All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
Erwin Olaf
Erwin Olaf

Erwin Olaf

Country: Netherlands
Birth: 1959 | Death: 2023

Erwin Olaf (b. 1959) is an internationally exhibiting artist with works in the collections of museums and galleries around the world. Olaf has received numerous highly prestigious commissions and awards. Olaf emerged onto the international art scene when his series ‘Chessmen’ won the Young European Photographer of the Year award in 1988. This was followed by an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, with subsequent solo and group shows at major museums and galleries around the world, including Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Málaga, Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, SECCA in North Carolina and Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2018 the Rijksmuseum has accuired 500 key artworks from his fourty-year oeuvre for their collection. This follows recent official portraits for the Dutch royal family and the design of the new Euro coin for King Willem Alexander. Rutger Pontzen, art critic for Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant said, ‘Controversial or not, Erwin Olaf does give a picture of the Netherlands’.. ‘and that makes him distinctive in Dutch photography’.. ‘In other words, his oeuvre belongs to the cultural heritage’.

Starting his career as a photojournalist documenting the gay scene of the 1980s, Olaf increasingly sought and defined his own subjects, often explored in series of works in black and white (Squares, Chessmen and Blacks) and colour (Mind of their Own, Rain, Hope, Grief, Dusk, and Dawn). In recent years he has developed his themes through the form of monumental tableaux, for which he adopts the role of director as well as photographer. Olaf is a master of this craft, a virtuoso in the fine and subtle arts of photography and drama suffused with stillness, contemplation and dreamlike mystery. He is also a true picture maker, showing a close affinity with Old Masters and contemporary artists alike, from Rembrandt to Mapplethorpe, and in that sense his work emphatically bridges the gap between historical and contemporary picture-making.

Now internationally renowned, Erwin Olaf’s photography remains an essential part of the Netherlands’ cultural heritage. Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum director, says, ‘his work is deeply rooted in the visual traditions of Dutch art and history’ and that consequently Olaf is ‘one of the most important photographers of the final quarter of the 20th century’.

From progression to decay, notions of transformation are prevalent throughout Olaf’s work with a multitude of projects proving his fascination for society’s ever-changing demands, its simultaneous development and devolution of our moral compass, and its cultivated sense of anticipation for an almost-achievable contentment. These are the preoccupations that add a fascinating dimension to ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Tamed and Anger’, but also colour the tension in ‘Separation’ which explores the artist’s relationship with his mother, the controversial ‘Royal Blood’, the pressures of ageing in ‘Mature’ and the self-portrait series ‘I Wish, I Am, I Will Be’. All these projects reveal the friction of an imperfect reality hidden beneath a perfectly curated façade.

His most recent work sees the conclusion of the three-part project ‘Shifting Metropolises’ [working title] - a series of artworks looking at internationally renowned cities undergoing seismic change in the modern world. Rather than fabricating a controlled studio environment, this trilogy is the only time the artist has shot on location, retaining his characteristic cinematic associations to produce a body of work wrought with the genuine emotions and neuroses of these places and their inhabitants.

A bold approach to his work has earned Olaf a number of commissions from institutions including Louis Vuitton, Vogue, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, for which he designed the 2016 ‘Catwalk’ exhibition, including a promotional video and photographic campaign. He has been awarded Photographer of the Year in the International Colour Awards 2006 and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Dutch Artist of the Year 2007 as well as the Netherlands’ prestigious Johannes Vermeer Prize. Additional international awards include the Infinity Award from the International Centre of Photography, the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival for Advertising, and a Lucie Award from the United States for his whole oeuvre. In 2013 he won the commission to redesign the Dutch Euro coins, which have been in circulation since 2014.

Olaf has screened video work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum at FIT in New York, and at Nuit Blanche in Toronto with a live score commissioned for his series ‘Waiting’. He has also projected his 30 channel video installation ‘L’Éveil' onto the Hôtel de Ville for Nuit Blanche in Paris, curated by Jean de Loisy (Director, Palais de Tokyo). In March 2018 the Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo hosted a retrospective of his work. In 2019 Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) will host a solo exhibition. The Gemeentemuseum The Hague and The Hague Museum of Photography will host an anniversary solo exhibition for Erwin Olaf his 60th birthday, and to celebrate 40 years of photography. In 2019 there will be a new retrospective monograph released, published by Hannibal, Aperture, Xavier Barral and Prestel.

