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ERWIN OLAF. Diary of a photographer « DressLab : clothes+music+art
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ERWIN OLAF. Diary of a photographer

Author: Luisa Bernal

Section: LAB

Date: 12.2012


Photographer Erwin Olaf (Holland, 1959) wants us to fantasise over his suggestive photos and video clips. This is what he has in mind when he presents us with the moments immediately before and after something happens, or has already happened. The rest of the story is up to us.

Erwin Olaf has many stories to tell, and I can’t resist sharing them…

The artist confesses that his work allows us to bear witnesses to the evolution of his personal concerns over the years. At 20, his obsession with sex, at 30 he was more aggressive and ambitious, and now, with many more miles and international exhibitions behind him, loneliness and anticipation have become central themes in his work.

For his Hotel series he used models who are accustomed to travel and endless hotel room hours and, as a result, understand exactly what he wanted to transmit.




In the Dusk/Dawn series, the artist reflects on the idea of waiting for a loved one and, with this in mind, has recreated images that tell stories of families saying goodbye to the man of the house heading off to war. Black and white ambience inspired by the U.S.A. and white settings inspired by Russia.






According to Erwin, it is easier for him to transmit sensations through female protagonists because he doesn’t feel sexual attraction for them.




He also tells us that he prefers to recreate settings in his studio rather than using natural locations, as this method allows him greater control over all aspects of his work, beginning with light.

For Erwin Olaf, the perfect working formula consists of combining personal projects with business assignments. He feels he doesn’t have so much to tell that he would be able to dedicate his time solely to personal projects and, at the same time, he would soon tire of working exclusively for advertising.




At one stage Erwin started making music videos, and eventually began incorporating these into his exhibitions as a means of creating a specific ambience for each series. Finally, he has added sculpture to his repertoire, incorporating elements from the scenes he recreates in his photographic works into the exhibition space, blurring the limits that separate framed photographs from the physical space of the viewer.

We should continue to read this Dutch artist’s exquisite diary of emotions.





+ info_ Erwin Olaf
Text_ Luisa Bernal



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