Thursday, November 4, 2010

Interview with a photographer: Lou Lohman

I can’t recall the first time I visited Lou’s blog.
I can recall being amazed that he was pursuing many hobbies.
Art. Writing. Photography.
His story is unique.
lou 31Lou, you have been married as long as I have been alive. 34 years. Tell me what it was like to get married in 1976.
lou 30
      June 25, 1976 was a warm and sunny day - like any other warm and sunny day.  I had been divorced from my first wife for about a year and a half.  During that time, I had dated, literally, a dozen different women.  In fact, at the time I met Annie, I was going out with four different women at the same time.  Once I saw Annie, I quit all those other relationships.  I never went out with any other woman again.  At the time, Annie was 16 (17 when we married) and I was 31.  Yeah.  I know.  Cradle robber. lou 4
We got married in a lovely ceremony in a lovely church in Oak Park, Illinois, presided over by a Priest and a Minister friend of ours from a Congregational Church.  I'll never forget the sun streaming down on us through the stained glass windows of the church.  It was amazing.  Then and now. lou 5
Do you have a secret for staying married (happily) for so many years?
Secret?  No, no secrets.  But maybe this ... when Annie and I walk somewhere together, or drive in the car, or just sit and watch TV together, we hold hands.  Every phone conversation ends with a clearly spoken "I love you".  I say that to her as often as I can.  And we never go to sleep angry.
Tell me about your children. lou 17
Louie, our eldest, is a computer maven.  He's flighty and irresponsible, handsome, and smart as a whip.  He is fiercely devoted to his brothers.  Alexander, our second son, is married to Lynn, who I call Bitsy.  Because she is vertically challenged.  Alex is our tallest son at 6'1", and Bitsy is 5'2".  Alex is our "Earth Child".  He is the mechanically inclined, jalapeno eating boy who is allergic to melon.  He is grounded and sane and also, smart as a whip.  He can fix anything.  Zachary, our youngest, is in college - halfway through his sophomore year.  He was majoring in Japanese, but has re-thought that and is going over to Computer Science.  He has Asperger's Syndrome and so has some 'social issues' to deal with - but he is smarter than both of his brothers put together, so although it will take some time, eventually, he'll be fine on his own.  I hope.
And your Momma?
lou 13
We call my Mom "Grannie".  When I was a kid, everybody in the neighborhood called her "Ma".  Our house was the house where all the little kids would hang out.  It was noisy and boisterous and drove my grandparents nuts - but that's the way it was.  She was my best friend, growing up.  There wasn't anything more valuable to me, as a little boy, than her days off of work.  I always knew when they were - and some of my sharpest memories of childhood are of days spent waiting for Mom's next 'day off'. lou 22
She is old and a little infirm, now.  She lives with us.  She recently had surgery and she is recovering nicely - but she gets cranky and demanding, so we know she's getting better.  She loves to knit and crochet.  All the girls in the family (and there are TONS of them on that side of the family - Mom's side) have more than one scarf or afghan or tablecloth or SOMETHING made just for them by Grannie.  I even have blogger friends who have hats knitted for them by Grannie - she knew I was meeting up with them on a cold day - so she made hats.  That's just who she is.
Tell me about your passion for art. lou 18
I have always wanted to draw and, in fact, there was a whole series of doodles I used to do that I now understand were the impulse to draw trying to express itself.  But it wasn't until the Fall of 2007 that I finally took a class in sketching and drawing that I finally found my way into Art.  Immediately after that class I went straight into a class in 'Oils' and recently, I found my way into a workshop on 'Watercolor' that I just loved. lou 19
I took that first class, however, not out of a desire to 'draw', but out of a need to learn about Composition, because I have always felt that my Photography could and should be better than it is.  I thought that if I earned about Composition from an Artist's point of view, it would help me be a better Photographer.
Do you still sketch something every day? lou 6
Yes - or at least I try to.  I have recently started carrying a "Messenger Bag" with a sketch pad and some pencils - so that I have my 'tools' with me when the urge strikes or the time presents itself. lou 11
Do your kids think your art is cool?
Alex, our second son, has a very good eye and could be an artist if he had the inclination - which, sadly, he does not.  My kids seem to like my work - even my first painting (which is HORRIBLE) has escaped the ridicule it really rather deserves.  I think they understand how very personal Art is, and how very hurtful even 'fun' criticism could be if they decided to be critical.  Mercifully, they aren't. lou 14
Have you always been creative?
For as long as I can remember.  I always wanted to write - I used to publish a little neighborhood newspaper on my Dad's old Underwood typewriter - 3 copies at a time.  1 original and 2 carbons. lou 23
When you were in school did your teachers know how to challenge your artistic side? lou 1
Everybody thought that I would end up in Hollywood.  I was always cast as the lead in the class plays in Grade School.  In High School, the two nearby girls' High Schools regularly cast me in leading roles in THEIR plays.  My High School English teacher told me that in order to pass English I had to compete in the school's Elocution Contest.  So early in my life, it was the Performing Arts that called to me - but I'm beginning to see that it all comes from the same place - inside - the urge to do Art of some form or other. lou 16
Do any of your children have an interest in art or photography?
My daughter by my first marriage is an amazing artist.  She is an Artist of the first order. 

My sons, from my current marriage, don't seem to be interested in pursuing Art or Photography, though I have seen the edges of talent, from time to time.  It is, after all, difficult to completely disguise yourself from your Father. lou 15
What helps you become the best photographer you can be?
Being able to 'see' the shot before I take it.  To visualize it before the camera ever goes to my eye.  And shooting Digital.  For me, anyway, there has always been a 'disconnect' between taking the picture and getting the film back from the lab.  I have learned more about Photography and 'taking pictures' in the time I've had my Canon 30D than I ever did in 40 years of working with film.  The immediate feedback is the thing, for me. 
Did having an intense knowledge of computers help you when you were learning photoshop? lou 25
No, not really.  I may have understood the interface better than most who start using Photoshop, but once I got into it, I was just as lost as everybody else.  I own scads of books and DVDs and CDs that are supposed to help me - but my best training has been hands on with a professional photographer friend of mine who teaches me more in 15 minutes than I could EVER learn from a book. lou 7
What is your biggest challenge with your photography?
My biggest challenge with Photography is doing as much as I should.  I should be practicing, practicing, practicing.  I should be taking shots every day.  I should be shooting everything I see.  After all, it doesn't cost anything to shoot digital - I don't have to go buy film every 36 shots. lou 10
But I have so little time - and so many things I am in the middle of - a book - a radio play - my blog - 2 painting projects.  A long list of excuses, really.  But really, I just don't shoot enough. lou 24
Did you start a photography business?
Many years ago, not long after Annie and I were married, I had a small photo business called "Picture This".  I had a complete portable studio that I would schlep around from place to place taking portraits by appointment.  It kept food on the table.  But it didn't last. lou 12
Do you have a business plan or motto? What are your hopes for your photography in the future? lou 28
I have had an idea for a Photo business in my head for some time, but it has little to do with MY photography and more to do with other people's.  As for my work, I would hope that those people who have my prints on their walls value them - and that they think of me when they look at them.  I don't think I'm ever going to become an Ansel Adams or Bresson or anybody like that, but I have done and hope I can continue to do some work that some people like well enough to put on the walls of their homes.
Of all the people you have photographed, who has been your favorite? lou 21
My brother-in-law, "The Farmer".  He lives in Minnesota and has farmed all his life.  There is such strength and character in his face.
Or maybe it's the kids on the Pop Warner football team I've been shooting this year.  Or maybe ... I don't know - there are hundreds.
If you could shoot anyone in the world (with a camera of course) who would you want to shoot? lou 26
I would like to go to Haiti and shoot pictures of the people there - and the conditions they are living in - and the kids.  To show people how bad the kids there have it. lou 29
Have you read any good books lately you want to share with us? lou 20
Two, actually.  "Heyday", by Kurt Anderson.  And "A Spot Of Bother" by Mark Haddon.
Kurt Anderson is known for his public radio program, "Studio 360".  And Mark Haddon wrote "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime", the book which has helped me, so much, to understand my son, who has Asperger's Syndrome.
Is there a special photographer’s work that you admire?
Ouch.  There are SO many.   lou 27
Jientje, from Heaven is in Belgium. 

