Photography Radio – an exciting new sound

Photography Radio – an exciting new sound

I have to admit I‘ve never done this before. Do I have a great voice for podcasting? Of course not. A few months back I found the following comment on one of my YouTube videos: “Olaf, you have such a mafia voice.” Well, if the podcast doesn’t work, I can always take up a new “career.” 

Seriously, that is exactly the reason I decided to do podcasting. The fact that I don’t feel comfortable talking to a microphone, the challenge of my voice, the inability to take my time as in writing—this all makes it appealing and exciting. 

The most exciting problem is my Eastern European accent which I’ve learnt to embrace (Thank you, Sally!). All these things pushed me to face reality and try this new way of sharing and communicating with you—my photographic friends. 

I am grateful that Tomasz invited me along with two other amazing photographers. The company, friendship and professionalism of Karen Hutton, Take Kayo and Tomasz Trzebiatowski makes my strange attack of shyness go away. And a glass in my hand helps as well.  

So to make a long story short, please head to PhotographyRadio.com and subscribe to the podcast. Photography Radio is available on all podcast platforms!

And don’t forget to drop me a line. I may actually talk about topics and ideas you care about. This time I need your help. Let’s do it together. 

As usual I will leave you with some imagery from Amsterdam. Enjoy! 

2019 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

Photography – the craft of curation

Photography – the craft of curation

Over the course of the last few years I have met many amazing photographers on my Visual Poet Experience Workshops. Interestingly, some of them realized very little of their hidden talent for seeing and crafting great imagery. As I have studied this phenomenon, I stayed in touch with some students, following their struggles and their progress over the years. It became clear that the idea of curation is one of the most difficult concepts in photography.

Most of us who care deeply about photography usually shoot a lot of imagery throughout the year. Most people put very little time and effort into reviewing their own work or assessing it but just publish it right away on social media with the assumption that “something will stick.” It may satisfy the occasional snapper, but this is not a serious approach. Even those who attempt to curate their work find it extremely difficult. When I work with students, I quickly discover that one of the biggest obstacles they face at any stage of their development is the process of curation.

In simple terms, given the huge body of work we produce, it has become a nightmare to spend enough time on each image and appreciate its visual, conceptual and original qualities. Despite that, time is not the most important issue. Lack of visual proficiency and confidence in our own abilities come at the top.  

Over and over again I see photographers who show me a series of images containing some true visual gems. The problem is that this fine work is cluttered with so-so images – some of them quite appealing and tempting but highly repetitive and commonly shot. With our social media antennae working overtime to scan the social media world for winning visuals, we quickly develop similar visual patterns which consciously or unconsciously push us in the same direction. Following the trend, we tend to curate our work using these visual pointers.

This is especially troubling for students who display a unique ability to see and craft imagery their own way. Unfortunately, this leads to the dismissal of their best work with “this one probably won’t work” citing the lack of such imagery on social media. Naturally they gravitate toward the common and familiar. It is only when we sit down together and I point out certain visuals they crafted do they start scrutinizing and appreciating their work. 

Then comes another pre-requisite in the process of curation – visual proficiency. Here is the key problem. Visual proficiency is not only a misunderstood concept but is usually reduced to two dull and meaningless statements: “I like it, or not” and “I don’t care what others think” – usually promoted by those who use them to defend their own mediocre work.  

The problem is that visual proficiency cannot be acquired just by having expensive equipment. It requires years of study, shooting and evaluating your work on a constant basis. For example, I am well aware that my wine-testing proficiency is quite poor, if it exists at all. The fact that I like wine doesn’t mean it is a great wine. Only those who acquire enough knowledge and bind it with years of experience in tasting a variety of wines are they able to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

But in today’s world of “likes” such a long and extensive visual education combined with hard work may not be the most appealing approach. Go figure!  

Here are a few images from Amsterdam, where I co-led the Visual Poet Experience Workshop with Tomasz of Fujilove. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about the 2020 Visual Poet Experience locations around the world. And yes, we are coming to Berlin and London too! 

All images shot with the Fujifilm GFX50R paired with the GF 50mm F3.5 lens.  

Next time…

2019 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

Amsterdam – Creative Street Photography Workshop

Amsterdam – Creative Street Photography Workshop

On September 27-29th, 2019, alongside Tomasz Trzebiatowski of the Fujilove Magazine, I will be leading my last European workshop this year. This is going to be a very special event when Tomasz and I will share our approach to seeing and crafting great imagery.

Tomasz, a founder and an editor-in-chief of the Fujilove Magazine is a great friend of mine and a fantastic photographer. We spend a lot of time discussing all aspects of image creation: inspiration, seeing and developing skills to craft visuals true to ourselves. We will share our philosophy, techniques and methods with you and have a great conversation. Most importantly, we will be shooting together on the streets of Amsterdam with some classroom time for image evaluation and an honest, image-centered exchange of ideas. 

