reportajes de fotografia artistica - bodas en españa

Edward Olive - not your usual
FEATURES 26/03/2009 21:09 CYFE

"Couples love their sh*tty own wedding photos that nobody else could stomach looking at for more than 30 seconds unless you knew the people". We envy the few couples that look further then these one in a million pictures and end up with Edward Olive. Because Edward Olive is not just a wedding photographer. He's not just a photographer, but embodies the struggle of a great artist who is yet to get the recognition he deserves. Refusing to water his style down, his photos are raw, pure, grainy, erotic while remaining the delicateness and finesse of someone who puts thought in every aspect of his work. Just have a look at his photostream and you'll notice that your heart pounds faster. Please enjoy this feature with one of our favorite, if not favorite artists: Edward Olive.

Born in Ireland you now reside in Madrid. Got tired off the rain?

Today is march. Its 24 and wall to wall sun here in Madrid. Its 10 in the UK.

Tell us about the beginning days of Edward Olive and photography

I got into this by accident. I just bought a canon 350d and tripod to shoot my own acting book and the photos came out surprisingly well without knowing how to work the camera. I shot actor and musician friends and the people from my neighbourhood until in a shop one day shooting a portrait of the owner I got an offer to shoot his daughter's wedding. I had no clue how to shoot a wedding so I just did what I liked and none of the usual posed fake photos.. tough uncles smoking cigars, red hot female cousins dancing, little kids running around... I put the photos on the internet and that was it. Somehow I became a professional.

"I had no clue how to shoot a wedding so I just did what I liked and none of the usual posed fake photos.."

Wedding photography, the first captures of endless happiness or the last captures of freedom?

No idea.

Some thoughts that spring to mind:

I shot a wedding that lasted 2 weeks... and the other woman was a guest.

I shot another where the groom and friends are still locked up having been taken by heavily armed military police in ski masks during the wedding police video allegedly taking with them 300 kg, 1.9 million and other things in the raid too :

Couples often are looking for ‘traditional' wedding pictures and sometimes don't understand your work. How do you deal with this?

I agree now to just a very few family group shots. Say 6-8.

Anyone looking for the typical lined up posed fake smile photos all day has to hire someone else. Life is short and I am lucky enough to be in a position where I just don't need that kind of job any more. I keep my highrolling costs down to buy artistic freedom and time off to do other things. I have done all posed in lines weddings. It made me unhappy and it could potentially damage my career long term if the photos ever come to the light of day.

I try to get the 6-8 group photos I agree to do over with as quickly as possible not just so I can get on with the real photos... the tears, laughter, hugs, red hot female guests in short cocktail dresses... but also the quicker you shoot them the more natural and fun they look. I try to do them in the drinks reception rather than posing in lines on cathedral steps. Somehow the church atmosphere makes people much stiffer and formal. A drink, cigarette and girlfriend in the hand soon loosens them up a bit. Even then a quick politically uncorrect joke can get that flash of natural better than anything. I shoot 3-4 photos a second and aim to get a little spark in that almost normal wedding photo that just makes me almost think it has some value.

You choose your art over your financial income. Is it still hard getting by?

I am lucky in that in 2008 I worked far too much and didn't spend it. In 2009 I am also very lucky I have enough weddings I don't need any more. This is just a perfect position to be in. It means I can pick and choose the weddings I accept.

Still I admit I don't yet drive an Aston Martin. Nor do I own a superyacht. These would be welcome additions to my mountain bike.

Many couples are very affronted when they call to ask for a quote and before any discussion of prices are interviewed (or perhaps better said grilled) as to what they think of my photos, what they are looking for in their pictures etc etc. Only if they have bothered to spend time looking at the pictures; have really been captured by what they saw and only if they make it clear that they want me for what I do can we proceed.

It may sound arrogant but its just to keep sane and keep up standards. If I have to shoot generic rubbish all day long term it will not pay off and will make me throw in the towel. People will say that Edward Olive isn't as good as he thinks he is. Look at the photos they look like normal photos to me. It also guarantees that clients are actually happy with what they receive.

"Real film grain from a Fuji Neopan 1600, motion blur, shallow depth of focus from f1.2 L lenses, creative framing and unposed portraits is just often totally alien to them."