Erwin Olaf (born 1959, Hilversum, the Netherlands) lives and works in Amsterdam.

Source: www.erwinolaf.com

 

Erwin Olaf's Video

Selected Books

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition March 2024
Win an Online Solo Exhibition in March 2024
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Claudio Rasano
Switzerland
1970
Claudio Rasano lives and works in Basel, Switzerland. His work explores the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself. Rasano has a genuine and identifiable style that crosses documentary and fine art practices. He works with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences - environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. There is a strong relationship between the environmental portraits and the landscape images. He is the recipient of Photovogue Portraits 2017, Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2016, Lensculture portrait award Finalists, Syngenta Photography Award Unseen and Life 2017 Framer World Travellers. 2019 Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography at PHOTO IS:RAEL Statement My work may cross countries and continents, but there is one thing that features centrally throughout, people. People are the focal point of his work, whether it's schoolchildren in South Africa or cigarette sellers in Tirana, the story of the country that Claudio is working in is told through its people. "I love to explore the relationship between spaces and humans, the subject within the space and the space as the subject itself, I work with people from similar backgrounds, circumstances and experiences -environmental portraits and landscapes depicting a quiet anthropological commentary. It is important for me to see that there is a strong relationship between environmental portraits and landscape images." His work is focused around the human stories of an area, but in many cases it is not just the person that is of interest. The composition of many of his images, even when portraits, provides a snapshot of the landscapes and built environments that are around the subject. This contextualises many of his photographs, helping you to build a more rounded impression of the individuals based on their surroundings too - the perfect example of this being his image of South African workmen in sodden clothes.
Meryl Meisler
United States
1951
Meryl Meisler was born 1951 in the South Bronx and raised in North Massapequa, Long Island, New York. Inspired by photographers such as Diane Arbus and Jacques Henri Lartigue, as well as her dad, Jack, and grandfather, Murray Meisler, Meryl Meisler began photographing herself, family, and friends while enrolled in a photography class taught by Cavalliere Ketchum at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1975, Meisler returned to New York City and studied with Lisette Model, continuing to photograph her hometown and the city around her. After working as a freelance illustrator by day, Meisler frequented and photographed the infamous New York discos. As a 1978 C.E.T.A. Artist grant recipient, Meisler created a portfolio of photographs which explored her Jewish identity for the American Jewish Congress. After C.E.T.A., Meisler began a three-decade career as a NYC Public School Art Teacher. Meisler has received fellowships, grants, and residencies from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Light Work, YADDO, The Puffin Foundation, Time Warner, Artists Space, C.E.T.A., the China Institute, and the Japan Society. Her work has been exhibited at the Zillman Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Dia Art Foundation, MASS MoCA, Islip Art Museum, Annenberg Space for Photography, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New-York Historical Society,Steven Kasher Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in public spaces including Grand Central Terminal, South Street Seaport, Photoville, Vichy Portrait Festival, and throughout the New York City subway system. Her work is in the permanent collections of the American Jewish Congress,ARTPPOOL Budapest, AT&T, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Brooklyn HistoricalSociety, Book Art Museum (Poland), Columbia University, Emory University, Islip Art Museum,the Library of Congress, Musée de la Poste Paris, Smithsonian Institute, University of Iowa, and The Waskomium, and can be found in the artist book collections of Carnegie Mellon, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Chrysler Museum, the Museum of Modern Art NYC, Metronome Library, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Upon retiring from the New York City public schools, Meisler began releasing large bodies of previously unseen work. Her monographs have received international acclaim. A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick (Bizarre, 2014) juxtaposes her zenith of disco photos with images of the burned out yet beautiful neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn in the 1980s. Her second book, Purgatory & Paradise: Sassy ‘70s, Suburbia &The City (Bizarre, 2015), contrasts intimate images of home life on Long Island alongside New York City street and night life. Her latest book New York PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco (Parallel Pictures Press 2021) revieals darker sides of disco and takes the viewer into 1980s Bushwick school and street life. Meryl Meisler lives and works in New York City and Woodstock, New York. NIGHTLIFE NYC, 1977-2023 In 1975 Meryl Meisler moved to New York City. Two years later its most notorious and celebrated nightclub, Studio 54, opened its doors. Meisler immersed herself in the nightlife scene and began to make images of Studio 54's colorful