Any parting advice you wish to share?
lou 2Find your 'Art' - the thing that makes you happy - and then do it.  Do it well.  Do it better than you've ever done anything.  Have a passion.  And then be PASSIONATE about it. lou 8
Human beings are happiest when they are being productive and creative.
Produce.  Create.  Be Happy. lou 3
"And they give you cash - which is just as good as money." 
Yogi Berra

Lou’s Art Blog

Go and visit. Be inspired.


Mighty M said...

Joe Cool indeed. Great interview! :)

Terri said...

Great interview Becky! What a talented man!

Colleen said...

Wonderful wonderful wonderful! I love this really speaks to me. I love the encouragement to be creative and I love the paintings. I long to paint...but I don't even know where to begin.:)
This guy is so interesting! Loved the interview.:)

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, this is a wonderful interview!!!
Going to check out his page now.

LceeL said...

You must have really looked through my blog to find all these shots.

Thank you, Becky. This is insanely flattering.

Maddy said...

I love when we get to hear a "male" perspective :) I felt the same way about art! I loved it - all of it- but never considered myself an artist until I started playng around with the camera. The instant feedback you get from the digital camera is a great learning tool! Great interview!! Thursdays are becoming my favorite day ;o)

lifebythecreek said...

What a wonderful artist. And Becky, I'm talking about you. Lou is amazing, and I'm so glad you've introduced me to him. I will check out his blog and his work, and I love that he took a composition course to be a better photographer and then discovered even more talent as an artist. But what struck me with this interview was more about YOUR process of interviewing. Your questions are well-thought out in getting to the heart of who the person really is. And your presentation is wonderful. The change in font size and color, the way you weave in the photos and artwork; masterful. It would make a wonderful book.
Lou, my dad was 32 and my mom 17 when they married in the early 1950's. And they stayed married, for 45 years. He passed away in 1995 and I miss him very much. He instilled his love of photography in me, and while it was latent, it did surface later in life. Your boys are learning from you, and I have a feeling that as they get older, they'll find some amazing ways in which to express their art. You are a wonderful dad (and son....!)

keli @ kidnapped by suburbia said...

great interview, Becky!!! it was fun getting to know Lou :)

Anonymous said...

thankyou lou for this interview. I love the pictures of your travels.

My Photographic Eye by Irela said...

Great interview Becky. Love his insight and I always love hearing and learning from others. Greatly inspired to continue my passion and to be passionate about he says! Thank you for sharing. :)

TechnoBabe said...

You find so many diverse artist/ photographers to interview. Hope you are doing well.

April said...

Really enjoyed getting to know Lou...such a talent!

Brian Miller said...

nice. great pics...but hearing their story was the highlight...

Tracy P. said...

He is so interesting and insightful! Insightful people take photos that are deep--and I'm not talking depth of field. I love his photo of "The Bean"! I realize I didn't step back far enough from it on that side to see what he saw--now I want to go back!!

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

Fun to see a male perspective! He seems like such a sweet soul.

Great job, once again, B. Hope you're having a fabulous Thursday!

Jabacue said...

Nice interview Becky! I will check out Lou's blog.

Darlene said...

Great interview. He's very talented and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Raymonde said...

Thanks Becky for this great interview. It is such a pleasure to discover a talented photographer.

Love the tone of the interview.

Have a great day. xxx

Laura said...

A very cool dude! How wonderful to be living the life you love, pursuing your passion as he so eloquently says.

And your boy? Gorgeous!

ThisMamaRAZZI said...

Lou - I can't figure out what I like more - your writing style, your wise words, or your photography. I found your biggest challenge in photography interesting. Food for thought - I don't think you have to shoot all of the time to be good. Just make when you do shoot count - try something new each time to build your skills. Great interview - very honest and friendly!

Hi Becky!!!! Miss ya lady!

Hilary said...

Some fine photos here.. I particularly like the light in the last one.

Betsy AKA world's best sister :)-we've got a lot of the world's best in our family! said...

I loved this interview with Lou! What a great character...he would be so fun to hang out with. He has such an interesting story. His happiness is evident in all the expressions of his work/hobbies. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED meeting him through you!

Mandy Oppel said...