Many couples especially in Spain think that just photos in black and white is a little radical. Real film grain from a Fuji Neopan 1600, motion blur, shallow depth of focus from f1.2 L lenses, creative framing and unposed portraits is just often totally alien to them. However to make any attempt at art its essential to have creative freedom. Even when you have creative liberty its hard enough to take decent pictures.

You would be surprised at the number of people who contact me every day to ask for quotes who have never even bothered to look at my pictures or think about who I am. Often when they are on the phone and made to open my web while talking to me there comes a quick stony silence of horror. The world of art and the world of commercial, fashion, wedding, journalistic photography is usually totally at odds.

At least they realize the danger of having "artistic" photos before they are taken. As ex UK commercial litigation solicitor it avoids court cases later.

We never get tired of the pretty ladies with few clothes in your photos, will you ever get tired of taking them?


Life is short.

There are few pleasures.

Who and what inspires you?

I don't really look at photographers for inspiration. I have never studied and have never had a mentor. I like listening to music, reading, going to the theatre, travelling... whatever ... for inspiration. Today Frank Sinatra, both for its music and its photography. If I could do wedding photos like Frank can sing that would be just perfect.

That said my favourite photographer here in spain and in my opinion number 1 by a long shot is Catalunya's Jordi Gual. This guy makes his own photographic paper for home done prints from mixed emulsions and art paper. He develops his own slide film in his bathroom. He is way less compromising in his work than I am and has way more talent. He is perfect to put me down to size and motivate me to try harder, be better and push limits further.

I have also always like Toshihiro "Tommy" Oshima. When I first found his work on flickr I thought, ah it looks a bit like mine but like better, much better. Now I see we are very different but he can certainly take some incredible pictures.

In weddings if I start to get lax thinking I know how to take a few nice pictures I look at I soon realize I am still small time commercially and lacking artistically.

Jeff Ascough also takes some really, really super wedding photos even if he does use modern digital cameras now.

Looking through my shelves I would include amongst my favourite books:

Platon's "Republic", Anton Corbijn' "U2", James A Fox's "Boxing", Helmut Newton's "Works", William Claxton's "Steve McQueen", Mario "Testino's Let me in" and last week's purchase Henri Cartier Bresson's "The silence inside - portraits".

I would however add though that whilst these photographers are all incredible, they are aided by having some really wonderful A list models who both pose fantastically and draw attention to their work. I would also say that I believe that Jordi Gual and Tommy Oshima, who are way less well known, are in no way inferior. Only when we can take objective views of photography and photographers can we really understand what makes a photo great. It is incredibly important to be critical both of ourselves and even of the greatest photographers. Taking successful pictures of super models in underwear or world leaders is easier than becoming famous for shooting the unknown.

I am not really a photographer. I should be an actor except I am usually an unemployed actor.

Is your experience as an actor an influence on the way you look at visual communication, and the way you look at photography?

Yes absolutely.

I am not really a photographer. I should be an actor except I am usually an unemployed actor.

To shoot people you need to understand the difference between fake emotion that looks fake and real emotion / emotion that looks real. I strongly recommend reading the works of Constantin Stanislavski regarding method acting and feeling rather than showing. I don't stand for over acting in my photos. I don't care what I get as long as its real. Kids are easy. So are old people. Most people between 14 and 60 find having their photo taken very hard. Its much easier with professional actors, singers, dancers, politicians... public figures in general. They may not know Stanislavski but they know how to project. Several years training in drama and years struggling in castings, films, TV, commercials brings a totally different outlook to the transmission of the interior to the lens.

"imagine you are in a photo shoot" i said (in french) to the french wedding guest to help him as a direction for his portrait after he had been having a few problems getting the hang of it (much to the amusement of the other french wedding guests)"

To a lesser extent it also assists in knowledge of how to light, rehearse, set up a shot, use cinema as reference, camera technique, long days and moments of intensity etc etc. I never studied lighting but I have done enough shoots as an actor to have seen how to light just about any small scene. I have never bought fancy studio lighting but I made some from junk and things from the everything for one euro Chinese shop that works just fine. Of course all the ideas were copied from the lighting, tubes, Kelvin gels, reflectors, tripods, polystyrene, wooden clothes pegs I had seen on set. People who work in commercials and cinema are have the absolutely highest level of technical knowledge of lighting, color, shots, angles, makeup, sequences of shots. Many look like builders and swear like builders. We don't think of them as artists but they are above me by a long way.