pleasure-seekers, along with some of its most noted party-goers such as Andy Warhol. The photographer states, ''When Studio 54 opened, my friend JudiJupiter got us on the guest list as photographers. The doorman took a liking and parted the door for us night after night. Studio 54's fabulous changing décor, DJs, sound system, and incredible crowds of diverse ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities were thrilling.'' Fueled by the excitement of Manhattan's exploding club scene of the late 70s, Meisler photographed fashionable night revelers and celebrities at a number of other hedonistic havens that popped up throughout the City. Legendary clubs such as Copacabana, Paradise Garage, Hurrah, Xenon, GG's Barnum Room, CBGB, and erotic Go-Go bars, provided an endless and diverse array of extravagant subjects immersed in dance and party spectacles. Each venue had its own unique identity, clientele, and energy. Some club-goers who were unable to gain admission to Studio 54 or wanted a change of scenery explored the crowd, vibe, and music at other night spots. Meisler adds, ''On nights off, club owners and cohorts would party at other discos.'' It was on one of these evenings that Meisler photographed Halston and Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell comfortably huddled together on a couch at the club Hurrah. A monogamous relationship, full-time art teaching job, and the onset of the AIDS epidemic prompted the photographer's foray into nightlife culture to dramatically slow down around 1981. Meisler kept her collection of images to herself, as a sort of private visual memoir, until an encounter in 2014 at the drag & burlesque bar BIZARRE, in Bushwick. Many of the club's performers and the scene they created were reminiscent of the freedom and energy that abounded during New York City's nightlife heyday in the late 70s. This emerging scene with its emphasis on inclusion, costumed spectacles, and over-the-top revelry inspired Meisler to exhibit her earlier nightlife photos and, once again, document these venues of unbridled celebration. Dance and performance take center stage in many of Meisler's current images taken at clubs like Bushwick's House of Yes and Bartschland's roaming parties. These new club scenes with drag queens and kings, bodacious burlesque performers, acrobats, magicians, dancers, and disco divas add to the continuum of NYC's nightlife culture — honoring and elevating the dynamic spirit set forth by prior generations of party-goers.
Marcel Giró
Spain
1913 | † 2011
Marcel Giró was born in Badalona (Spain) in 1913. Since his youth he was fond of mountain trekking and photography. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War he enlisted as a volunteer on the Republican side. In 1937, disappointed by the constant fighting between the different factions fighting against Franco, he decided to exile. He walked through the Pyrenees to France where he spent nearly two years doing all kinds of jobs. Finally in 1940 he was able to travel to Colombia with two Catalan companions, where they set up a small textile business. He married Palmira Puig, and they moved to Brazil, where they settled. In Brazil Giró resumed his hobby and ended devoted to professional photograpy. In 1953 he opened his own studio in Sao Paulo, Estúdio Giró. Marcel Giró became one of the leading photographers of the country, an active member of what became known as Escola Paulista. This movement, pioneer of modernist photography in Brazil was born around Foto Cine Club Bandeirante, in the 50s and 60s, with photographers like José Yalenti, Thomaz Farkas, Gertrudes Altschul, Eduardo Salvatore, Chico Albuquerque, Geraldo de Barros, Rubens Teixeira Scavone, Ademar Manarini, German Lorca and Gaspar Gasparian among others. He exhibited his works all over Brazil and around the world. His works are today in collections like the MASP (Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art), Itaú Cultural (Itaú Bank), the Metropolitan Museum and the MoMA, in New York, among others. Giró was also one of the pioneers of advertising photography in Brazil. In his studio worked young assistants that later become world-renowned as great photographers like Marcio Scavone and JR Duran. After the death of his wife in 1978, he left professional photography and artistic photography. He sold the studio and returned to Catalonia. During the 80's and 90's, he began to paint with a very close criteria to his Photography works of the 50s. He died in Mirasol (Barcelona) in 2011, at age 98. For exhibitions and sales in Europe contact Toni Ricart Giró: toniricart@marcelgiro.com For exhibitions and sales in rest of the world Isabel Amado: isabel@isabelamado.com.br
Burt Glinn
United States
1925 | † 2008
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Burt Glinn served in the United States Army between 1943 and 1946 before studying literature at Harvard University where he edited and photographed for the Harvard Crimson college newspaper. From 1949 to 1950, Glinn worked for Life magazine before becoming a freelancer. Glinn became an associate member of Magnum in 1951 along with Eve Arnold and Dennis Stock - the first Americans to join the young photo agency - and a full member in 1954. He made his mark with spectacular color series on the South Seas. Japan, Russia, Mexico and California. In 1959 he received the Mathew Brady Award for Magazine Photographer of the Year from the University of Missouri. In collaboration with the writer Laurens van der Post, Glinn published A Portrait of All the Russias and A Portrait of Japan. His reportages have appeared in Esquire, Geo, Travel and Leisure, Fortune, Life and Paris-Match. He has covered the Sinai War, the US Marine invasion of Lebanon and Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba. In the 1990's he completed an extensive photo essay on the topic of medical science. Versatile and technically brilliant, Glinn was one of Magnum's great corporate and advertising photographers. He received numerous awards for his editorial and commercial photography, including the Best Book of Photographic Reporting from Abroad from the Overseas Press Club and the Best Print Ad of the Year from the Art Directors Club of New York. Glinn served as president of ASMP from 1980 - 1981. Between 1972 and 1975 he was president of Magnum, and was re-elected to the post in 1987. In 1981, Burt married Elena Prohaska and their son Samuel Pierson Glinn was born in 1982. Source: burtglinn.com
