Interview with Denis Olivier
#1 Please introduce yourself:
My full name is Denis Olivier. Nothing less, nothing more, and I’m French. I’m currently living in Bordeaux, since 6 years ago; it is a new redesigned old city, with a lot of history that has been officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Besides that we have the famous Bordeaux wine and the sea is not so far away. It’s a beautiful and pleasant place to live. Everyone is welcome!
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
First with my parents. We have a permanent darkroom in the house (and it is still there) and when you are a young boy, all of this is fascinating and magical. Later I preferred drawing and painting. But I really needed to learn photography during Art School education. Here I discovered technical skills and practiced a lot, burning several rolls a week, during many years.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
Artistic, yes. After biochemical studies, I went to an Art School to learn first painting, drawing, photography and sculpture, the basics. I finally chose Computer Arts, especially 3D generated pictures. While I was discovering advanced computer programming, I’ve started to develop my own 3D software and sold them worldwide. I also worked later in Architecture and hyperrealist renderings.
#4 I remember when I first saw your marvelous photograph, it was ‘The open space II’. The sky in this picture gives a feeling of a really rough scene, very much like in your other photographs. What other factors fascinate you and influence your works?
Most of the time a relation with the past, the history, wild places where life has disappeared. Isolation reassures me; all is quiet and peaceful without civilization – there are only elements around. We, human beings, are almost nothing when you compare us to the absolute Universe. Since the Big-Bang, our living experience time is exactly a tear drop in the sea. These running skies for example are one of the ways to perceive this relativity.
#5 Photographs with such long exposure make the world look really desolate and lonely. Why have you chosen to present your works in such a form?
Maybe because I feel lonely by default. Most of people around me seem aggressive, egocentric, thinking they rule the world even though they are nothing in Universe. Every day I need to exchange and fight for my own life and company, and I’ve found in long exposure and lost places moments where I can contemplate the World, take my time, and forget all the city stuff to feel the roots.
#6 In your latest series ‘Dreamspace’ you showed the viewers a completely surreal world. What inspired you to make this series?
It is an old project I have in my mind. I like the idea to compose exactly what I want, when I want it, and how I want it to be. I can set the mood, try, test, modify – well, very much like the act of drawing or painting somehow. In our family we have many old photographs from the two past centuries and I like to mix anachronistic elements together; it forces the brain to connect between things that normally can’t be linked together. Here the dream begins. Many people were surprised, even disappointed, because it’s far from long exposures, but it is part of my imagination too, and long exposure shots need to travel a lot with complex and heavy equipment, particularly when the weather is bad. This series has the advantage of mixing simple elements in complex scenes. I like the challenge, making them real but not really… Within the doubt, imagination starts.
#7 You are a creator of Art Limited, can you tell us more about this project?
Art Limited is a project derived from Preface where artists need to speak about their work. The rules weren’t really followed and the site has been mostly used to exhibit only. While browsing through many Art communities, I’ve never found something I like personally, so I’ve decided to develop mine and propose it to others. I’m happy with it at this time, trying to propose an elegant design with plenty of functionalities really needed by artists.
#8 Do you work as a professional photographer or do you pursue the art as a hobby?
No, I don’t need Art to live. I have my own communication and marketing company and spend most of my working time managing it. I have the chance that my artwork is appreciated and doing only what I want without commissions. I always have it in mind and I try to keep this luxury as long as possible.
#9 What do you do in your life besides photography?
I’ve created computer server services since mid-90 years. In 2000 it finally turned into a company. This is my main job. Besides that, apart from educating my children, I have played drums in a rock band since many years ago – 4 hours every Wednesday night. These music moments with fellow friends are very important and I can’t imagine ever stopping them. I like cooking – everything – but I finally spend more time in fine restaurants! I also watch documentaries on specific channels, and the technological/scientific approach of discovering our world. In fact, I’ve always wanting to do so many things or jobs, and one lifetime won’t be enough!
#10 Can you tell us about the equipment that you use (digital or traditional)?
I am not excited by equipment, maybe because my father collects them, so I’ve tested many. I just buy exactly what I need. The 3 ones I use most are (in order) Canon 5D, Holga and Hasselblad 500 C/M. I also have several lenses: Canon, Kiev, Pentax, Rollei, Konica, Polaroid etc … But I use them when I need them, or want something particular.
#11 Are you planning any exhibitions of your works in near future?
No, I have currently refused them all as the proposals haven’t pleased me. I’m very busy on many other professional or personal projects and I want to be sure I won’t lose myself. Anyway, I’m still happy to discuss galleries to see if we can work together.
#12 How do you prepare your prints? (LAB, darkroom, digital printing, etc.)? What is your favorite kind of paper?
I do it all myself. I’m still developing my films at home and scan them afterwards. This way, I’m sure all will be done like I want it, and if any errors occur, the only person to blame is me (smiles)! Concerning paper I’ve used Ilford multigrade fiber base. For digital prints, I’m quite happy with fiber paper, like Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl 285 or Permajet Delta Matt Fibre 271.
#13 Is it possible to purchase your prints and, if so, where?
Yes, directly on my site. I particularly pay attention to the packaging and protection, to be sure all will be shipped the safest possible way. I collaborate with Fedex to assure a fast professional and tracked delivery worldwide.
#14 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
Continue to take pleasure in whatever I am doing. Creating, from photography to cooking, programming to love, managing to learning, children’s education to playing drums… All are parts of my life.
Denis Olivier Official Website: