#SFphotohunt Portraits: Troy Holden

This profile is an interview with a San Francisco photographer, inspired by the exhibition The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936–1951 and the #SFphotohunt Instagram contest. This interview is with street photographer Troy Holden.

An image from Troy's Instagram account.

Do you have a favorite place to photograph? Where is it and why? 

The city of San Francisco will always be my favorite place to photograph. I'm most interested in the downtown area because it has the highest concentration of foot traffic and architecturally dense backdrops.

I frequently take walks along Mid-Market Street between 10th and 3rd street, alternating sides of the street depending on the time of day.

What moves you to take a photo, and how do you know when you got a great shot?

I like capturing the lowbrow moments in life. Human outburst or comedy, candid or intentional. Sometimes it's as simple as spotting an interesting face in good light. It's difficult to tell if you got the shot or not while you're in the moment. More often than not, I'll think I snapped a keeper and it turns out to be a dud. Bah!

Do you work analog, digital, or both? What are the advantages of your chosen medium? 

Both, but mostly compact film cameras. My "everyday carry" is the Stylus Epic model by Olympus. It's small, discreet, and performs well in low light (f/2.8). Its size ensures it's in my right hand or back pocket at all times. It's a fixed focal length (35mm) which forces me to move my feet if I want to zoom into a scene.

Also, the iPhone. But I mainly use the that for family snapshots, documenting, or social sharing.

How did you discover photography and what was your first camera? 

I became interested in photography while driving a taxi in early 2003. I started buying disposable cameras in bulk and snapping pics of anything I found interesting from the driver's seat.

My first "real" camera was a Canon Powershot point and shoot. It was one of the first affordable digital cameras that had a good resolution for printing 4x6's or posting images online.

Do you belong to a community of fellow photographers?

Going out and shooting? That's a very personal thing for me. I walk alone in the crowd. I follow a couple dozen photographers online and regularly meetup to talk about photography and have a few beers.

Do you have any stories about a time you took a photo on the street, and something unexpected happened? 

It's always unexpected. Walking the streets everyday yields itself to some wild encounters. People behave strangely when they think no one is watching.

Do you have a favorite subject? 

San Francisco and San Franciscans.

Anything else we should know about you and your journey to becoming a photographer?

The journey really lies in committing the rest of your life to making photographs, of which only a handful will be any good or anyone will remember.


Troy Holden said…
Fantastic exhibition. Thank you for bringing it to San Francisco. Looking forward to checking out more exhibits like this.

Thanks as well for the Q&A!

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