Olivia’s selfportrait

Was born the 7th of September 1984 and lives in Nørrebro, Copenhagen. After high school she travelled to Switzerland to be an actor in the film Nachbeben, where she became fascinated by the photographer at the set, and later found herself in photography. She moved to New York to work as an au pair girl and took a few photography courses while she was there.
Before she started at the International Center of Photography, she went back to Denmark to begin a one-year study at the Danish School of Photography: Fatamorgana. From here on things started happening with her career and she has now assisted the talented photographer , worked at The Lab in Copenhagen and shot a campaign for the Danish fashion brand Ganni with many more exciting things around the corner. See her photos here.

What is the best moment of the day?

In the afternoon when I have the time to go to the cinema. It makes me feel young and independent. I love to disappear into the universes of the movies.

What’s photography to you?
It’s a way to create universes and tell stories – like in the movies. It’s something that I do to hopefully inspire people and move them in some kind of way. I would love it if my photos could give people thoughts and make them happy.

When you were a child did you want to become a photographer?
At first I wanted to be an actor. I’ve never been good at the literary courses because I’m dyslexic, so I always knew I wanted to do something else and I have always been creative.

When did you start?
I’ve had an interest for photography since Primary School where I had a course where we worked with darkrooms, but my interest for photography got really serious and intense after I met the photographer at the film-set at Nachbeben, where I was acting. Then I went to New York and took a few courses and learned more about the technical stuff in photography, and later on I got accepted at the Danish School of Photography: Fatamorgana and moved back to Denmark.

Fatamogana is a school with a focus on artistic photography and not on fashion- and commercial-photography, which I wanted to do. I remember I had a presentation where they said they liked my colours and the universe in the photos, but that it was a little too fashion-like.

But I challenged myself in the art of photography and technical side and through that discovered that I wanted to go for fashion photography because it was at this field my photos were the strongest and where I got the best kick when I was shooting.

Since my interest for photography started, I have always cut out photos I liked from different magazines. At one point I noticed that the Danish photographer Signe Vilstrup had shot almost every single one of these photos. This was the reason why I wrote an email to her, telling her that I loved her work and would love to be her assistant. She called me back two weeks after, and at that time I was working as a cleaning lady and had my rubber gloves on and picked up the phone, trying to sound normal, when she said that I was more than welcome to come with her to the next shooting. I then started as her assistant and we got along very well. I learned a lot and was very happy working as her assistant.

One year after I got a phone-call from the Lab asking if I would be interested in working for them. I thought it was a great opportunity and said yes. This gave me a great experience and I was thrown into different situations where I had to take responsibility subsequently learning a lot.

When I worked at The Lab I also took photos in my spare time and it reminded me that I missed doing my own projects. I applied for some courses at the International Center of Photography in New York and quit my job at the Lab to return to the big apple.

I was lucky to get different assistant jobs when I was in New York. My first job in New York was to assist Helena Christensen at a photo shoot for Spanish Vogue and I worked with David Shery for Dazed & Confused and Brian Dobel on different jobs.

The International Center of Photography was – however – not what I expected. I was very disappointed with the courses, but it made me more confident with my own skills. After three months in New York I went back to Copenhagen and started as a freelancer at the Lab. That way I still had the opportunity to focus on my own projects. And this is where I am now.

What’s the most important task your work has?
The reason why I take photos is because I love to create stories, make beautiful pictures of women and create special universes. I would love to shoot beautiful portraits of women like Kate Winslet and hereby perpetuate the womanly beauty. I don’t have a specific goal I want to reach with it, it’s just because I enjoy it and have a passion for it.

Do you see yourself as a Danish photographer or more global?
I think my style is Scandinavian because of my culture, but I want to work in many other countries. I’m very inspired by international photographers like Helmut Newton, Peter Lindberg and Wendy Bevan.

Where do you seek inspiration?
In movies, friends, travels, light and atmospheres. I try not to find inspiration in magazines.

Some of my favourite movies are “The door in the floor”, “In the mood for love” & “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”. When I watch movies they inspire me in different ways. I have so many favourite ones and some are my favourite because of the light, some because of the mood and some because of the skin-tones and hair.

What’s your favourite magazine(s)?
Lula, Interview, Another Magazine & French Vogue.

What kind of music do you listen to at the moment?
I listen to Nina Kinert, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, OH Land and When Saints Go Machine and Balstyrko.

But when I’m shooting it depends on which music that brings the best atmosphere to the situation. The other day when I was shooting this young girl we played M.I.A to make her feel more powerful, and it helped a lot.

Do you have a muse?
My girlfriends are my muses. They are so beautiful and powerful and I’m very inspired by them. We are a group of friends who supplement each other very well both in working life and personally.

Anyone you would like to photograph?
Anja Rubik because I think she’s an interesting person, and Kate Winslet & Kate Blanchett. I also would have loved to photograph my grandmother some more.

How do you start on a new project?
I get an idea, and I don’t plan much, I only have a few boundaries and then I just play with it and try out different things. But it depends if its for a client or a personal project. If it’s a job, I’ll meet with the client and Art Director, and find an idea or expression they would like for the image and then we work towards that.

If it’s a personal project it often comes from an idea, but then I actually try not to plan everything, because I don’t like to be tied up to one exact photo, instead working with the expressions and feelings which arise between the person I shoot and me.

Where do you work on your photography and projects?
At locations with a good atmosphere. I love to develop ideas with other people, but when I’m at the set I like to take control.

Do you discuss your work with other photographers?
Yes I do. I’ve talked a lot with my co-workers and friends. Some of these people help me discuss my ideas and thoughts, and we help each other which is a huge gift to me, I appreciate it so much. It’s through this I develop myself.

How do other photographers work affect yours?
I notice the different tendencies/trends in photography, but I try not to be affected by them. This can be difficult, but I try to dissent myself from it and trying to find my own style.

Which challenges have you met in your work?
That I’m a young woman. Sometimes people don’t take is as seriously when the photographer is a young woman. I’ve lost one job because they thought I was too young even though they liked my photos.

Describe an evolution in your work, ?from your first projects to the present day.
I now have more control and know what I’m doing. I still challenge myself, but the technical stuff is easier to me now.

What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
Just to get to it and shoot some pictures. Find your own way, work hard and make sure you really want it because there will always be other people who want to take your place. Also, remember to always be nice to the people who are working below you, because you’ve been there yourself.

What’s the next project?
I am working on a project with two other photographers, but it is too soon to tell about how it’s going to end up.

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