(Happy Birthday Mr. E. Olaf.)
New work: Dusk
Erwin Olaf , born in 1959 in Hilversum, The Netherlands, has a passionate love affair with life, and fully enjoys everything that it has to offer. An ever-rising photographer, his work constantly garners new attention, and maintains the respect of his loyal fans (I'm one of dem).
His ‘oeuvre’ is a manifestation of his incredible passion and genuine engagement with subjects. Olaf has been professionally active for over twenty-five years, and in this period he has succeeded in evolving from a participating photographer to a director who creates his own reality. Olaf’s pictures are filled with humor, imagination and exuberance, but they go much further than simple visual intrigue. His work broach ideas and visions of freedom, beauty, loneliness, and being different. He convinces his public in a shameless and versatile manner, questioning established norms. Olaf consistently expresses his own standpoints, fulminating against narrow-mindedness, smugness, and rigid norms, but not without humor, bravura and bite. An authentic Olaf is a blow to the head, ruthlessly direct, but simultaneously wrong footing the viewer and poking fun. One reviewer remarked that in Erwin Olaf’s photographs everyone stares unwaveringly into the lens–thus looking straight into the photographer’s big blue eyes, as it were. Olaf approaches the world openly and enthusiastically and this is also the way in which, in his work, he dares to enter the public debate. Olaf is a master in generating his own world, whether this be in autonomous photographic series or film projects. He is also hypercritical, nothing escapes him, so that pictures are created with a placement composed so meticulously that it is almost painful to examine. With these, Olaf manages to produce fictitious yet convincing images of bygone days, fairytales and dreams, populated by historical figures, elves, dwarves, lunatics, and god knows who.