Kim Høltermand’s work has been featured twice on Empty Kingdom. His photography is stunning, reminiscent of a abandoned world of architectural masterpieces. Here’s his interview:
What was it like growing up in a family of artists? Your grandfather worked as an architect, much of your work features architecture, is there a connection there?
Having a father that draws and paints has had a big influence on me – as long as I can remember he always was an inspiration and I actually started drawing myself in my young years ending up working as a graphic designer. There’s definitely a connection even though I never got to meet my grandfather I can feel the creative blood that runs in our veins in our family.
How did you end up working a day job as a fingerprints expert for The Danish National Police? Do you have any good stories? Often times new perspectives and ideas can be generated from different and unique experiences, how has your work for the Police provided you with a new eye into photography?
My ex-father in law worked in the Police and it was through him I heard that they needed 2 new fingerprints experts. Having worked with graphic design that was my way in – and I have now been working there for 5 years. I have a lot of good stories but can’t tell any of them 😉 I think that my work in the fingerprint department have provided me with a new eye on details, patterns, lines etc. Things that sometimes shines through my work.
For your series ‘Deserted City’ many of the photos seem to be taken with a heavy fog. They come across as haunting, ghostly, what city did you take the photos in? What inspired the series, the name, the theme and the tone? What problems did you encounter shooting in the fog? What mistakes did you make that you will not make again?
The series was shot entirely in Copenhagen an early morning before the city woke up. I had this concept of a deserted city – empty of people. With empty streets just as if some kind of future apocalypse had happened and the viewer was the last person left. I often like this feeling of being isolated and alone. It has been a big inspiration in a lot of my work. Working in fog can be pretty intense – the moist and the wet weather really is though to work in.
You have to keep you equipment clean and when it comes to editing there can be a lot of noise in the pictures.
Your work, though much of it features manmade buildings, is almost entirely devoid of life. What is the reasoning for your avoidance of including people in your photographs? Taken together, your work could almost be a retrospective on some abandoned, alien world, how would you respond to the assertion that your work calls attention to how unnatural human buildings are? Are they devoid of human life because they are themselves such lifeless structures?
As I mentioned before loneliness is a theme that I love to work with in my photography. I obviously am very good at capturing that mood of being isolated. It is exactly what I have in mind. An alien world without people. However I see the buildings I photograph as individuals themselves – people get in and out of them in the daytime and at the end of the day they stand there all by themselves – alone.
It is a place where people can go swimming. No the weather was way too cold that day.
With your photography of manmade structures you seem to accentuate the angles, the strict lines and corners. That emphasis is not nearly as present in your series on nature, admittedly it is said that right angles do not exist in nature. Does the form and consistency of human architecture strike you as a force in opposition to nature? Or should it be considered without regard for the natural world, as an idea of it’s own?
I just crave lines, curves, details, patterns and stuff like that. Things that capture my eye gets in to my work. I don’t think of it as different things or ideas. I just shoot what I feel inside.
How did your approach, the framing, the conceptualization and emotion behind the photographs for Reflections differ from that of Grundtvigs Church? How was your emotional response different at each location?
The inspiration for Reflections was that of sounds waves. The trees reflecting in the lake made them look like sound waves. I had this huge feeling of being alone at that lake. However I felt very small and humble standing inside Grundtvigs Church – that place makes even the biggest man feel small.
Right now a lot of things are happening in my life on the more personal level that has kickstarted my view on things. Having made my documentary “Outliers, Iceland. Vol.I” really was a peak performance and I am thinking of new concepts, series and other secret stuff to bring to my fans in the future. I’m pretty sure that you will see my work in a lot of new places in the future.