In the analog vs. digital question Oliver has taken a firm stance for analog. He uses two cameras, a 35mm for snapshots, for capturing the intuitive moments, and a medium format camera with tripod for lengthier, more deliberate compositions.
One of the main reasons for choosing this path is the reflection and patience needed. He often takes just one single picture, an approach that also opens up for an element of chance, if a shot is missed it’s lost forever. It’s all about capturing moments, fractions of life. The process being slower also allows for a more deliberate approach and requires more contemplation in the execution.
Due to time and space issues he uses digital scanning and editing rather than a traditional darkroom, but the development aspect remains an important part of the work. It also gives a possibility to retain a personal attachment with all photos. In photography there is no such thing as an original and the negative is the closest you ever come. And this reality aspect is what’s important to Oliver, for every photo there is a physical product, a negative, not just a bundle of ones and zeroes.
Although Oliver’s body of work contains no traditional landscape of portrait photography, there’s still a strong presence of both nature and humans in his photographs. Tying in with the objet trouvé idea of the surrealists, but taking a documentation approach rather than the more hands on sculptural stance, he often photographs objects that are slightly out of place or left behind thus forcing the viewer to reevaluate or question their perceptions and understanding of the world and of the concept of art. The objects we surround ourselves with tell something about who we are and it’s this element that’s in focus.
People are shown through the space in which they reside rather than in actual portraits. This is the main focus in Oliver’s body of work, an exploration of the spaces people occupy and the traces they leave behind. This choice of motives is also part of what generates the tone of melancholy present in a lot of Oliver’s work. Photographing deserted places and objects places the focus on aspects of life that are usually shunned or overlooked.
To Oliver this is also about giving the subconscious a voice and directing attention to things that are usually forgotten. A way of holding on to memories and impressions through documentation. This is also the reason he doesn’t edit the images. What the viewer is presented with is the raw version of reality as seen by Oliver through his camera lens. The motives are usually found through chance of circumstance. Or as he describes it: “I just start walking, I get lost and I find something.”
A method that so far has generated an impressive body of work and that keeps on growing.
Great thanks to Caroline Carlquist (email@example.com) for writing my bio and about.