Inside this issue
Jodie Hulden is a California-based photographer whose contemplative photography focuses on intimate natural landscapes and still life vignettes. She has a degree in art from San Diego State University where she worked primarily in textiles and fiber arts. She discovered her passion for black and white photography in the 1970s with film and darkroom work. She transitioned from film to digital photography in 2001. After retiring from a teaching career, she now devotes her time to fine art photography. She has won numerous awards over the years and has exhibited her prints nationally.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Contrary to what some may think, I don’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge of all that has gone before in On Landscape, and it was only after I came across Jodie’s work on Rfotofolio that I rediscovered Thomas Peck’s critique of Rocks and Old Oak in Issue 131 while researching the interview.
Many of Jodie’s images feature trees, for which she developed an early love. The format of the photographs often draws on their subject – panoramas of windswept landscapes, vertical portraits of the trees themselves, or triptychs to echo the form of multi-stems. While many of her images are monochromatic, she also works in a soft colour, choosing this where it amplifies the mood.
Can you tell us a little about where you grew up and now live, and the extent to which place has shaped you and your interests? Time spent outdoors had a formative influence on you from an early age, and you developed an early affinity for trees?
I grew up in San Diego, California, and still live there. People associate San Diego with beaches, surfing and warm weather. However, the county of San Diego is very large and is home to several different environments: ocean and coast, chaparral, oak and pastureland, mountains and pine forests, and lastly the desert.
My family loved this backcountry. We spent a lot of time there as well as in the mountains near Los Angeles and in Yosemite National Park. I have fond memories of camping, hiking and days spent in rustic cabins. So even though I grew up near the beach communities, my love has always been for the mountains. For some reason the sycamores, oaks and pines of the backcountry have been special to me from a very young age; I remember crying when we had to leave them and go back home.
What did you end up studying, and what did that lead you to do as a career?
My studies ran a winding course. I started studying Chinese and Asian Philosophy but ended up with a degree in Art. When I was in college the photography department was not a part of the art department, but rather it was embedded in the Industrial Arts department. I didn’t pursue it because I couldn’t imagine myself in Industrial Arts. So I ended up in the Art department, majoring in Textiles and Fiber Arts.
My other love was Art History which has had a huge influence on my artistic vision today. My art degree, however, eventually lead me to teaching art and working with students with disabilities, which became my career for almost 30 years.