This gentleman was a hoot! His zest for living life with great vigor is contagious. Those football shots took me back in time. What a great interview! Thanks Rebeckah, Thanks Lou:).

Julia Spencer said...

Lovely photography.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Loved his final thoughts. I believe that with all my heart. Human beings need to create to be happy...whatever it is. Great interview Becky. I love how you find the most interesting people:)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you are just struck by simple pictures and words of wisdom. Your interview with Lou did that to me today. He inspired me to zone in on my creativity. I'm going to go crazy tomorrow and paint up a storm!

Brooke said...

excellent interview as always becky! :) i love that he and his wife still hold hands.

the SF shots are excellent, the bridge being my favorite.

Sarah said...

What a great interview! And such wonderful photos!! I always look forward to your interviews, Becky, and Lou seems like such a wonderful person -- going over to visit his blogs right now :)

Foursons said...

What I love about this interview is the passion Lou has for life. Yes, he has a passion for art, but he brings that into a life he is just in love with. It shines through this interview so loud and clear. I am inspired by that passion and strive to find it in my own life.

That being said, I love Lou's photography and paintings too. They depict his views on life perfectly.

Sandy Leatherman said...

His first picture is breathtaking!! So wonderful, but my favorite was the picture of him-he looks like such a wonderful human. Lou, thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us. I am so happy to have gotten a glimpse into your world.

Sandy (Becky's mom)

Freckles & Dimples Photography said...

great interview, and interesting and fun to read through. I love his boat painting, but my fav is the golden gate bridge shot...

betcal said...

How great is Lou? I think he is onto something with his hand-holding. All the love that has he has put into his marriage, his children, his work-it has translated into great joy in life. It was such a blessing to read and see a brief page in the story of his life. I love to learn from the people that you interview each week. Lou really brought to light something that we all know, but often forget. He is so right in saying that we need to be passionate in all the areas of our lives. I can see that he truly lives that out day to day. My hope is that he has many, many more years of joyous fulfillment in following his heart. Reading this interview made my day! Thank you for sharing with us.

Debbie said...

Wonderful interview. You always find the most intriguing and talented folks to introduce us to.
I wish he could go to Haiti. I think that country and those poor people deserve lasting help and his images might be the best way to do that.

Cecily R said...

LOVE what he said about seeing a picture before you take it. That, I admit, is one of my hangups. I need to work on it.

Great interview as always!

Buckeroomama said...

Oh, I loved looking through his photos (LOVE the winter one and the foggy one that followed!)... You did it again, Becky --another fab interview! Lou seems like such an interesting person and so real (I know he is real!)... you make him seem like he's right there talking to me. said...

I always enjoy your interviews and learn something new! These photos are wonderful. I'll be stopping by his blog.

betcal said...

I had to come back and ask a question or two of Lou. Do you have oodles and oodles of old negatives in storage? What has your transition from film to digital been like? Did you resist it or race into the changing world of technology? You sound adventurous, but digital technology could scare even the free spirited (at least I thought it was scary for a while)! Do you miss that excitement of picking up newly developed film and hoping for some great surprise shots?

P.S.I want to see a picture of your sweet wife. I'm going to head over to your blog and look for her. She must be pretty terrific!

Erin W said...

What a wonderful interview!! Such amazing and inspiring photography!! Awesome job Lou!!!

Brooke said...

What a great interview! I especially love his "love" story and passion for art.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I never really thought to take a drawing class to improve my composition. That is a fantastic idea! I have too many hobbies right now and it is the wrong season for them. But one day, I will take the drawing and painting classes. So long as no one will criticize too harshly... you are SO right about art being personal!

bluecottonmemory said...

Fantastic interview! Awesome pictures! I guess I need photoshop!!!! I loved his description of his children, too! You did a great job putting it all together:)

Stephanie Hinkel said...

Lou, did your parents encourage you to live life so fully? I can't imagine what a gift that would be to have been able to explore so many different avenues of art throughout your life to date. The story about your typing a neighborhood newspaper, that just strikes me of an incredible imagination and a super personality. It doesn't sound like you limit yourself to any one hobby and it makes me think of the old saying "jack of all trades, but master of none". (And I don't think it is "bad" not to have mastered any one thing because that means you are always working to get better). I hope that the tenacity you have for living, the love you have for your family continues to manifest in great works of art in all forms. You have really inspired me to care less about outcome and more about the process. To take pleasure in doing rather than just focusing on the end result. Thanks for this fun and interesting and thought provoking interview Rebeckah. Lou, you were a great subject, keep living large!

