A photographer without a camera

Jo Holland is not a traditional photographer. Like the surrealist photographic artists of the early 20th century she has developed her own techniques. Jo is a photographer who does not use a camera; her images are one-offs direct positive photographic impressions from actual objects.

Jo refers to these objects as source material: the source of the image. They vary greatly in nature; in the past Jo has worked with placenta, vegetal matter, rocks etc. Her creative process usually requires specific studio preparations as Jo manipulates the source material, preparing it onto glass plates, sometimes painting into it. Once she is satisfied with the result the photographic process itself can start.

Jo takes her source material on glass plates into a darkroom, compose the material within an enlarger, expose it to colour and light, and projects it through a lens for a brief period of time whilst recording onto positive colour photographic paper. This paper is then developed via a chemical process and rinse baths.

The resulting photographs offer a thought provoking and emotive image open to interpretation. Jo discovered that both transmitted and reflected light that pass through and bounce off her source material is recorded onto the photo paper. It is this combination, together with a sharp eye for detail that gives her works such a transcendental beauty.

Jo has showed her work internationally. Lately she has been collaborating with Cristina Sabaiduc; together they produced Cristina’s SS13 print. Jo also contributed to the short film produced for CRISTINA SABAIDUC by Cinematastic.


Jo, do you have a name for the photographic technique you use?
No not really; it is a process I have developed through time, inspired from historical analogue photographic techniques. I discovered this way of creating photographs whilst at University after extensive research into photography and the photographic process, through experimentation and exploration of new ways of working. I am still working on developing my process.

What do you try to achieve when working on your images?
I use a wide variety of objects and transform them, through the application of light, into images of beauty regardless of their nature and origin. When working on my images, I am looking to combine representational, detailed abstraction with an emotive response. I strive to create visually stimulating images that can also stir the viewer.

Where do you find inspiration? What get your creative process started?
Each time it is different; light always plays an important part in my inspiration but also Life in general.
Inspiration comes to me when I least expect it, often through the process of meditation.

What do you feel is you biggest achievement to date?
I think that like many artists my biggest achievement is yet to come…. I am working on it as we speak.


Jo Holland

You collaborated with the CRISTINA SABAIDUC label. Can you explain your role in this collaboration?
I created images both for textile print and for the 3d film.

What motivated you to collaborate with Cristina Sabaiduc?
I find the idea of an artistic collaboration very exciting. It’s great to see how other artists/designers visualise things and work at making them become a reality.

It was a pleasure to observe and be a part of this creative team. This experience is inspiring in itself.


Also Cristina is a shit hot Designer and I have always wanted to print my images onto fabric as well as work with film.

What makes a successful collaboration?
Creativity, Freedom, Communication, Openness, Dedication and Optimism, I was happy these qualities were there when working both with Cristina and Cinematastic

Has this collaboration given you ideas for future work?
For sure! How can it not? Cristina and I are currently working on AW13 textile print and I have a few ideas I am in discussion with a film maker regarding getting my images moving…

What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t give up … keep going no matter what you are presented with, stay focused, keep your eye on the goal and be patient!

More of Jo’s work is visible on her web site at www.joholland.com and she can be contacted at mail@joholland.com

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