In this week’s ‘Featured!’ interview, we have the pleasure of meeting Josh Friedman who is a photographer with a great eye and a passion for seeing things in a whole new light. His work is the perfect complement to any man’s office, cave, or living room, and his subject matter adds dimension and interest to any space.
Welcome Josh! Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m Josh Friedman. I’m very happily married for 20 years. My wife and I have 2 wonderful sons, and we live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In addition to my photography, I’m a clinical psychologist in private practice. I’m an avid sports fan (baseball, basketball & football). I’ve coached my sons in baseball & basketball many times over the past 9 or 10 years. My wife & I are music lovers – particularly classic rock – and we love to catch a few concerts every year.
Tell us about your amazing photography work…
I would say that my work is diverse. I enjoy photographing nature and wildlife, sports, people, cities, close-ups….you name it! Off hand, I can’t think of any subject that I wouldn’t like to shoot. I find creative inspiration from a variety of photographers and other artists – from Ansel Adams to National Geographic nature and wildlife photographers to Van Gogh and Monet to Norman Rockwell.
What got you interested in photography, and how did you start learning the process?
I’ve loved photography since I’m about 10 or 12 years old. As a teenager I had a darkroom in my parents’ basement where I developed photographs. A very close friend of my parents was a photographer (as a hobby and second job). He took all types of beautiful travel shots and experimented with various developing techniques. This was decades before digital photography and Photoshop.
What are your favorite tools and techniques that get used when creating your work?
I shoot with a Canon 7D digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera and a variety of different lenses.
Having fallen in love with photography during the film and darkroom days, I was initially rather skeptical about digital photography. Now I completely embrace it and I see opportunities for creativity that didn’t exist before the digital era.
During the past few years, I’ve done a lot of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, particularly with my nature and landscape images. This is a technique where I take multiple exposures of a subject with the camera on a tripod. This is especially useful in high contrast situations – where different parts of a subject vary in terms of the amount of light.
I see my role as creating, rather than representing an objective “truth” (as a journalistic photographer might do). With this in mind, I use Photoshop and other editing software. Sometimes I’ll use this for minor editing, such as removing a distracting branch from part of a landscape. In other situations, I take a beautiful sky from one photograph & superimpose it on landscape taken with a more nondescript sky.
Probably the most important ingredient in photography is light. I capitalize on the fact that my middle-aged body tends to wake up rather early, and I take my camera, tripod, and a mug of coffee to capture the beautiful morning light.
Finally, and this is where my psychology and photography interests intersect, I pay particular attention to mood, unique perspectives, alternative vantage points, as well as what to include and what to exclude.
There’s a lot to photography from taking pictures to ending up with a printed image than many people realize. It’s such an amazing process!
When people choose your art – or any art, what does adding it to their homes or offices say? What energy, attitude, or atmosphere does art add to any space?
I like to think of myself as both a positive person and one who appreciates beauty in a variety of forms – from a graceful, winding, old tree to the majesty of city skyscrapers to the amazing diversity of animal life. I hope these qualities come through in my photography.
To me, handmade and one-of-a-kind work adds an element of authenticity, creativity, genuineness, and beauty. No offense to Target or Walmart, but a salad bowl or letter opener handmade by a woodworker is a completely different animal than a mass-produced plastic item at a giant retailer… it has some soul and beauty, as opposed to merely being functional.
What would you say to encourage other men to explore their creativity, learn a craft, or follow an interest they may have?
For me, having a creative outlet is terrific. In my psychology practice, one thing I hear a lot is people’s frustration at feeling bored. I am never bored, and having a creative outlet is a major reason for that. For me, I find most aspects of photography stimulating: searching for new ways to see familiar objects, going to interesting places, editing images to create a certain feeling or quality, waiting to capture a particular moment or expression, etc.
Great answer! There are countless instances where art is used as a therapeutic way to relieve stress, cultivate mindfulness, practice self awareness, and tap in to more personal power and self-esteem.
Why do you think it’s so important to support handmade, small biz, and artisans?
To me, it’s a win-win situation. By supporting artisans, we get items that are more interesting and beautiful. By purchasing from these craftsmen, we allow them to follow their passion and keep producing wonderful products.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! Any last words you’d like to share with our readers?
My rule of thumb…. when in doubt, quote the Beatles: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Now is the time to take a few moments and see all of Josh’s work online! Use the links below to check his work out on Etsy, on his official website, and on his Facebook page as well!
Join us next week for another look at Handmade Men!