10 minutes with Jordan Hollender

Interviews with Photographers February 28, 2011 8:53 am
What’s your average morning like?:

When I’m not off to a shoot, my average morning consists of waking at 7:30am and heading straight for a cup of coffee. After both eyes begin to open I daydream on the couch next to my wife and let last nights dreams define themselves while staring out the window.   It’s this time of the day which I feel most creative and open to new ideas. I then begin with email in my home office, or workout (a morning run or basketball with my brother).

Jordan Hollender

Jordan Hollender

Jordan Hollender


Do you remember the moment that you knew you wanted to be a photographer?:

The moment I realized I wanted to be a photographer actually lasted about a year. In high school, I took a photography course and my Grandpa built me a darkroom. That year when I was in the darkroom was my first experience of time moving at an accelerated pace.  Hours would fly buy in the red light.  I realized I loved the physical act of shooting and creating so much more than sitting at a desk.
 

Jordan Hollender

Jordan Hollender

I remember when I first met you, you were taking improv classes and said that it was helping your interactions with your subjects, which I thought was funny since you already seemed so at ease with everyone around you and bring so much positive energy to your shoots. How do you keep up the good energy during a shoot with a shy or, ahem, difficult subject?

Its always different and like improv, there is never one solution, technique, or answer.  I think the most important thing is letting go of my own ego and being 100% present. I am 100% focused on the subject and will do whatever is necessary to make him or her comfortable. The moment they are in front of my camera, it’s a constant give and take.  I have to adapt my energy to my subject’s energy.  Staying positive is usually contagious.  When dealing with a shy or difficult subject, I try to loosen them up and slowly bring them around, using kindness and humor – basically whatever is necessary to get THE shot. The only rule in improv is you never say “no”, but rather respond to an idea with the words  “yes and….” Otherwise an idea cannot grow.  This guideline is similar to a shoot and to life in general.

Jordan Hollender

Jordan Hollender


I’m a huge fan of your adult portraits but I am really loving your photos of kids. How did that start and what’s it like working with the kiddos?

I’ve always loved playing with kids so photographing them is just part of that process. It feels very natural and honest.  Working with kids is very therapeutic for me as well.  It helps me see when I push too hard and when to pull back.  It helps me let go of technique I get used to using at times on other shoots and also reminds me to be open to spontaneous ways of direction.  The purity and unpredictable manner of a child helps me slow down and listen if I’m moving to quick or to speed up if moving too slow.  Most importantly though, working with kids  gives me an excuse to act like a child which I always take advantage of whenever given the chance.

Jordan Hollender

Jordan Hollender

How can an editor be the most helpful when assigning you a shoot?

After our back and fourth emails have gone over the obvious, having a real telephone dialogue is often the best way of sharing ideas and coming up with new ones.  Communicating their vision can sometimes get lost in translation through emails.  Visual references from inspiring imagery can be helpful as well.  I try to fully understand the editor’s vision and understand the subject matter as much as possible, so I can create images that best suit the project.  It’s always nice to have a thorough call sheet as well.

Jordan Hollender

Jordan Hollender

Any goals for the upcoming year?

I want to wear a cape and rule the world but short of that, hmmmm.
I would like to get involved in projects that move me emotionally.  The first half of my career was very focused on the craft of lighting, graphics, and technique.   Now I am inspired to work on projects that inspire me.  I am currently planning  to shoot personal images at a home for the elderly.    I have actually been photographing animals lately which is crazy, but fun.  Another big inspiration for me in the past year has been video – it’s been so much fun. Commercially, I plan on working with more advertising agencies and companies to help build brand.  My main goal is balance.  Balancing work and play and the commercial world with personal vision as well as morphing the two whenever possible.  Often this melding is done through the editorial circuit.  Magazines have also always  been a great way to bring self expression to the masses for me.  I love shooting and I am looking forward to spending this year working on exciting projects, both personally and professionally.  I’d also like to work with you some more Kate because you’re awesome!!

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