Brooklyn based photographer Joseph O. Holmes has lived in the City with his family for over 3 decades. Over that time, Joe has fine tuned his eye for street photography, capturing the beauty in the ordinary with impeccable style.
Since focusing on photography full time in 2005, Joe has been featured in solo and group shows and exhibitions around the world. He has won several photography awards and been a finalist for several more.
Joe was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about his background and his NYC street photography series.
How did you start with photography?
My father had a great eye — he had gone to art school for a couple semesters and did some painting and sculpture and then got serious as an amateur photographer when I was young. So when I was old enough, I started taking over his camera and using his darkroom — that was around 1969 or so. I’ve been shooting ever since.
How do you choose your subject matter?
A variety of ways. Some of my big projects were the results of random brainstorms. The Booth, for example, was simply an idea that came to me as I sat in a movie theater before the film started. I looked back to the little projection window and thought, I’ll bet there are amazing photos in there. Other projects start when I come home from wandering and shooting and find a photo that intrigues me. I shot amnh when I came home with an image of a silhouette against one of the Museum of Natural History dioramas and decided to go back to see if I could make a series of similar photos. Three months later I had my first serious project.
Also, as I wander around New York City, I’m constantly shooting images that fit into various mental categories, typographies, and series, some of which turn into major projects, some of which are smaller and more trivial projects, and some of which will never see the light of day. Workspace came about when I glanced into an electronics repair shop and saw a beautiful, cluttered work desk. After I shot that space, I started seeing interesting workspaces all over the city.
And my most recent series, Streit’s, was suggested to me by my friend Isa. http://isaleshko.com She decided I was the right guy to shoot that odd factory and dropped me an email, and I ran with it.
As you can see, I get my ideas from anywhere and everywhere.
What’s your favorite part of NYC to capture?
There’s no place that appeals to me quite as much as Soho, with its gorgeous cast iron architecture and its narrow, cobblestone streets. Unfortunately, streets like Crosby and Mercer have lost their quirkiness in the last few years, as they’re taken over by expensive boutiques, but Soho still makes a beautiful background for an image.