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Olivia Oliver

Profession
BA Fashion Photography Alum
College
London College of Fashion
Person Type
Alumni
Listening to your 'Silhouettes of Love’ | 2021 BA Fashion Photography, UAL | Photograph & Creative Direction: Olivia Oliver, Stylist: Isabella Mamas, Model: Caitlin Tanzer at Priscillas Model Management, Hair and Make Up Artist: Maya Fernandez
Olivia  Oliver

Biography

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?

I am a London-based 2019 LCF graduate currently working as a Fashion Photographer and Creative Director, represented by House of Juba. Upon graduating UAL in July 2019, I was awarded an MFA scholarship for The Royal College of Art and I will be entering my second year in September (2021).

My photography (and creative direction) is shot predominately on medium format film and my inspiration comes from minimalism, nuanced romanticism and celebrating raw beauty.

What have you been working on since finishing your course?

Since graduating in 2019 I travelled to Los Angeles for the first time and photographed various fashion editorials there. Due to the pandemic and my Masters degree being remote for the first year, I also spent some extended time in Sydney, Australia. There I shot fashion editorials, and debuted my first solo photography exhibit, a great learning opportunity and a very successful night.

Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?

From a young age I loved the way clothes could transform how I felt about myself and the way in which people could be perceived by the world. For a long time I denied my interest in fashion as I was ashamed about the superficial associations that come with the industry. I have managed to embrace the way the industry has been seen in the past and have been motivated to shine a new perspective on it.

How have you maintained your creative practice during the pandemic?

I think sometimes maintaining creativity means taking a step back. It’s so hard to juggle the self-imposed pressure of an upcoming artist. I have really enjoyed the distance I have allowed myself from my practice and investing that time into my Masters education.

Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?

I am currently coming to the end of my first year at RCA and finalising all of my work for this academic year. I am also working on hand printing my work and really educating myself in the beautiful process that is involved in darkroom prints.

What are your plans for the next few years? Where would you like to see yourself professionally?

Over the past year I have slowly been gathering together material for an O1 artist visa for the USA. My plan is to live between NYC and LA as a photographer and creative director in the next few years.

Eventually, alongside photography, I would also love to represent photographers and create my own agency - it gives me so much joy to see other creatives excelling and getting the opportunities they deserve.

What attracted you to London College of Fashion?

London College of Fashion was bought to my attention by my sixth form college photography tutor. As I looked in detail at the course I was really attracted to the location - if you are wanting to study fashion in the United Kingdom, I believe the heart of London is truly the only place for it. The experience and knowledge of the tutors was also something that really interested me.

Why did you decide to study BA Fashion Photography?

I wanted to invest time into developing my personal voice and finding my own style in photography and I knew the 3-year photography programme would create this opportunity. I also wanted to expand my industry knowledge and have the opportunity to meet other likeminded creatives.

What did you enjoy the most about the course?

For myself, the most enjoyable element of BA Fashion Photography was seeing my classmates develop and progress their own style and skills over the 3 years. Even still to this day, I really love seeing what they’re doing all over the world, it makes me feel so inspired and happy for them.

Having the opportunity to go to Paris Photo as a cohort was also a very enjoyable and educational trip.

Best advice you received from a lecturer, tutor, or technician during your time at LCF?

From UAL I learnt about medium format photography which totally changed my passion for creativity and my career path. The 2nd summer of my degree I bought a Mamiya RZ67 from a camera store in Chicago and it completely changed my entire aesthetic. I will forever be grateful to LCF for that.

I was also told to shoot in a ratio of 6x7 because no magazine ever shows images in the ratio of a digital camera.

What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol on this course?

Understand this is a university degree and therefore research and concept are key. However, for me personally (rightly or wrongly) I really found my style and what I am instinctively drawn to when I allowed myself to not get so wrapped up in the ‘concept’ and ‘research’ element. I felt I got the most out of my aesthetic development when I detached myself from the course ‘criteria’.

If you are wanting to do photography full time once leaving LCF, I advise to think early on into the course about how you can market yourself as both a commercial and creative photographer. Think about whether or not a brand can look to your work and see the ways in which you will advertise their product.

I would also advise to any future students, it’s down to you to make the most of your time at UAL (as with any institution) so make sure you engage with as many other students as you can.

www.oliviaoliver.co.uk

@olivia__olivia_