We see a lot of black and white work of you, and also some color. What makes you shoot black and white over color, and vice verse?

In a wedding its not like shooting a commercial where wardrobe, models, film and set are all combined with a limited color range. In weddings especially mothers in law go for orange, purple and green. It can give me a picture with too many elements. I cut things down to just the tear in the eye that interests us, the hug in the far right corner... whatever.... by working with shallow depth of focus and either monochrome or dominant colour colour photography.

In any event digital colours don't look real. In film it's a lot easier especially in medium format Hasselblad v series 6x6 or Mamiya 645. Colour saturations, tones, contrasts and textures are way better than the super clean too perfect looking shots I get from say my Canon 5d mkii. The Canon 5d mkii is way improved on textures, highlights and soft colours over the original 5d but its still not the real thing yet.

This year I will be shooting more colour film in weddings. Hopefully they will be more at dusk and less at midday. I much prefer higher kelvins if I can get them. The problem in weddings is I don't choose the time of day. I also don't control the lighting in venues. For example in Madrid the Ritz is wonderful at night and has soft garden and table lighting but many lesser venues have flat yellowy overhead lighting that makes things really hard especially in colour. Its not the quantity I look for it's the quality of light. Many clients just think turning up the lights will help. Probably the contrary would help me.

Which are your favorite items to take on the road with you?

In my personal life:

Any Hasselblad V series camera with 80mm f2.8 t* and 50mm f4 t* a load of a16 645 and 124 220 6x6 and a12 120 6x6x backs + lightmeter. They are way my best photos.

A Mamiya m645 is close behind.

A few old metal 35mm cameras like Pentax Spotmatic or smaller Olympus om2 are great with 50mm f1.4 or 1.8 lenses and perhaps a wide angle.

A Lomo lca is cool except mine is broken.

A Holga or Diana with black tape for sunny days is cool too.

You can't take too many.

At Christmas I took a Hasselblad, a canon a2 (eos 5 film) back to England and both broke on me leaving me to steal my Dad's Olympus om10. Now I always travel with 4 minimum.

In my weddings:

I take less risks and more weight and travel with a Hasseblad, a Canon eos 5d mkii, a Canon eos 5d, 3x Canon eos 5/a2 (film), an 85mm ef f1.2 L, 50mm f1.2 L, 24mm f1.4 L plus a 50mm f1.4 and something else like a 14mm f2.8 L ... not to mention laptop, harddrive, 3 x16gb cards, 3 x8gb, batteries, cables, chargers, wheely Lowepro camera bag, Hugo Boss Black Label silk suit, and leather soled Salvatore Ferragamo shoes (leather soles are better for dancing merengue with red hot female guests).

I would add however that a Canon eos 300 f1.8 50mm is just fine. I have fancy fixed focal length L lenses for the same reason as the fancy suits - to look fancy. Outside work these things never leave a locked safe. Far too expensive and fragile.

Many photographers think they can't take good photos because they have low end equipment. To that I would say in digital these cheapo yet still expensive non full frame multiply by 1.6 lens cameras with horrible digital noise at 1600-6400 with fake colours are indeed horrible, but in film cameras it's the film that acts as the sensor and hence any reflex film camera is great. On ebay there are lots under a hundred dollars with lens. They may not impress millionaire clients but they take great photos.

You seem to have changed the ‘boredom' of digital for the pain of analog, why?

"Since the day I got my first film camera (9 months after my first digital camera) I have never ever taken a digital photo for myself"

Digital is easy, quick, cheap, safe. It produces huge numbers of perfect photos. Its perfect for standard professionals and tourists. It is ultimately however disappointing. Too perfect. Too clean. Too safe.

I only use digital for work when we don't have the budget to shoot the whole thing on film. Or safety backup at work when shooting film.

Film is the real thing. 35mm is wonderful.

Medium format film is just another level.

