#1 Please introduce yourself
Hi, I’m Jason Henthorne. I currently reside in Florida, USA
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
Originally my true interest in photography developed when I started traveling internationally in 1998. Sharing my travels to all these unique places was the initial drive. Quickly the travel became highly oriented towards scuba diving as my biggest passion in life is being on and around the ocean. This soon led to a deep passion to capture the world underwater. I still consider underwater photography one of the most challenging genres to capture. Coming full circle in some aspects, but the water is still what drives my passion.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
Until about 10 years ago, I considered myself 100% left brain. Thankfully some neurons finally decided to fire on the other half. I have some wonderfully talented artists in my family. The camera has become, and will probably always be, my singular outlet to be artistic.
I feel very fortunate to be self-taught. I have some wonderful friends that are classically trained photographers . I sometimes envy their spectrum of knowledge of photographers past and present. In return I think they envy the fact that photography just came to me naturally.
Elevating my art to its current state has been a work in progress for many years. I try and constantly remind myself that it’s a dynamic and ever changing journey. I.e. Always room to learn from others. I truly believe the moment you think you have reached the pinnacle and there is nothing left to learn, it’s a downward spiral from there.
#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your art?
I am most inspired by contemporary artists and frankly, I consider lots of my colleagues to be very inspiring. Josef Hoflehner comes to mind very quickly along with Michael Kenna. As I started out shooting color many years ago, it was some of Hoflehner’s work that inspired me to embrace black and white.
I remember seeing his images (in crazy out of the way places) and his perspective and capture being exactly the same as a color shot I had taken. First I was amazed that given all the places on earth to take a shot, we had stood in the same place many times but, more importantly, it was then that I realized how much more impactful the monochrome shot was to me.
In addition, I always enjoy the work of Michael Levin, Hakan Strand and Denis Oliver
#5 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph?
A LOT! For the most part I typically shoot with the intent of a series in mind. It’s usually destination focused versus some specific object to shoot. I like to think of my art as the intersection of ocean and earth. With my primary focus being waterscapes, preparation for me is not only about light and timing, but also tidal flow and season. How drastic is the angle of sun and how what phase is the moon in etc. Trying to get all of these factors in alignment is like herding cats. And then, there is the weather. It seems that many of the places that inspire me most tend to have very rough seas.
That all being said, months of research happen before I ever step foot on the plane. Google Earth has become an integral part of my research process. Yes, I still have to see the view in person before I know if I am going to shoot at a location or not. Now I spend less time driving around searching and hoping and more time capturing.
Typically I shoot for an hour so in both the morning and evening, splitting time on both sides of dawn and dusk. The remainder of the day I am typically scouting future shots for the next day. Exact location, setup and angle.
#6 What fascinates you in objects that you shoot?
My goal, typically, is to take a very ordinary object and by bending time make the area that surrounds it into the extraordinary thing. I am always trying to sort out the scene and deconstruct it if you will. Boil it down to the simplest elements and then from there start the capture. With rare exceptions, my intent is minimalism.
#7 We can see your photographs only in black and white, why have you chosen to present them in this form?
For me black and white is the ultimate expression. In my opinion , it demands a much higher level of composition to hold the frame and the viewer’s interest. I think you can get away with much weaker compositions in color and make up for it with saturated colors and contrast. Black and white demands precision and balance.
All that said, the primary reason I choose monochrome is that I think it better captures the essence of my intentions – minimalism.
Having shot color in my early years for the majority of my underwater shots, it took me many years to develop what I call “seeing in black and white.” The knowledge of knowing how rich a certain scene will develop in black and white.
In addition, I truly enjoy PURE black and white. Nothing against sepia and selenium, but for me those ARE color.
#8 Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?
My creative process definitely starts at the point of origin, before the capture. Although I shoot 100% digital these days, the most important aspect of the entire process hasn’t changed at all – composition. I prefer to shoot in the pre-dawn or post-dusk light, which is a fairly limiting window. The quality of light then is what I enjoy working with most.
As for technical elements, I carry a wide range of ND filters as well as a polarizer. There are many variables, but my target exposure is from 2 – 6 minutes. I like to do as much as humanly possible in camera. I find that after six minutes the amount of noise generated is sometimes detrimental to the quality of the finished product.
To everyone that asks, I have always stated that: what the eye can see and the camera can capture are two very different things. There are so many things the eye can see that the camera cannot. For me the long exposure shot allows the creation of something unique that the human eye is unable to visualize.
When it comes to printing, I learned a long time ago… I am a photographer… not a printer. My printing is all done by a maestro that knows more about black and white then I can ever learn. I value our relationship as it allows me to concentrate on the creativity and capture side. Over the years , we have synchronized everything. I send a file and it prints out exactly like I intended it to look.
I think my collectors all agree that my images are best when they are printed very large. I/they like them 40×60 and 60×90 (inches)
#9 What do you do in your life besides photography?
The journey started with travel. Along the way I got really inspired to scuba dive the world. With that, my love for the ocean…being on it, in it around it…just grew stronger. My world evolves around water and has for the last 20 years. Outside of my photography, diving all over the world is a tremendous passion. For me the most Zen thing in my world is when I am underwater somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It’s all interconnected as it’s that same Zen that I strive for with my images.
I love to travel and that, along with the diving, is where my career got its first start. I spend several months a year on location shooting. Often I am in the middle of nowhere, but I always enjoy a new culture, its people and, of course, the food. Those three elements can make or break a location for me, as far as enjoyment.
#10 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
This year (2014) will see the release of 3 series: Coastal Florida, New Zealand as well as French Polynesia. I have a few more series in the “can” to follow that.
I am working on a city series, which is a small departure from my waterscapes. But the basic idea is to capture a very dynamic image that captures the essence of some of the cities that are the jumping off points to my adventures.
Jason Henthorne portfolio: