Posted by admin on May 7th, 2012
Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend! I am thrilled to get back onto my Mentoring Monday posts and I’m excited to start back up with Josh Hulstein. My friend, Theresa, had told me about him and showed me his website and I loved his photos! So, I’m excited to have him take part! Enjoy!
Born: Portland, Oregon
Currently: Fountain Valley, California
Turn Ons: Creativity, Comedy, Coffee, Cuddling, Teeth, Trains, Tacos
Turn Offs: Redundancy, Repetition, Arrogance, Air-heads, Auto-tune
Favorite Food: Pizza or Chinese
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: I hate to be cliché but I’m a pretty big believer of “its not the destination but the journey” or whatever that quote is. I’ve been to some pretty cool places but its all about the people I was with and the adventures of getting there. I’ve had better times shooting photos in the desert sun for 12 hours than I’ve had on vacation. If you surround yourself with awesome people it doesn’t matter where you are.
Favorite Albums: Oh man, way too many. These days I mostly use internet radio and I have a crazy variety of stations on it. What I listen to depends on what I’m doing and who is around. Music can go anywhere from hip hop, hardcore, 80s hair metal, 90s dance, all the way to classical/ ambient/instrumental stuff all in one day. Top five radio stations recently would have to be Stegosaurus Rex, Murs, AFI, Crystal Castles, and La Bouche. Judge me all you want but I ‘m a sucker for good synthesizer.
Favorite Books: I don’t think text books count but I’ve saved a lot of those. I try to keep a copy of magazines that have my photos in them but those aren’t books either. I have a lot of photo, street art, design, and comedy books. I’m a very visual person and I’m embarrassed to say that reading isn’t really my thing but some pretty inspiring books that will also make you laugh are George Carlin’s Brain Droppings and Napalm and Silly Putty.
What Inspires you?: Everything. A rainy day, a sunny day, a tree, a rock, an airplane, a wave, a song, a smile. There is so much out there in this big crazy world that its hard not to be inspired by it all. People’s reactions to what I do is something that inspires me too. A simple smile, laugh or “oh damn” coming from someone looking at my photos is awesome but when I got an email from someone I’ve never met telling me about a photo of mine and how it made them feel, that was pretty crazy inspirational thing to read.
How did you get your start?: Well, my first start in photo was as a sophomore in high school, the graphic design elective class was full so they tossed me into the photo class. It was a bummer at the time but looking back now I’m so grateful for what happened. After taking all the photo classes in high school and being a darkroom tech and teachers assistant I took classes at community college and had some random jobs where it was always, “hey you know photo stuff can you take photos for us” until that got old and I committed to a pretty well known photo school full time. I graduated with a BA in Professional Photography with a specialization in Industrial and Scientific Photography (microscopes, infrared, etc) and started shooting freelance weddings, catalogs, band promos, auto parts, etc, etc until I took a full time job for an action sports licensing company where I learned a lot about how to not run a marketing department, and at this point I’m back to the freedom of freelance, shooting everything from professional hockey to entire clothing catalogs.
Whats your favorite photo you have taken?: Thats a hard one but I can pick a few that a like a lot.
First one is a black and white 4×5 polaroid shot with my Horseman 4×5 studio view camera. For anyone who has seen this thing, its a beautiful beast. Every single thing on it is manual and it shoots film frames bigger than my hand. This particular image is a test shot of 3 of my (hetrosexual male) friends before we started shooting something important. I had to meter the light, adjust for the film and bellows and all that good stuff that comes with a 4×5 camera before I had them get together for me snap a shot and they hugged and one of them kissed the other as a joke, thinking I wouldn’t get that as the photo, but I did. The guys were somewhat embarrassed at first but now its one of the most adorably awesome (is that a word?) things I have caught on camera.
Second would be a pair of photos from a shoot I did with Alan Parsons (yes from The Alan Parsons Project. He was also the Engineer of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Beatles Abbey Road, just to name a couple) at his home studio. The pair of photos shows Alan in his home studio, one in black and white with him sitting, (waiting for me to finish lighting setup) and one in color with him on the phone (I don’t know who he was talking to but he sure did let them know they were interrupting a photo shoot) both photos show his workspace complete with his numerous gold records, a lava lamp, 70s style window curtains, light fixtures, and a desk full of new sound recording technology. I like them because they show an intimate view of a world famous musician (if you don’t think so, ask your parents) and the juxtaposition of his old school style but progression into new technology.
My third favorite photo is a studio shot done with the 4×5 camera on chrome/transparency film. Be careful though, if you’re squeamish you might react like most people do because its decently gross. It’s the “after” of a before and after pair of photos of oral surgery, but don’t worry, the blood isn’t real, only the tooth is, its one of my wisdom teeth, because I couldn’t find a real enough looking fake tooth. I can’t even explain why its one of my favorites, maybe I’m a little morbid, or maybe I just really like the contrast of that red on bright white. Whatever it is, its gross, so gross that I had to stop using it as one of my promo card images because it was bad for business. However, I did give a print to my dentist where the general reaction of the office was “that isn’t even that much blood, we’ve seen way worse” haha!
Who do you want to work with?: Anyone! As long as you’re not completely insane, or even if you are, that might actually be fun. I like working with all kinds of people on all kinds of projects. The variety and change of scenery is something that keeps me doing what I do. The creative field is always changing and peoples ideas, tastes, likes, and dislikes are always changing with it which makes for a challenging but amazing profession to be in. I wouldn’t ask to have a different career. So far I’ve been lucky and gotten to work with a ton of awesome people but I’m always looking for creative individuals, companies, or groups to work with so we can all continue down the path of awesome!
What is the most challenging part of being a photographer?: There are a couple things that I find challenging in my line of work, one being Photoshop. Not using the program, I can do that just fine, but the fact that human clients think that a computer program will compensate for their complete lack of ideas/skill/creativity/knowledge/direction/effort etc etc. I’ve been in too many situations where the solution is “we can fix it in photoshop” instead of taking the time to come up with ideas or make a decision about something. I don’t mind spending hours doing post production on something that could have been handled in a few minutes of creative thinking in pre production, because I can bill for it, but clients aren’t too excited to get that invoice. Second is this whole “everyone is a photographer” trend. Competition isn’t the problem, because there really isn’t any, and I’m always up for a good challenge. The part I have a problem with is the out pour of less than mediocre images coming from every middle school kid or soccer mom with a camera, and even worse, is the fact that people are viewing those images as acceptable/quality work. I hold myself to a higher standard and with that comes higher quality, higher caring, but also a higher price tag. Sure you could get someone off craigslist to shoot your wedding, catalog, portraits, products, or what have you for $50, but then you’re going to have the quality of a $50 photographer shooting your wedding, catalog, etc…
Any advice for anyone who is just starting out in a career path similar to yours?: Don’t. There are enough photographers out here already. But I guess if your heart is saying that you just absolutely have to pick up a camera, shoot film. I know its expensive these days but if you really want to be a photographer, do it. If you have before, or are now, keep doing it, it’ll keep you sharp and creative. If you never have, get a cheap/used camera, put it on completely manual and shoot film. Experiment with it, see what happens, don’t be afraid to make mistakes , but learn from them. Take notes, shoot everything. If you can get exactly what you want on film, that’s a step in the right direction. Never stop learning, experimenting, and being creative. If it turns out that you really want to do this, you better plan on being the best, or at least better than me. Good Luck!
Thanks Josh, for taking the time to take part in Mentoring Monday and for your great responses! To find more on Josh you can find him here: