Edward Olive was a commercial litigation lawyer in London & Paris until throwing in the towel to pursue his more artistic interests working as a professional screen actor, based since 2002 in Madrid, Spain.
Edward got into photography by chance only in 2005 when he purchased his first camera (an entry level digital reflex Canon 350d) to shoot his own actor’s book on a tripod with remote control. Finding he enjoyed the experience he started shooting actor & musician friends & the people living and working in his neighborhood Chueca (central Madrid’s equivalent of Soho or Le Marais).
Again by chance in summer 2006, when shooting street portraits, the owner of the local antique postcard shop offered him his first professional job, shooting his daughter’s wedding. Having no idea how to shoot a wedding and having only one camera (ca Canon 5d digital reflex) one lens (an 85mm f1.2 L ultra fast portrait lens) and no flashgun he shot the wedding all on available light relying on instinct alone, reacting to the events and the people as he found them at a discreet distance, posing nobody and faking nothing.
Exchanging html design classes for his English classes with a local computer programmer he built his first website to put up the pictures on the internet. The home made website of his photos was an instant success and from then on he suddenly found he was a “wedding photographer” travelling across Europe to shoot his web visitors’ weddings.
Dissatisfied with the focused perfection of modern digital images and seeking an alternative look for his pictures he started adapting analog lenses (he extracted from broken old cameras with a large metal hammer we understand) onto his digital reflex using masking tape and built DIY lighting from microphone stands, disco lights and Kelvin correction gelatin discarded by technicians on his acting jobs.
In autumn 2006 he bought his first film camera, a 1980’s Russian point-and-shoot (a cult Lomo LCA) using some very expired color film they were throwing out of the local photography store. Delighted with the dreamlike qualities and vintage colors, he hasn’t looked back. He continues to shoot almost exclusively analog cameras, still preferring the oldest expired film he can find, shunning the contemporary digital post-produced Photoshop look of current commercial & fashion photography, in favor of the grittier, earthier, unpredictability of expired film whether color negative, slides, black & white or Polaroid type instant film.
Edward freely admits that it wasn’t until he bought his first Hasselblad in 2007 (the classic V series 500c/m with Carl Zeiss t* lenses) that he really found his instrument of choice. He still uses other cameras for reasons of variety, speed, ultra fast lenses or the discretion and convenience of a 35mm compact camera but takes a pair of V series 6x6 cameras & wheelie bag loaded with 120 & 220 film backs, as he says, when he really means business. Slideshow of his Hasselblad work: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edwardolive/sets/72157600189073777/show/
Outside weddings Edward’s pictures range from street photography to nudes, often combining his location wedding travel to shoot personal projects inspired by the new places & people, admitting he still takes more photos for himself just for fun than he does to try and sell later to clients, taking some consolation from the new ideas that come from expression, reinvention & experimentation, free from any commercial pressures, that can later be applied at work to put food on the table.
Edward’s wedding photography style is still, as it was on his first assignment, instinctive, unprepared and natural, preferring to keep an open mind, only reacting to the events as they unfold, at times keeping discreet and shooting off long lenses and at times getting into the thick of the parties as just another guest… and in the wildest Latino weddings can even be seen shooting his pictures dancing merengue with female guest in one hand and camera in the other.
Edward’s reportages are typically focused on the capture of emotion: the groom hugging his best friend from Australia; the little girl crying under the table; the best man whose lip trembles during his speech; the father of the bride with eyes closed on the dance floor at 4am with drink in the air to favorite tune… but often also involve trademark candid sensual and even erotic images of his brides & female wedding guests. He describes his work as often treading in certain shots on the limits of what catholic mothers in law can be persuaded to remain calm over without swinging their lead lined handbags at the foreign photographer.
Edward aims to project in his work the contrasts and contradictions that exist withn himself and within people in general. He wears Italian silk suits to work but takes some shots that step out of line. He uses perhaps the world’s best cameras and lenses yet feeds at times them with the worst Chinese made “black and white” film that has in reality neither black nor white dreamy red blurred images. A combination of the perfect public image and internal private thoughts that combine to make up the people we are, conforming and breaking society’s norms. His aim is to one day attain the vocal control of Pavarotti yet to turn it on hits head Sex Pistols style refusing to sing correct notes.
