Olya Oleinic — Edition 3 — Q&A


Olya Oleinic is a meticulous composer with an intriguing, visceral approach, usually executed in a combination of eye-popping colors. Her often extreme images are largely inspired by her never-ending pursuit of the new. For Edition 3, Olya shot a roll of Kodak Portra 400 on a Mamiya RZ67.


What attracted you to One Shot?

Probably its straightforward nature and the fact that there is so much spontaneity and unpredictability involved.


How did it feel to shoot a roll knowing there would be no edit and every shot would go into the world?

At first, like a very fun idea. Towards the end, like a huge pressure! Shooting one roll knowing every frame of it will be sold as print — sight unseen — made me feel like I better make them all count!


What do you love about analog photography?

Shooting analog is an emotional process. I love its different phases and transitions; the wait, anticipation, excitement and all the in-betweens.


How did you come up with your series?

I was given one word to work with — “friendship.” So I didn't really have a set of rules, only one. It's usually pretty hard to make work when there are no boundaries and anything is possible. So the first thing I did was to add a few borders for myself: I excluded the obvious possibility of depicting friendship through people. I tried to find an angle to define “friendship” as a term and came to think about how it's always associated with an image of a face. It usually describes a relationship between human beings, but did you ever think that even when looking at inanimate objects one’s eye usually gets attracted to subjects with shapes that resemble facial features? Looking at the sky, at an abstract pattern of the tree bark, a bathroom arrangement — often we find something that looks back at us, smiles or grins from afar. Building my idea on this, I decided to play with associative thinking and created an abstract story that hides quite a few faces within itself. It's called ‘Fusiform Gyrus’ which is the name of the human brain's part responsible for facial recognition. Technically, isn’t that the organ that makes friendships possible?


Did you ever imagine you'd be destroying your negatives on purpose?

Honestly, for the sake of results I destroy anything in the process, cut, burn, paint, I guess my practice is slightly broader than photography, so I could imagine anything! But speaking of destroying the ready-made work — obviously never.


Zachary McDonald