Housewife on Fire said...

LOVED this!
Great shots and a fascinating life/perspective!

Danelle said...

There are so many great shots here! I am now inspired to take pictures of my faucets, among other things. :) I hope you get to take those pictures in Haiti, Lou!

Sonya said...

WOWie those are some beautiful photos!! Hey Lou..come on over to The Netherlands and teach me some photography tips and I can show you some great areas to photograph :) I lvoe the art pieces..WOW! fantastic interview :)

jillconyers said...

Amazing photos and a great interview. I love the inspiration of all the different perspectives and compositions.

septembermom said...

The photos are terrific!! I love meeting Lou through his words, memories and art. I think that his dedication, passion and creative drive are inspirational. I'm very happy to have had the chance to read this wonderful interview. Thank you! I think holding hands does help a marriage go a long way :)

LceeL said...

@betcal Do you have oodles and oodles of old negatives in storage? Yes, I do - some of which i have scanned to digital. What has your transition from film to digital been like? Once I had my Digital in my hands, I just couldn't go back to film. Did you resist it or race into the changing world of technology? I do computers for a living - Technology is my life. You sound adventurous, but digital technology could scare even the free spirited (at least I thought it was scary for a while)! Do you miss that excitement of picking up newly developed film and hoping for some great surprise shots? I think I was more disappointed that surprised when I went to pick up film. It's the disconnect between what I did and what I got back that always bothered me.

P.S.I want to see a picture of your sweet wife. I'm going to head over to your blog and look for her. She must be pretty terrific! She's out there. Somewhere. She doesn't like to have her picture taken, so it's hard to find her.

RR Mama said...

Wonderful interview! Such amazing pictures! Man with a true talent!!

LceeL said...

@betcal (again). On my site there's now a search box in the right hand sidebar, near the top. Type fam damly into hte box and it will pop and answer in above the current post. Click on hte link and it will take you to a picture post of she, me and all those he's.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Thanks for the interview and the shots of his art.

Lolli said...

I always love your interviews with photographers. I learn so much and love the different views and perspectives and ideas they share!

jennykate77 said...

He is so interesting. Thank you so much for always bringing us these fabulous artists and wonderful interviews!! I think my favorite thing he said was at the end..."Find your 'Art' - the thing that makes you happy - and then do it. Do it well. Do it better than you've ever done anything. Have a passion. And then be PASSIONATE about it." That's great. He has some wonderful artistic photographs.

Hope you're having a super great day!!♥

betcal said...

@LceeL. I'm hopping over now. I can't wait to see a picture of your whole family. Hope you are enjoying the weekend Lou.

betcal said...

Thanks for the peak at your great family! I loved that you were holding hands (though it didn't surprise me:). What a wonderful habit! Thanks again for opening yourself up to the blog world! And a final note, all boys is my ideal family, but alas, baby 3 was a girl for us (and now we think that 2 boys and a girl is ideal for us:).

God's Favorite Shoes! said...

Lou had me at "holding hands!"

The Animator's Wife said...

I feel like having coffee with you! Love your writing, love your marriage advise, your parting words and your wit!

AND I am going to read the Mark Haddon recommendation. I read "Curious Incident" and saw so much of my own son with autism, in those pages. thanks for that!

blessings to you!

Dot O said...

What a wonderful interview, Becky! So much talent wrapped up in one person.

Thanks for sharing the interview and the photos - I loved the one of The Bean - I am assuming it's the Bean in Chicago and if so I stood right underneath it!

Michelle said...

Fascinating interview!!! The Bridege in San Fran is gorgeous. Thank you for your very kind comments on my photography ! coming from you that's a huge compliement.!!!

Mrs4444 said...

Lou is awesome, and his advice about finding and following your passion is excellent. As the mother of an almost-sixteen-year-old daughter, I will try desperately to forget about the cradle0robbing thing...