My personal preference is for square 6x6 (or 645 or 4.5x4.5 can be fun too).

Since the day I got my first film camera (9 months after my first digital camera) I have never ever taken a digital photo for myself. Only at work when the client wanted digital or budgets were not what it needs to spend 5 weeks scanning and rubbing out dust from scans in Photoshop.

In my personal life outside work its film or nothing... and preferably Hasselblad (also Rolleiflex, Mamiya, Pentacon Six... occasionally).

Digital is just a marketing con by Japanese companies wanting to make people spend money.

Its just a con.

They secretly know film is far better still but they won't admit it.

On ebay you can get a vintage medium format masterpiece of a high end camera for far less than a plasticcy bottom end reflexdigievilcam.

"Film is the real thing. 35mm is wonderful."

What is your favorite weapon of choice?

In my opinion Hasselblad v series film cameras are the world's best cameras. I have three, two of which work. I broke one submerging it in the sea too many times like for some of these: Hasselblad+Sea on Flickr

They are heavy, slow to focus, only f2.8 light, no auto focus, no light meter built in, mine have no auto film advance, often only 12 shots per roll, pain in the rear lab development, special 120 film... bah awful... but they shot this for me : I don't argue with results.

But not only is the whole experience of taking the photos is much nicer (the nude ladies love the shutter sound in shoot I don't know why) the results are just much better.

Other cameras only have any sense for low weight, speed, lighter lenses, af, cheap easy development, for a change...

There is only one camera for me though. The photos from my other cameras are just not the same. When you open up the pictures in the computer in full size its just another world... especially in colour. I just don't know how to do Hasselblad colours except with a Hasselblad.

Real film grain from a Fuji Neopan 1600, motion blur, shallow depth of focus from f1.2 L lenses, creative framing and unposed portraits is just often totally alien to them.

If the CFYE delivery guy stood on your doorstep, what should he bring you: a crate with cold beer or a box with expired film?

Beer is fine, especially if its Guiness, stout, bitter, real ale, Midlands, Yorkshire, German, Belgian or Czeq real beer but it give me a beer gut unfortunately. I used to be a full fat foie gras and champagne consumer in the posh weddings until I got lard *rsed. I have lost 9 kilos and am not going back.

Expired film would be good. I am looking for some way past its sell by date 400 35mm slide film and Ilford 3200 in 120 black and white film at the moment.

I would add however that you can't knock all new films and dismiss them as too clinically perfect. Lucky film in 35mm and 120, Shangai GP3 in 120 and Era 35mm all from China are way freaky even brand new. Perfect for the less than sane photographer.

Do you experience a lot with the different kind of film that's available on the market, maybe even get freaky with the chemicals for crossprocesing?

I shoot anything, from the best to the worst. All film is good film. Cross processing can be risky but if it works its funky. I would add however that you still need to shoot a good photo. There is too much xpro lomo on the www that is just not all that.

Generally I buy whatever film is cheapest... and always out of date (with the exception of Chinese films that are bad enough already without going out of date as well).

I also use the cheapest lab to develop my film. It has the oldest chemicals and the funniest effects. The local pros turn their nose up at it.

Since I lack creativity and ideas and have almost no Photoshop knowledge I leave things to a certain extent up to the chemical lottery. It thinks for me. Its either fantastic or nothing. Anything in the middle has no interest for me. Except at work where I tone things down a bit.

Please elaborate on your approach to shooting photos

I Shoot first think later... or I just don't think

I shoot off lots of cameras and films at once

I try to get some nice ladies preferably with few clothes in the photos - they will be better.

I take risks. I don't care.

But don't listen to me I know nothing. I am faded and repeating myself now.

Do you have any goals set for yourself in 2009?

At first I just wanted to get through a global crisis financially.
Now that's not a problem I want to have a good time... relax, go to the gym, work on my abs, sleep in the mornings, go out dancing salsa, go to the outdoor pool that has topless girls, ride my mountain bike, eat out....
If I do all that the photos come out just fine.
Clients come too. The more you relax and don't care the more clients sense success. Clients like success.

edward olive
actor & fine art / wedding photographer

Edward Olive - articulo en
1 April 2009

Edward Olive nacido en Dublín es una persona polifacética que incluso llega a tener una breve entrada en la wikipedia además de un extenso Curriculum y en el que destaca, a parte de su profesión como fotógrafo artístico de bodas, el haber sido actor, profesor de derecho, profesor de dicción e interpretación, doblador y hablar más idiomas de los que yo jamás conseguiré aprender (Inglés, Francés, Español, Portugués, Italiano, Rumano y Aleman).