Edward’s admits that his studies of Stanislavski and work as professional actor have helped him in his wedding photography concentrating on the capture of real emotions, the desire to obtain a cinematographic look & an obsession to eliminate any hint of over acting in his portraiture work. However he is the first to say that both his acting and photography is really and more fundamentally a form of self expression to convey emotions through the use of the third person, emotions that in his own personal life he finds more difficult to release. In his photography the capture of the emotions of others and in his acting work the “theatrical mask” that is the portrayal of a character.
Ironically Edward has said from his earliest years he never wanted to get married himself, even admitting that just seeing the grooms standing at the front of the cathedrals with everyone looking gave him a cold sweat until photographic matters got him back to thinking shutter speeds on the little kids running around at the back of the congregation and the inadvertent rising up of female guests’ dresses. Recently there has been a slight softening of his hard line, stating that if he ever did get hitched it would be as Elvis in Las Vegas with the bride as Marilyn on YouTube with only one photo taken, preferably of the bride & preferably without all her clothes, which would be the role of the only guest.
Artistically Edward lists influences from William Claxton; Joe Buissink, the VIP Beverly Hills wedding photographer; Anton Corbijn (particularly his work with U2); Mario Testino’s informal “backstage” reportage and Japanese Flickr photographic maestro Toshihiro “Tommy” Oshima. However he feels that more important than seeking same medium influences are other sources of inspiration whether other artistic media such as music, literature, dance… or simply travelling, going for a run in the park on a day off or spending all day in bed with someone who matters.
Recent prizes and nominations
"Hasselblad Masters Awards
The Hasselblad Masters Award is the most prestigious awards in the industry, each year celebrating the best in both established and rising photographic talent. Masters Awards are given in recognition of a photographer’s contribution to the art of photography and are judged on overall photographic ability, encompassing creativity, composition, conceptual strength, and technical skill. Past Masters include both renowned artists of international standing as well as promising newcomers in a wide range of fields and discipline"
2009 - Edward Olive has been selected as one of ten finalists in the Wedding Social category of the Hasselblad Masters Competition. Winners of the Masters competition will be announced on the 1.1.2010
The 2009 Masters Jury consists of Efrem Raimondi, Anton Corbijn, Joachim Ladefoged, Steve McCurry, Danqing Wen, Tim Flach, Guillaume Cuvillier, Hasse Persson, Xie Mo, Douglas Kirkland, Ian Farrell, Thomas Gerwers, Howard Bernstein, Peter Bialobrzeski, and F.C. Gundlach."
2009 – First prize of the Jury of PHE PHotoEspaña in their competition "Otoño al aire libre"
2009 - Finalist International Photography Awards – category –professional wedding
2008 - First prize in the analog photography competition “Mi mejor positivado” de La Fotografía / Kodak Spain
2010 - Citypulse Sensual - Galería Moro - Santiago de Chile – Collective exhibition
2009 - Hasselblad Masters 2009 – Copenhagen, London, New York, Hong Kong,– Collective exhibition – wedding photography
2009 - Citypulse Stop making sense (lomography) - Galería Moro - Santiago de Chile – Collective exhibition – lomographic photography
2009 - Citypulse Biosphere - Galería Moro - Santiago de Chile – Collective exhibition – urban photography
2009 - Photoespaña PHE “El agua de Madrid” – Madrid - Collective exhibition – fine art photography
2008 - “Rioja en los Sexto Sentidos” – Bodegas Franco Españolas – La Rioja - Collective exhibition –social photography
Publications by Edward Olive
2009 – “Private collection” – fine art erotic analog photography – first published book by Edward Olive
Available for online purchase from http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1096026
Publications featuring pictures
2010 – Aire Libre – Spanish travel magazine
2010-2009 – Citypulse fine art photography magazines
2009 – Oui magazine – French bridal magazine – 3 page feature – wedding photography
2009 – La Fotografía digital y actual – Spanish photography magazine – 5 page feature – fine art erotica
2008 – La Fotografía social – Spanish photography magazine – 5 page feature – wedding photography
2006-7 – various Spanish music, urban culture & sports magazines including Serie B, Hip Hop Nation, Hipflow, Urban Fit
Television programs featuring pictures
20010-2008 Explorers Spanish TV travel program (Canal Nou & Punt 2)
La fotografía Social – Revista – Revue – Magazine
“Edward Olive encarna a la perfección el espíritu ecléctico y multidisciplinar que caracteriza a la creación actual, en su trayectoria profesional ha ejercido como abogado, profesor de derecho, actor de cortos, largos televisión y doblaje y fotógrafo. Actualmente continúa haciendo trabajos de interpretación, trabaja para televisión y realiza encargos fotográficos, reportajes de boda, books para actores, cantantes modelos… que compagina con su obra personal.