This workshop is planned as a one-time event and due to our busy schedules, we are unlikely to repeat this event in the future. So if you are serious about photography and crafting great imagery make sure to grab the last three spots available. Tomasz and I are looking forward to shooting with you.

Please message or email me or Tomasz directly for more information and instructions on how to sign up. Below please find some imagery taken during past workshops. 

2019 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.     

New Street Photography Workshops: London and Berlin

New Street Photography Workshops: London and Berlin

London and Berlin – what amazing cities to do street photography, meet passionate people and learn how to see and craft stunning images! I am very excited to invite you to the three-day workshops I have the privilege to lead.

There is no question that there is a plethora of street photography out there – and some truly brilliant work. However, photographing in the city is so much more than the word “street” implies. Although most street photography deals with documenting what’s out there and in plain sight, we want to go beyond that. Our objective is to create imagery which not only challenges your senses but triggers an emotional and visual reaction – whatever it may be. Yes, you are right! Sometimes such work is not easy to consume but one thing is for sure – it will give the viewer pause, trigger emotions and jolt the thought process. To achieve this, we have worked over the course of the last few years to create a program which helps you to do just that.

During these three days, we will discover our inner seeing and challenge ourselves to be different but bold. There will also be some discussions, presentations and technicalities. My objective in the three-day workshops is not to show you how to photograph on the street but teach you methods, provide you with tools and empower you to capture visuals in your own unique way. Ultimately your personality, your life experiences and your inner strengths will guide the seeing.

There are very limited spots available in order to allow the maximum personal interaction, so please book early (see links below).

The Streets of London / March 9 – 11, 2018 

The Streets of Berlin / March 16 – 18, 2018 

Blowing my own horn is not something I like to do so let’s hear what others have to say about yours truly.

“A true visual poet” – Sid, podcaster

Olaf posesses that rare ability to truly observe that which the rest of us can only see – Spencer Wynn, Fujifilm X-Photographer

“I’ve seen Olaf at work, and it is poetry” – Peter Faris, workshop participant

“Real Artistic Visionary” – Tomash, a founder of FujiLove

 “One of the best street photographers out there” – Mac Sokulski, photographer and podcaster 

“Olaf’s stunning photography is a visual gift to the world” – Patrick, a founder of Fujirumors.com 

“A unique eye for superbly creative and aesthetically pleasing images” –  Iain Palmer, a founder of 53mm

“Olaf’s photos always surprise with their dramatic contrasts, reduction of elements to powerful geometric shapes and the placement of colour where it matters. All this, despite his wicked sense of humour.”Sally Jennings, a writer and editor

Here are examples of the sort of images we will be crafting:

If you would like to see more of my imagery please visit www.olafphoto.com

Just a sample what workshop participants think about the experience:

 I was extremely resistant to both (street and photography) because it meant I had to ask people for photographs or bypass their permission. Olaf’s teaching let me put the worst of that behind me, even (amazing!) made me enjoy it. The result? The best five days of my photographic life and some of the best images I’ve ever produced. I’ll never be the photographer he is but he shared enough of his knowledge and focus that I came out of the workshop a much better photographer than the guy that went in. – Robert Raisler, California

“Having just completed a workshop with Olaf I can honestly say my photography will never be the same. Much better I am sure. I was new to street photography and I appreciated Olaf’s style of explaining about, then demonstrating all that went into setting up and taking the shot, then showing us the result. That gave me the confidence to venture out on my own for some great people and town shots. His feedback on my shots was extremely helpful.” – Elaine, California

“The video and blog only gave a taste of what it was like to work with Olaf in person. He has a singular devotion to his work, and has acquired expert knowledge of how to capture amazing images. Fortunately, he is incredibly generous in sharing this knowledge. Without knowing Olaf, my biggest fear in taking the workshop (apart from the fear my images might suck) was that he might be a secretive hard-case who dribbled out crumbs of information. The exact opposite was true. Shooting sessions included solid approaches to getting good images, but were also filled with many creative suggestions. I have many more great images from the workshop, and many great memories as well. I highly recommend his workshop to aspiring photographers, and also to experienced photographers seeking inspiration and a unique perspective.” – Peter Faris, Calgary 

 “I want to thank you again for your work as teacher. At the end of first shooting session I was desperate, almost to tears. I felt that I was ridiculously wasting the time of a great photographer in an attempt to learn things that I would never be able to do, even to see. “But we went on, and your presence, the way you shot began to inspire me. Finally, I couldn’t believe I got it. With your vision and work I began to connect with my work. The images I previewed were there, even in ways I had not expected. Yes, I had been able to truly express myself photographically. “I began seeing. Thank you again, Olaf.” – Robert Mañé Velilla, Barcelona

  

 

 

2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.