Jason Henthorne is an international award-winning artist who works in the medium of high contrast black and white photography. Influenced primarily by his passion for the oceans of the world, these intersections of ocean and earth provide the backdrop for his minimalistic ethereal visions of cumulative time. For his latest project “Between Worlds” he cooperated with sandsulpture artist Amador and Hahnemühle. We are pleased to present an insight of black/white seascape photography by the American photographer.
When did you discover your passion for photography?
I started shooting in my late teens/early college, but like many, it was simply a hobby. A passion, but just a hobby. After college and in my mid-twenties I began to travel abroad and see the rest of the world…and this is when my passion became much more serious. Rather, my interest in sharing my magical vistas I had seen in some far away land. The more I shared, the more I traveled and the more serious the passion became.
How did you come to the world of your epic exposure black/white photography?
I definitely did not start off shooting black and white. My start was much more in color landscapes and these vibrant underwater captures from my passion of SCUBA diving. In those days I couldn’t really consider what I did art so much. So most of what I do now unfolded out of my desire to provide my viewers with these ethereal scenes that they could get lost in day after day.
As for the black and white, once I started shooting it I really enjoyed it. Some of it was the challenge as, for me, the composition with black and white is everything. You don’t have all this color to hold the view, you have to do it on tonality, luminescence and most of all the composition has to be supreme. So part of it was the challenge and the other half was simply the fact that I enjoyed the timelessness of monochrome. It doesn’t age – or at least not so quickly in my opinion.
Which of your projects/motifs opened the door to the art market?
It’s challenging for me to name, but it was probably a waterscape called Bridge to NoWhere that really started to establish both my style and myself as an artist. The image won quite a few international awards and really started to sell through. To this day this image remains one of my personal favorites.
Who inspires you most?
My guess is you were probably asking this question from a standpoint of which artists, but that is not who inspires me most.
In my case it is my father. It has nothing to do with art, but everything to do with doing a few things extremely well (versus doing many poorly). In years of working with my father when I was young, he definitely instilled this sense of pride and style, this drive to find your passion and do it to the best of your ability. Do it better than anyone else.
This drive is hard-wired in me I guess…and this is where I went with black and white long exposures – push it to the limit.
How would you describe your personal photographic style?
I would describe my personal photographic style as one of balancing between minimalism and abstraction. The intersection of ocean and earth always draws my attention and my focus is to make these ethereal black and white photographic images. Water, clouds and shorelines from around the globe are key elements comprising my large format, limited-edition prints. I strive to create an experience that lures the viewer deeply into my images, over and over, for further contemplation.
What is most challenging about shooting these kinds of images?
The most challenging aspect is the weather. Months and months of planning go into my (sometimes month long) photo shoots to capture a series. Tides, location, time of year and of course golden hour aspects. But, the weather is that variable out there. That uncontrollable variable. Plus, with my work I am usually chasing down inclement weather to start with as that adds the real drama … I needed that weather element. It’s just always a fine balance between bad weather and too much bad where I can’t shoot at all.
What importance do you place on the printed presentation of your artwork?
I place an extreme amount of importance on the printed presentation. This is, after all, what anyone and everyone sees. It doesn’t matter how well I do in capturing the image and production if the print isn’t EXACTLY how I want it and envisioned it.
Which is your favorite Hahnemühle paper and why?
First let me preface my response with the fact that we constantly strive to produce every aspect of the artwork to the highest available standards. The frames, the paper, the glass, the archival mounting. That said, the pairing with Hahnemühle for the final (and arguably the most critical) stage of the process – printing/output – was a no-brainer. What was challenging was selecting “THE” paper from Hahnemühle´s portfolio. The best one for my prints. For me paper selection is a major process. Part of it is going through dozens of top papers for the look that I am trying to achieve – whiteness value, etc. The other part of the process is that this is a marriage for me. When I pick a paper, we are sticking with this for a very long time. Consistency is everything for me and that all goes back to doing the job well and with the very best products available. The final selection for us was the FineArt Baryta 325. Wow, nothing like 325gsm paper to give something proper weight. Most importantly though, this paper gives an amazing tonal range. This was key in the selection as a large majority of my prints have a tremendous tonal range in the mid-tones.
Do you have a dream project you would like to realize sometime?
Honestly, I just completed two dream projects. “Between Worlds” with earth artist (sandsculptures) Amador and “Ocean & Earth – Iceland”.
What projects are coming up?
I do have a lot more on the slate for the not-so-distant future. A couple of projects in Asia; one in Japan and another in Southeast Asia. I have a project lined up for Portugal as well as Spain and Western France. Last but not least, the UK is a treasure trove of targets and possibilities.
In between, there are lots of trips lined up to far and out-of-the-way places. Back to my primary why I do what I do: I love sharing my vision of that intersection of ocean and earth with other like-minded individuals.
Thanks for the interview, Jason Henthorne.
Henthorne’s Portfolio: http://henthorne.com/
Amdors Sandsculpture Art: http://www.andresamadorarts.com/p/hello.html