Para Edward Olive fotografiar significa captar emociones, sentimientos, y experimentar con distintos equipos y materiales, cámaras lomo, Holga, la clásica Hasselblad, carretes que sobrepasaron su fecha de caducidad… cualquier recurso puede dar excelentes resultados en sus manos. Eso es lo que ha venido haciendo desde que realizo su primer trabajo casi por casualidad, cuando decidió ayudar a un compañero actor que necesitaba un book.
Sus reportajes de bodas son peculiares, cargados de fuerza y sutileza, que, como el resto de sus imágenes son resultado de su continua búsqueda de emociones que inmortalizar, para ello la naturalidad es esencial, la expresión sincera de los sentimientos, lejos de poses forzadas, típicas y tópicas. Su obra es fresca y sumamente personal. El control de la luz, los tonos, la composición, una delicada simplicidad, contribuyen a crear una atmosfera evocadora y fascinante. Imágenes poéticas producidas por un poético talento.”
Premios y nominaciones recientes
2009 - Nominación Premios Hasselblad Masters - categoría bodas y eventos sociales.
Nota de prensa:
Edward Olive está nominado entre los diez finalistas en el concurso más prestigioso de la fotografía - The Hasselblad Masters - en la categoría bodas y eventos sociales.
Los premios Hasselblad Masters Awards se conceden a fotógrafos profesionales establecidos o a aquellos en proyección como reconocimiento a su contribución al arte de la fotografía, y ello en base a criterios de la capacidad fotográfica general, incluyendo creatividad, composición, solidez conceptual y habilidad técnica.
La decisión final seria 01.01.10. El jurado son Efrem Raimondi, Anton Corbijn, Joachim Ladefoged, Steve McCurry, Danqing Wen, Tim Flach, Guillaume Cuvillier, Hasse Persson, Xie Mo, Douglas Kirkland, Ian Farrell, Thomas Gerwers, Howard Bernstein, Peter Bialobrzeski & F.C. Gundlach.
2009 - Primer Premio del Jurado de PHE PHotoEspaña en su concurso "Otoño al aire libre"
2009 Finalista International Photography Awards – categoría – boda profesional
2008 - Primer premio en el concurso de fotografía analógica “Mi mejor positivado” de la Fotografía / Kodak España
2009 - Hasselblad Masters 2009 – Copenhagen, London, New York, Hong Kong,– Exposición colectiva – fotografía de boda
2009 - Citypulse Stop making sense (lomography) - Galería Moro - Santiago de Chile – Exposición colectiva – fotografía lomográfica
2009 - Citypulse Biosphere - Galería Moro - Santiago de Chile – Exposición colectiva – fotografía urbana
2009 - Photoespaña PHE “El agua de Madrid” – Madrid - Exposición colectiva – fotografía artística
2008 - “Rioja en los Sexto Sentidos” – Bodegas Franco Españolas – La Rioja - Exposición colectiva – fotografía social
Publicaciones de Edward Olive
2009 – “Private collection” – fotografía erotica analogica artística – primer libro publicado por Edward Olive
Disponible en venta por internet: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1096026
Publicaciones que incluyen fotografías
2010 – Aire Libre – revista española de turismo
2010-2009 – Citypulse – revistas chilenas de fotografía artística
2009 – Oui magazine – revista francesa para novias – 3 páginas – fotografía artística de bodas
2009 – La Fotografía digital y actual – revista española de fotografía – 5 páginas – fotografía artística erotica
2008 – La Fotografía social – revista española de fotografía – 5 páginas – fotografía artística de bodas
2006-7 – varias revistas españolas de musica, cultura urbana y deportes que incluyen Serie B, Hip Hop Nation, Hipflow, Urban Fit
Programas de televisión que incluyen fotografías
20010-2008 Explorers programa de viajes (España - Canal Nou & Punt 2)