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Gordon Holden – People Holding Things

The American photographer and web artist who shoots whatever you have in your hand

Gordon Holden is an artist based in Newport, Rhode Island with a wide range of consumerism-reflecting digital collages and contemporary culture inspired art pieces. None of which are, in his words, real, but none are fake either. On his website, the modern era art platform, which contains peculiar items for sale in his web shop, such as moon rocket beach ball or a hundred dollar note, you can also find a large number of analogue photographs thematically arranged into sets.

Holden gives Dazed Digital an exclusive deeper look inside his set ‘People Holding Things’, which he started after noticing, quite simply, many people holding things on his photographs. His honest snapshots not only remind us of countless more or less personal things we lay our hands on every day.

Dazed Digital: How and when did you start taking photos?
Gordon Holden: I started taking photos about 2 years ago, when my grandfather Dominic Saglio gave me his Leica m3 from 1957. Before that I was more into the idea of design and fashion and the Internet and making a product that I viewed at the time as practical and cool, something people could use and wanted at the same time. The initial reason for making the t-shirts that are sold in my shop. That’s not to say I’m not still am into the idea of design and the Internet, I am. I just don’t do them all at once.

DD: Do you consider your photography as a form of the art you make, or do they fall into separate categories for you?
Gordon Holden: At first, No. I saw it only as a form of media, but it can be a vehicle to other outlets. If art is an object or a thing, than everything is art. So maybe if you take a photo, it’s capturing the image of art. If you put that photo on a shirt, it’s a product. If you put that shirt on a billboard it’s an advertisement. If someone buys that shirt it’s a business. You are selling more than just a product. Is all of that art? I think that has something to do with intent, but intention involves such a small portion of our consciousness.

DD: Tell us a bit more behind the concept of ‘People holding things’. How did it all start?
Gordon Holden: It was just something I noticed after going through all of my photos, I noticed a lot of people holding things.  It’s so general and vague, but there is much more to it below the surface, and so many reasons people hold onto things.

DD: Do you focus on working on particular photo sets or do they result from photos you have already taken?
Gordon Holden: I think I do both. A lot of photos are taken when I am not looking for anything in particular, but like I said earlier, in afterthought they somehow make sense together. Once it enters my mind, it is something that I am aware of from that point on.

DD: It seems to me that you perceive your website as an art platform. How important is this perception for you when it comes to your audience?
Gordon Holden: Yes I do. But that also wasn’t until after I started it. I think I wanted it to be more interactive with the viewer’s thoughts. The more you look at something, the more you see it differently. I don’t know if it’s important to me if my audience understands something, to be honest I don’t know who my audience is. I’m only trying to entertain myself.

DD: How can an art/photo website be a stand-out in today’s world of thousands of art/photography blogs, tumblrs, streams and websites?
Gordon Holden: I’m not really sure, probably something along the lines of wanting to stand out. I could be wrong.