Jumping for joy: interview with photographer Diane Gollowitzer

In this article, we speak to photographer Diane Gollowitzer, winner of the Special category at the 2024 Winchester Photographic Society exhibition. Since this year aligns with their centenary anniversary, the club invited responses to the word 'celebration' for the Special category to mark the occasion.

Celebration can be defined as an exuberant, expressive outburst of positive energy. That is one conceptualization of the term shared by Diane Gollowitzer. In this article, she speaks to us about her 2024 entries and the centre of her creativity: her love of dogs.

'Joy' Gollowitzer’s category winning entry

Why did you enter the celebration/Special category? 

It is such a fun category and it's open to interpretation. I really like working with challenges where they give you an idea, and you can do with that idea whatever you want. As you can see from the other images that were selected throughout the exhibition, most people interpreted it quite literally when they were opening champagne after a competition or something like that. But I thought the picture I selected for this category gives another twist on the word celebration. 

Joy is a visually warm and heartfelt image. Please could you tell us a bit about the creation of this image? 

So, another picture of mine is also in the exhibition called Deedee at her happy place. It's also a composite where the dog is jumping, and it's also a silhouette. And when I took that picture, I really realised how silhouettes can convey emotions.    

Because she is my dog, she is such a happy dog. She's so full of joy. So, I was like, how can I turn this into a picture? I wanted to take a picture that would make everyone smile. I wanted you to smile if you looked at the picture. Then I got this idea that if she's jumping and my partner is jumping next to her, it would show the connection and show some silliness and anticipation because it's a jump.    

So that was the idea and first we tried to do it on camera which was a disaster because she can jump on cue that's fine, but she cannot jump on cue when someone else is jumping next to her. So, it's effectively a composite. 

I called her to jump, and my partner was at the top of the hill. It was taken at the trundle, if you know where it is. So, he was at the top of the hill, and I said, do a star jump. And he said, what? Why? I answered just do it, star jump! Don't ask questions. And he did it. Then I was like, but no, spread your fingers as well. I want to see all the fingers. I gave him specific instructions and then took the picture. Finally, I combined everything in Photoshop and had the opportunity to play around with the layers.   

People normally ask how I made the dog jump that high, and the answer is, well, she does jump quite high, but in that particular picture, she's where I put her. 

Gollowitzer with her dog Deedee

As the Special category winner, what advice would you give to others looking to take up photography? 

For me, photography is about creating art of dogs. If you put me in a beautiful landscape, I can admire the landscape. But I'm not the person who's going to take a picture that's going to do justice to that landscape. So, in this way, my passion is more towards dogs and art than photography.

So, if someone is like me, I would advise them not to feel pressured to take pictures of everything. Because most of the other members of the society photograph everything, they love photography. They go out and take street photography, landscape, and macro, and enjoy it, and I think it's fantastic, but I'm not that person. I'm not going out and photographing insects, flowers, landscapes, whatever. It's just not me. I will probably give it a go at some point, and if it makes me happy, I will do that. But dogs make me happy. Rolling around in the dirt with dogs makes me happy.

If you do photography, you will find something that matters to you and focus on that, and if you want to expand your field of expertise, that is fine. Just don't feel pressure to do so.

A Scottie in Scotland another brilliant entry by Gollowitzer. 

Find out more about Diane Gollowitzer here.

Come along to the exhibition and view the stunning photographs in the other categories too, such as: Beginner, Set of Three, Free Subject, Hampshire, Human Portrait, Nature, Street, Monochrome, Creative and Scapes.

The 2024 Winchester Photographic Society exhibition runs until the 9 June 2024. Prints are available for purchase. 

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