Savas Onur Sen
Turkey
1978
Savaş Onur Şen is a Turkish photographer based in Van. He has graduated from Ankara University Faculty of Communication, Department of Journalism. He has taken his master's degree in photography and a Ph.D. degree in photojournalism. Now he is working at Van Yuzuncu Yil University as an Assistant Professor. Savaş Onur Şen is trying to use photography to tell stories. These days he focused on the stories of the animals who live in the urban lifestyle. Precarious If certain lives do not qualify as lives or are, from the start, not conceivable as lives within certain epistemological frames, then these lives are never lived nor lost in the full sense. Judith Butler Current laws and regulations do not adequately protect the animals in Turkey. Violence, especially against stray animals, is increasing due to the lack of an animal rights law demanded by animal lovers and sensible groups. It is possible to see the traces of the rising vio-lence in mainstream and social media. Almost every day, we come across news of rape, torture, violence, and abuse, especially against stray animals. This situation also causes conflicts between people who are sensitive to the issue and are against feeding stray animals. It is said that there are over 20 thousand stray dogs in the city where I live. Although I don't have the chance to reach all of them, I have been feeding several stray dogs for many years and trying to find solutions to their problems. While doing this, I have also been taking photos of them for the last two years. "Precarious" is the first significant part of my work on stray dogs. This work aims to present an epistemological framework for the lives of stray dogs.
Isaiah West Taber
United States
1830 | † 1912
Isaiah West Taber was an American daguerreotypist, ambrotypist, and photographer who took many pictures of noted Californians, which he donated to the California State Library "that the state may preserve the names and faces, and keep alive the memory of those who made it what it is." He was also a sketch artist and dentist. His studio also produced a series of stereoscopic views of west coast scenery. Taber was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and between 1845 and 1849 he worked at sea on a whaler. He first moved to California in 1850., then returned East in 1854 and opened his first photography studio in Syracuse, New York. In 1864, Taber returned to California, where he worked in the studio of Bradley and Rulofson until 1873. In 1871, Taber opened his own studio, where he gained fame for reproducing the photos of Carleton Watkins after Watkins went bankrupt, although the reproductions were published without credit to Watkins. In 1880, Taber made a six-week photographic trip to the Hawaiian Islands where, among other subjects, he photographed the Hawaiian King Kalākaua, completing a commission for three full-length portraits. The following year Kalākaua visited Taber's studio in San Francisco. At this time the Japanese photographer Suzuki Shin'ichi (1855–1912) was studying photographic techniques with Taber; Suzuki also photographed King Kalākaua (in 1881) and may have been the source of some views of Japan included in Taber's stock. By the 1890s, Taber had expanded his operations to include studios in London, England and in elsewhere Europe. However, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his San Francisco studio, gallery, and negative collection, ending his photographic career.Source: Wikipedia Massachusetts native, he was one of the most successful 19th century photographers and photographic publishers. He worked as a gold miner, rancher, and dentist before learning the daguerreotype process and opening one of the first photographic studios in Syracuse, New York. Taber moved to San Francisco in 1864 and joined the photographic publishing firm of Bradley & Rulofson. In 1871 he opened his own studio and photographic publishing company and soon was operating a successful portrait, landscape, and urban photography business. Like photographers promoting other cities, Taber linked much of his work to the tourist trade. His landscapes and views of San Francisco appeared in publications such as Hartwell and Mitchell's souvenir city-view book and his own two-album set, California Scenery and California Scenery and Industries. The albums were part of a commercial endeavor and contained images from Taber's extensive files, surrounded by advertising text. Taber employed numerous staff photographers whose work he published under his own name. He also published under the Taber imprint, images by Carleton Watkins after acquiring negatives from the bankrupt photographer in 1876. By the 1890's Taber was internationally famous, with studios in London and on the Continent.Source: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Advertisement
AAP Magazine #38: Women
PhMuseum Photography Grant
March 2024 Online Solo Exhibition

