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Artist Interview - Fine Art Photographer Jack Ludlam
By Cassandra Vagher

Artist Interview - Fine Art Photographer Jack Ludlam

Unconventional. Audacious. Curious. Journalistic yet creative. All words that describe the distinct photography created by Denver resident, Jack Ludlam. His black and white photographs sport bright white, sterile backgrounds juxtaposed with messy subjects, such as old worn leather boots and hardworking hands. The content of each image is exceptionally detailed, with rugged textures and high contrast that adds a bold stylized punch. The composition and delivery are clean, yet the rich character of the content indulge your eyes. His work delicately balances minimalism and intricacy. More often than not, viewers examine his photographs and confuse them with drawings due to the high level of detail and execution.

Like his art, Jack Ludlam is also eccentric and bold. Ludlam appears to be a hipster 28-year-old, generally dressed in simple black jeans and plain t-shirts, covered in mysterious tattoos, yet well-groomed. Ludlam currently resides in Denver, Colorado, surrounding himself with creative environments like the RiNo art district, but spent most of his life growing up in Ohio. 

Ludlam has been making waves in the Denver fine art photography scene and beyond. If you visit RiNO you'll find his work regularly displayed at the Source Marketplace, local breweries, and Dairy Block. Ludlam's photographs are also being displayed across the US, most recently at the Brooklyn Expo Center. We sat down with the budding artist in late October to learn about his journey as a fine art photographer. 

Fine Art Photographer Jack Ludlam

Please describe your photography style:

I try to keep things clean and minimal as best I can to encourage less distraction from the subject matter. Some people say that some of the images look like hyper-realistic pencil drawings (but I definitely cannot draw to save my life).


Do you have an artist statement? 

It changes every time. I have trouble refining it to something I can explain daily. But, I would say that my work focuses on tangible work processes. The work that is extremely necessary, however, is quickly dwindling with the increase of automation and mass production. The goal is to take simple and refined images of people and objects that connect with that workflow.


What do you want your photos to communicate to your clients? Can you sum it up in one sentence? 

I am very open-minded when it comes to how people interpret the work. I make photographs for my own reasons, but if people see the work as something else, that does not bother me at all.


Describe your journey from amateur to pro:

I majored in photography with an emphasis in darkroom processes. However, the vast majority of the work I did was simply trial and error. Since the university I went to no longer offered analog photography classes, it was just up to me to figure things out.

It has been a lot of trial and error (and it still is). After college, I was working multiple jobs, including working on photos. I was bartending and working retail to afford supplies for photo projects, and it took years to get to the point where I no longer needed a side hustle to be able to create new work. I could finally focus on photos. And even though that somewhat turned photography into a real "job" I do not regret it in the slightest.


You've worked with both film and digital, which do you prefer and why? Do you still use both?

I prefer film. However, I end up mostly shooting medium format digital these days. When I get the time to settle down and start conceptualizing a new body of work, I almost always intend for it to be shot on medium or large format film. There is just something about the workflow of analog photography that makes much more sense to me than digital.


What challenges have you overcome throughout your career?

The biggest challenge is not getting too comfortable. I feel like the more comfortable I get, the less hungry I can get, the less prolific I get, the less inspired I get. I'm trying to keep myself comfortably uncomfortable these days.


What are your career goals?

To keep creating new work. And be able to live comfortably off of what I enjoy doing. There are several photographers that I would love to collaborate with on a gallery show such as Corey Arnold, Andy Anderson, and a few others.


What inspires you to create art? 

People I look up to inspire me. Whether they are photographers, painters, carpenters, trashme, whatever you do.  If you work hard and with good intentions, that is very inspiring to me.  


What do you think makes a good picture?

That's a tough one. I think a good photograph needs to have a strong backbone. It doesn't matter to me if a photograph is "technically" good at all. If it was made with intent and purpose and serves that purpose, then I think that's a good photograph.


Do you have a favorite image you've created? If so, which, and why?

Such a cheesy answer, but it's honestly the ones that are still in my head that I haven't made happen yet.


Who are photographers or filmmakers that inspire you?

Corey Arnold, Andy Anderson, Richard Avedon, Rupert Walker, and Michael Crouser.


What's in your photography arsenal? What gear do you currently use? 

Cambo 4X5
Fuji GFX 50s with a 63mm prime and a 32-64mm
Hasselblad 500CM


What's your best bit of advice for aspiring photographers? 

Don't take yourself too seriously. Nobody is that cool.


Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Go support your local art scene. Even if you just go to the opening nights for free beer and wine.


Any upcoming shows?

I'll be in a group show at the Dairy Block with Scott Young.


Contact Information


Instagram - @jackludlam

Fine Art Photographer Jack Ludlam

Fine Art Photographer Jack Ludlam
Fine Art Photographer Jack Ludlam

Fine Art Photographer Jack Ludlam

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