Harry Goldstrom

Born in: 1948, USA

Lives in: Sequim, WA, USA

Media: Photography, Film/analog photography, Printmaking

Describe your work in 3 words: Traditional, empathetic, contemplative

See More Work:  harrygoldstrom.com

Colonnade - Silver Gelatin Print 16 x 20 in. (41 x 52cm)

"Photographically I believe there exists a special relationship between the landscape and music, particularly my favorites of Celtic, Classical, and Jazz. I first became aware of this during my college years as geology major when my interest in photography became serious."

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”
- Imogen Cunningham

What themes does your work involve?
My artwork is about photographing the tranquility of nature and the fact that I revel in spending time at these places of grandeur. My photography represents not only how I envisioned a given scene but also my attempt to convey the emotion felt while making the photograph to others. Hopefully, some emotion will be evoked within and pondered by the viewer. Perhaps then the work will have served some purpose other than merely for my own enjoyment.
Describe your creative process.
My creative process begins prior to setting up even one piece of equipment.. When I come upon a scene to photograph, I visualize the finished photograph framed and hanging on a gallery wall.. The emotional excitement starts before I even make the exposure. Often my work is encompassed by larger themes. For example, my geologic background often surfaces in many of my landscape photographs. Those dynamic forces differ sharply from the tranquil display of forests. I rarely consider a photograph complete. Once the negative is developed, that portion is finished. However, the print making is an ongoing process which can last for years. I rarely print a given negative in exactly the same manner more than once. Subtle changes are often made to my photographs years later.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I enjoy the complete traditional film/paper/chemical print making process immensely. The exhilaration of watching a negative come out of the fixer or a print come up in a tray is as exciting to me today as it first was fifty years ago. Producing a photograph allows me to enjoy nature and its tranquility, and revisit those same emotions viewing the print years later as when I first experienced the scene.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
This is a question which certainly can be debated perpetually! I believe one of the most important criteria for good art is that is stands the test of time. The piece must also demonstrate good technique and knowledge of the medium. These three components are inextricably intertwined and absolutely essentially for any piece of art to be considered worthwhile. Good art must also elicit an emotional response from the viewer, resulting in contemplation regarding both the piece at hand and the larger aspects of art in general.
What is the role of the artist today?
I believe that art chose me, rather than vice-versa. Art plays a vital role in our global society. In addition to enhancing individuals’ lives and culture at large with one’s art, the teaching and preserving of art techniques is vital to helping the arts endure. Just as importantly I believe artists have a responsibility to support causes consistent with their beliefs. In addition to my artwork, I support wildlife organizations, animal rights organizations, and donate time to local non-kill animal shelters. Endorsing this obligation by any artist is one in which I believe most fervently.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist