For French-born photographer Raphael Olivier, the exploration of photography goes hand in hand with traveling. Although he is currently based in Singapore and Hong Kong, his travels take him to places only limited by his passion.
Luckily, he got his hands on the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens just in time for a trip to China.
Please introduce yourself to the Lomography community and the readers of the Online Magazine.
My name is Raphael Olivier, I'm a french photographer, originally from Paris but living in Asia for the past 10 years.
How did you get started with photography?
My father was a photographer so I played around with cameras since quite young. But I only got into photography more seriously at the age of 18, back in Paris, when my roommate at the time was also a photographer and pushed me to get my own gear and start practicing more.
How would you describe your style as a photographer?
I like to think of my work as quite cinematic. I try to focus more on moods and atmospheres rather than a particular theme. I feel like everything can become beautiful and tell a story in proper light.
What subjects do you particularly like to take photos of?
I've always been fascinated by cities, their scale, their density, the millions of lives and stories that collide and coexist in their fabric. The energy, the craziness, but also the vulnerability and loneliness they create. So I like to explore urban environments, document their structures, and see the people living in them.
What would you count as your greatest achievements or favorite projects?
I think making a successful living from my photography is my biggest achievement. Ten years ago I would have never imagined that one day I would be paid to travel around the world, living freely, doing a work I love. I really feel incredibly blessed to have this today.
Digital or analogue? Does it matter which?
Digital all the way. I started with film and saw the arrival of digital, and all the possibilities it unleashed which were amazing. I know it's trendy to go back to film nowadays, but for me, digital is incredibly awesome. To be able to switch settings so freely, to shoot in very low light etc. I feel it gives me so much more control and so much more freedom, so I enjoy it more.
Any pointers on doing street photography?
Find interesting streets I guess... Not all streets are equal. Like the saying goes: if your photos are not good enough, put something better in front of your lens.
Can you tell us a little more about your Minitar Art Lens Minitar-1 Art Lens experience? Any interesting things you encountered or challenges?
The Minitar was very fun to use, so tiny and discreet. I could take it literally anywhere and people wouldn't even notice I was there. It's very very low-key and great for street photography.
Please choose your favorite photo(s) from your Minitar-1 Art Lens shoot. Why are they your favorites?
The first because it was quite experimental, I didn't really know where I was going and what I was going to shoot with this lens, then I got this image which I think really set the tone for the rest of the series. And the second because I think it's a strong portrait, powerful yet a bit funny. Also, I tried to include a touch of red in most of my images for this project, and the grandma's red socks are a nice finale in my opinion.
Any tips for first-time shooters using the Minitar-1 Art Lens?
Not really, just do your own thing, you'll see what works for you.
Do you have ongoing or upcoming projects that you would like to tell the community about?