Today’s postcard comes from Dr. John Horstman, a native of Queensland, Australia. After graduating from the University of Queensland with a degree in Veterinary Science he practiced veterinary medicine in the Barossa Valley of South Australia, in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. He moved on to retail management in the pet industry and then to Sydney to work in the retail and wholesale medical book and equipment industry. In his late forties, he up and moved to Beijing, along with two dogs, teaching English initially and then later working as a Medical Editor. He also brought along a camera.
Calligraphy, below, was taken at the Panjiayuan (Dirt) Markets in Beijing in one of the many souvenir stalls there. It is a simple shot really, I’ve seen similar ones before but I find this beautifully composed with wonderful splashes of color and the different shapes, textures and designs of the handles all come together in making it beautifully unique. Of course calligraphy brushes couldn’t be more China.
Now that you’ve seen this weeks postcard I can tell you that it is a rare photograph for John. I chose it because. again, I feel it really “says” China and is visually stimulating. It’s different because John Horstman the photographer typically takes beautiful macros of insects and flora. “I’ve always been interested in biology, zoology and the natural world with an emphasis on all things small, most notably insects. This took the form of collecting and later progressed to photography. With more time on my hands away from the rat-race of Western society, I ‘ve sharpened my eye and exercised my patience to further my interest. There was a time when I would take a multitude of pictures and keep them all but these days I take fewer and delete more all the while getting closer and closer to my subjects.”
John uses a circa 2005 Sony DSC-R1, which he readily admits is a dinosaur of a camera by today’s standards, but he feels he’s got the camera dialed in and can achieve what he wants. John is happiest when sitting in a garden bed, crouching in a swamp, climbing a mountain, exploring a park, visiting markets and queueing with tourists while looking for that elusive shot that nobody else sees.
Last year John moved to Southwestern China, specifically Pu’er, Yunnan, in large part to pursue his passion for insect photography. That part of Yunnan is reknowned as a flora and fauna mecca – China’s Amazon. According to John, “Everything (insect-wise) is bigger, brighter, more abundant and more bizarre than anyplace else, as you will hopefully see.”
To see John’s beautiful macro work and the rest of his China portfolio, check his Flickr page here. I may feature one of his insect macros as well somewhere down the road.
I hope you are enjoying this series. It’s breathed new life into my passion for the blog and even into my photography on some level.
Calligraphy was taken with a Sony DSC-R1 at 71.5mm with an aperture of f/4.8 at 160 ISO and a shutter speed of 1/200.
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