Featured Art Director, Photographer, Set Designer

Studio Holger Kilumets

May 2019

We spoke to Holger Kilumets—Art Director, Photographer and Set Designer at Studio Holger Kilumets. Holger tells of his obsession with geometry and colours; talks us through the importance of enjoying the process, and how developing a more analytical understanding of your process helps you in the long-run, plus he gives us his top three must-read books!

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I’m a studio still life photographer obsessed with geometry and colours. My practice is divided between working on personal fine art projects and taking on commissions from clients. I love pure simple forms and bold colours.

How did you develop your style and what tips would you have for others?

In university, I discovered that working in the studio environment really appeals to me. There was something about the control over every aspect of making an image and being able to ‘filter out’ all that was distracting. The act of reduction is at the center of my visual process and I get a lot of satisfaction from minimizing stuff to its essential forms.

I find it really important that you also enjoy the process, not just the end-product. In stressful situations, this can help you immensely getting over obstacles and pushing forwards.

When colours and compositions ‘click’ for me, it has always been a gut feeling, but the more I do it the more I also understand why something works on a more rational level. Developing a more analytical understanding of your working process helps you in the long-term as you gain more confidence and face fewer uncertainties.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied Photography & Video Art at the University of Bedfordshire, UK. My first jobs after the uni were freelance gigs assisting different designers and photographers around London. It was quite hectic and not really what I had imagined in the university, but looking back at it, it was really beneficial as it allowed me to see into the daily life of different working professionals and helped me to understand better where I would fit in. Not being stuck with one job also means you get to build a large network of contacts and that led me to so many exciting opportunities.

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Take on opportunities that scare you. That is where you’re going to grow and learn the most.

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Are you involved in any mentoring/teaching/workshops and if so how it shapes your practice?

I teach still life studio photography at Estonian Academy of Arts. I love discussing both technical and creative aspects of it and this process helps me to understand better what and why I do for myself as well. Also, seeing somebody develop as an artist is just incredibly rewarding.

What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Take on opportunities that scare you. That is where you’re going to grow and learn the most.

What are your three must-read design books and why?

1. “Chroma” by Derek Jarman - Not strictly a design book, but this is possibly the most beautiful praise to colour ever written.

2. “In Praise of Shadows” by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki - For me, Japan is a source of endless inspiration and fascination and the unique sense of aesthetics found there is brought a little closer by the essays in this book.

3. “Interaction of Colour” by Josef Albers - Albers believed that students who cultivated “visual empathy” would also develop social empathy. What an incredible idea, more relevant in the divisive times that we live in than ever. This book is a great introduction to his core concepts.

Website: holgerkilumets.com

Instagram: @holgerkilumets

Twitter: @holgerkilumets

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