Latest Interviews

Orchestrating Light: Seth Dickerman Talks About his Passion for Photographic Printmaking
Seth Dickerman is a master manipulator of the wide spectrum of light densities that reflect off the surface of a photographic print and enter into our field of vision. His singular intent in making prints is to bring out the best an image has to offer, which means giving an image the ability to hold our attention, to engage us, and to allow us to discover something about an image that is meaningful and significant.
Exclusive Interview with Michel Haddi
Photographer and film director, Michel Haddi has photographed many high-profile celebrities while living in the USA including, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Diaz, Faye Dunaway, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. He also manages a publishing house, MHS publishing, which publishes his own books. Currently based in London we have asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive Interview with Sebastien Sardi
In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi, inspired by an article exposing hidden mining-related incidents, embarked on a photography journey. Without formal training, he explored mines and ventured to India's Jharkhand state to document coal miners in Dhanbad, known as the "coal capital." His project, "Black Diamond," captured the lives of people, including men, women, and children, dedicated to coal extraction in grueling conditions.
Exclusive Interview with Debra Achen
Monterey-based photographer Debra Achen was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, where she developed a passion for both nature and art. She studied a variety of studio arts, including drawing, painting, and printmaking in addition to her training in traditional film and darkroom photography. Her project 'Folding and Mending' won the September 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked here a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman is a documentary photographer who has who spent the last dozen years working with and photographing the people that live the housing projects in Coney Island. He was the winner of the July and August 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Aya Okawa
Aya is passionate about exploring the natural world and protecting ecosystems and wild landsAll about Photo: Tell us about your first introduction to photography. What drew you into this world? Her project The Systems That Shape Us'won the February 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked her a few questions about her life and her work.
Exclusive Interview with Réhahn
Réhahn discusses his groundbreaking new photographic series ''Memories of Impressionism,'' his artistic journey during and after Covid, and how modernity can draw inspiration from the past. French photographer Réhahn's career started with a face. More specifically, the face of Madame Xong, an octogenarian with an ''ageless beauty'' and ''hidden smile'' that inspired the world. From there, his portraits and lifestyle photos were published all over the world, in pretty much every major magazine and media out there, including The New York Times, BBC, National Geographic and more. His work centered on people living ''outside of time'' with traditional jobs and skills that had been passed down through generations. This focus led to his Precious Heritage Project, the photographer's decade-long research project to document the more than 54 ethnicities currently living in Vietnam, along with their textile and craft traditions. The final collection is housed in The Precious Heritage Museum in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Exclusive Interview with Patrick Cariou
For more than 25 years, French photographer Patrick Cariou has traveled to places around the globe, documenting people living on the fringes of society. Whether photographing surfers, gypsies, Rastafarians or the rude boys of Kingston, Cariou celebrates those who meet the struggles of life with honor, dignity and joy. Bringing together works from his groundbreaking monographs including Surfers, Yes Rasta, Trenchtown Love and Gypsies, Patrick Cariou: Works 1985–2005 (published by Damiani) takes us on a scenic journey around the world, offering an intimate and captivating look at cultures that distance themselves from the blessings and curses of modernity.
Exclusive Interview with Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis' Athênai in Search of Home (published by Damiani) presents photos taken in and around Athens, the city in which he grew up. The images reflect the artist's eagerness to assimilate back into a home that feels at once foreign and familiar. Throughout the years the city and the surrounding territories have experienced their share of socio-economic struggles and topographic transformations that have altered its identity. The city of Athens in Kallianiotis' photographs is elliptically delineated as a vibrant environment that binds together luxury and social inequality. The photographer depicts a city in which the temporal and the spatial elements often clash with each other while conducting his research for a home that has changed over the years as much as he did.