In his studio in Los Angeles, Peter Holzhauer discusses his upbringing in rural Maine, early influences, such as Ralph Steiner and Walker Evans, and his art practice. Holzhauer’s solo show, First Stone For A Film, premiered earlier this year at Gallery Luisotti. His work was also in the gallery’s most recent group show, Southland. To view more of Peter Holzhauer work, please see here, and also check out his artist website here
Peter Holzhauer, Orange Street, 2011
PH: I grew up in rural costal Maine –spent a lot of time playing in the woods. My first encounter with photography was through my father, who, for a while was a reporter for small town newspaper in Maine. So I was aware, at a very young age, the difference between professional photography and the personal family snapshot.
Peter Holzhauer, Monhegan Light Ray, 1999-2018
PH: Before art school, I spent three or four years doing odd jobs; construction, working on fishing boats, but I was always doing photography sort of as a hobby. One summer, I was living on this island called Monhegan in Maine, my sister had gotten me a job as a cook, and I decided to stay through the winter and work on a lobster boat. There was this photographer, Ralph Steiner –who I later found out taught Walker Evans how to use a view camera– who donated his entire photography book collection to the local library. In particular, I remember there was a Walker Evans MoMa publication, I think it came out in 71′ or 72′. I wasn’t aware that there could be so much intelligence in photography, up until that point.
Walker Evans, Workers Loading “Damaged” Sign into Truck, NYC, 1928-30
PH: There’s a lot of other artists making really visible work, sort of dismantling the cornerstones of positions of power in photography, or making photographs that look like paintings, or look like conceptual art. But for me, there is still something photography can do, just taking a picture, and not thinking to much or too carefully about what you’re looking at or why.
Peter Holzhauer, Venice Blvd, 2018
Peter Holzhauer, Laptop Dust, 2016
PH: When I do have an idea, and go out and try to illustrate it, its normally not successful, and feels a little stilted. Most of the best things happen despite of my intentions.
PH: I don’t know if I can name what I’m reporting on, but I feel like its my job to do that. Nobody else is going to do it if I don’t. Of course that sounds pretentious and special, but I think its sort of true. But again, I think its true with every person taking a picture, with any camera, anywhere.
Peter Holzhauer, Garbarge Truck through Hotel Window, 2019