographs via analogue processes that she further composes digitally to blend the classic with the contemporary.
Mark Osterman, Photographic Process Historian at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY, writes –
“The transcendental beauty of Jo’s images is due to the combination of both transmissive and reflected light being recorded onto photographic paper”.
Her artworks are informed intuitively by her meditation practice and innate connection to nature which regardless of her carefully selected subject matter, celebrate beauty, elegance and grace.
Jo presents her emotive images for reflection and contemplation, encouraging us to become the observer of our relationship to ourselves, our relationships to our surroundings, to nature and reminding us to re- connect and to simply … BE.
Currently based in London, Jo exhibits Internationally and has been commissioned to create work for Harrods, Bhuti wellness centre, Richmond and a large scale installation in One Fen Court, a new building designed by EPA & owned by Generali.
What was your route to becoming an artist?
Jo: I’ve always been an artist. My parents described me as being born with a pencil in my hand, so to speak. I realize I was lucky to have parents that recognized and encouraged my leaning towards creativity. After school, I studied an Art Foundation and then a BA Hons Degree in Design, specializing in photography. It was whilst I was at University that I discovered the process for creating photographs without a camera or film. I have always been very experimental
Are you currently exploring your art career full time or part time? If full time, what did you leave behind to pursue your art career? If part time, what do you do in your “day job”?
Jo: I am currently a full time artist. I have had jobs along the way although I truly believe being an artist is a full time vocation, you may put your creativity on pause for a while but you can never fully switch it off. I believe all human beings are innately creative, it’s simply a matter of whether you chose to hone in on it or not, allow yourself space to tune into your passions and express yourself. Creativity to me is not just about creating an artwork, it is a multitude of acts, in fact the ultimate act is to become art itself, to live artfully. I have had many supportive employment experiences which have varied from visiting lecturer, creative artistic meditation retreat co-manager – I am a qualified meditation teacher, I’ve worked for a short stint in a cosmetic surgery hospital reception, in hospitality, as a gallery assistant to name but a few. I now channel my energy and vision into my art fully.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits in the art world?
Jo: Good question … My artwork is intuitively driven, often informed from my meditation practice and is a process as is life itself. I draw inspiration from my
What is most challenging about photography for you?
Jo: The greatest challenge for me is to work out how to execute the ideas I may have
I like the challenge myself creatively otherwise you can remain stagnant. I enjoy the figuring things out stage of how to create the work I envisage, for example, working with a placenta … questioning how can I work with this material to achieve the result I see in my minds-eye, so the challenge is how to find a way in which to create photographic images from certain materials. When solutions present themselves, it is then time to put them to the test which often incorporates the element of play. I make test prints and go on from there. Sometimes things work out sometimes it requires more contemplation, more research and more testing.
This is the most challenging yet exhilarating part about photography for me however it is also why I love it!
Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
Jo: I have become more adaptable and in tune over the years and work with a number of camera-less process’s not just the darkroom based practice of creating photographs without a camera or film which has given me more freedom with regards to my environment.
A lot of my ideas come to me whilst meditating which I do daily, and almost anywhere. I have a studio/darkroom in West London for when I am to create work in this way. Otherwise I can work from home or whilst out in nature, on a retreat, or if its post-production stages, so long as I have my laptop, I can create anywhere.
Ideally I find it easier to create when I don’t have time restrictions, especially if I’m in the darkroom, although I have learnt how to switch into focused creative mind in a flash if I need to. But I think that without time restraints it allows things to flow, it allows the creative process to unfold naturally and within its own timeline, having said that sometimes time restraints can also be a positive, forcing you to act and be finely attuned in the moment. Adaptability is key!
Who/what inspires you artistically? What artists do you admire?
Jo: Life inspires me, the human experience, humanity, nature, animals, travel, unspoken communication, light, color, laughter, … all things can potentially inspire however being in the moment, being fully present and observant, this is what is most informative to my practice right here right now … together with my fascination for all things natural, together with meditation, and a desire to share in the celebration of beauty and light.
Artists that I love off the top of my head are Yayoi Kusama, Vermeer, Caravaggio, G
What do you find to be the most challenging part about the work you do right now?
Jo: Reaching new audiences.
Why do you do what you do? What do you love most about it and find so meaningful about the work?
What are you working on currently?
Jo:I have recently launched my Ode to Winter Collection. This is the first chapter of my 2020/2021 Season Collection. Each season during 2020/2021, three different pieces of artwork will be available to purchase. It’s an accessible introduction to my art practice, where people can buy the full Season Collection, every three months you will be able to purchase a piece of my artwork towards the entire collection. Four in total. To represent the four seasons.
Every 10×8 inch artwork will be embossed and signed.
Ode to Winter Collection compromises of a print from each series below
Appreciation Mandala Series
Created from photographs of hydrangea flowers that celebrate gratitude and symbolize unity and togetherness.
Transformations of Love Series
Created from original lumen photographs using discarded rose heads, out of date black and white photo paper and 24 hours of natural light. In celebration of love and its capacity for transformation.
Rebirth Mandala Series
Created from photographs of cherry blossom trees in full bloom under the light of a full moon. Cherry Blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence and with this collection I celebrate the brilliance, fragility and transience of life.
How can people follow your news?
Jo: Sign up to my newsletter on my website and follow me on Instagram and or Facebook.