"Documenting Nature is something I feel is very important for future generations. I am a very firm believer in in-camera artistry and not misrepresenting Nature," says Australian wildlife photographer Joshua Holko. He has been fascinated with nature ever since he can remember and you can truly feel that just by looking at his breathtaking photographs. Joshua just got back from his ten-day expedition to Svalbard in the Arctic and we are absolutely blown away with the photos he took there! If you ever wondered what's a day like in the life of a wildlife photographer prepare to be amazed. In this interview, Joshua reveals what attracted him to landscape and wildlife photography and talks about his next big journey.
Hey, Joshua! I understand you were on a two-week ship based expedition! Can you tell us a little bit more about it and what made the biggest influence on you on this journey?
Yes, I just finished up a ten-day expedition to Svalbard in the Arctic to photograph Polar Bears on the melting sea ice. With climate change totally out of control now the bears have to move further and further north to find suitable sea ice to live and hunt. This year was the hardest ever to find polar bears that I can recall. We had a total of eleven bears over a ten day period that included one on a recent seal kill and another on a whale carcass.
Despite the melting ice and the apparent climate change, the photographic opportunities during the expedition were fantastic. We also had some great encounters with Arctic Fox cubs, Walrus, and seals. It is one of the most beautiful things about the Arctic is the diversity of wildlife that can be found in the area.
You are a full-time professional landscape, nature and wildlife photographer. What was it like for you just starting out as a photographer? When was the moment you realized you wanted to embark on this photographic journey?
I started photographing when I was just a boy - somewhere around 10 or 12 years of age, but it was not until many years later that I turned full time professional. I had always wanted to photograph for a living, and as a boy, my primary interest lay in underwater photography and working as a marine biologist. Working as a marine biologist didn't pan out for me, but I did continue to pursue my interest in photography and eventually found my genre in Nature - or more specifically in Polar Nature.
What attracted you specifically to landscape and wildlife photography?
I have always been interested in Nature for as long as I can remember. The first time I watched a documentary on glaciers I was hooked on the idea of photographing them and the wildlife that lived around them.
You've been to many breathtaking places all over the planet. What is the most valuable thing you learned on these travels?
I guess it depends on your approach and perspective, but for me preparation is key. If I want to maximize my chances to create great work in an exotic location, I need to do as much preparation as possible to ensure I have all the right information to get the best possible photographs. So I do a lot of research about locations and wildlife before I ever get on a plane to try and photograph them.
What is your dearest photographic memory?
For me, it's always photographing Polar Bears on the sea ice in winter when I am immersed in their environment. The feeling of being in their world and experiencing life as they live it is something I hold very precious. This past winter I was fortunate to find and photograph a courting male and female bear on blue ice on the east coast of Svalbard in a superb light. This was something that will stay with me forever.
Your resume is quite impressive! Where do you see yourself a couple of years from now?
It’s a tough question to answer. I hope that I will still be doing what I love, and that is photographing in the world’s Polar regions. Both the Arctic and Antarctic are my true loves for photographic destinations, so spending as much time there as possible is always a goal.
Who or what do you turn to when in need of inspiration?
I am a firm believer in looking at the work of other photographers who inspire you on a regular basis. I find it not only inspirational for my job but also to see who is doing what and how high the bar is being set. I love to look at photographic books (and own a great many) as well as looking at prints. I also collect prints from other photographers, and these are a continued source of inspiration for me.
You were also named the Victorian Epson Professional Documentary Photographer of the Year! Can you reveal what motivates you to be successful and do this job?
Documenting Nature is something I feel is very important for future generations. I am a very firm believer in in-camera artistry and not misrepresenting Nature.
What is the next big journey you've set your mind to?
In a few weeks, I will be heading back up to the Arctic for back to back expeditions to the remote east coast of Greenland. After that, I will have two weeks back in the studio in Australia before I head down to Antarctica for the rest of the year.