Aquí la entrevista, la cual NO ha sido modificada en absoluto.

Todo fotógrafo tiene un comienzo, donde se inició la chispa de la fotografía, ¿Cuando empezaste con la fotografía y porqué continuaste con ella?
Quería hacerme mi book de actor en vez de pagar un fotógrafo de barrio bastante dinero para hacerme las típicas fotos me compre una canon 350d, trípode y cable y empecé a hacer fotos sin ni saber como funcionaba la camera. Después hice fotos a amigos actores y cantantes y generalmente de la gente de mi barrio. Unos tres meses después de comprar esta primera camera estaba en una tienda en mi calle y cuando el dueño vio el retrato que había hecho me propuso hacer las fotos de la boda de su hija. Nunca había visto fotos de boda así no sabía como eran. Acepté el encargo y hice las fotos como me daba la gana – fotos de la gente riéndose, abrazando, llorando, bailando… lo que sea… Puse las fotos en internet y tuvieron mucho éxito. A partir de allí era fotógrafo profesional.

Tus fotografías escapan del posado típico y se centran muchas veces en pequeños detalles o momentos intensos y diferentes, algo que algunas personas no entienden por lo que me pregunto ¿Qué clase de perfil tiene alguien que te contrata?

No estoy en Magnum;
no hago fotos para el País;
no tengo exposiciones en la Reina Sofia;
no hago fotos de Kate Moss para Vogue;
no hago las fotos de prensa para Almodovar;
no hago portadas para los CD de Madonna;
no tengo ni Canon ni Hasselbad ni Kodak ni Ilford como sponsor..
… etc etc … etc etc … etc etc … etc etc
Básicamente solo gano mi vida trabajando para parejas haciendo las fotos de sus bodas.
Entre los clientes de bodas hay personas de todo tipo pero muchos son pintores, escultores, fotógrafos, actores, diseñadores gráficos, personas que trabajan en moda, músicos etc etc… Son clientes con sensibilidad artística, estilo proprio y muchas veces conocimientos técnicos de fotografía.
Esto dicho, todavíalas parejas de las bodas que mas salen en prensa como las de Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez y Marc Anthony etc etc no me llaman. No tengo nombre suficiente para estar en su lista de fotógrafos posibles. Las Si no tengo un nivel de fama de Joe Buissink o Mario Testino no van a saber quién soy y muchísimo menos contratarme.

¿Qué buscas exactamente cuando estás en la escena, en qué te centras?
No pienso. Cojo lo que hay.
Pienso después cuando veo los escaneos de los negativos llegando al ordenador. En este momento busco un punto mágico… una lagrima, una mirada, una luz que cae encima de una curva de una mujer…
Los asuntos técnicos como exposición, encuadre, colores me dan igual. Normalmente se pueden arreglar y si no se pueden.. da igual. Muchas veces las mejores fotos son las que salen mal técnicamente.
A lo mejor de manera inconsciente busco este punto en el momento de tomar la foto pero no lo sé. Disparo muchas fotos y muy rápido con muchas cameras y muchas películas diferentes. La gran mayoría de mis fotos no valen nada pero dentro de tantos disparos espero tener algo que vale algo.
En mis fotos de boda mi preocupación no es solo de hacer una foto que va a gustar a los novios – esto es fácil - si sale su hermana o tío un pelín artísticamente van a gustar a la foto. Quiero hacer una foto que puede hablar a cualquier persona incluso si no nos gustan las fotos de boda en general… no tenemos ni p*ta idea de quienes son las personas que salen en el reportaje de la boda. Da igual. Queremos ver las fotos por el arte y emoción que tienen. Si llego a este punto con las fotos es lo mejor que puedo hacer para el cliente.

¿Qué consejo le darías a aquellos fotógrafos diferentes?
No hay que escuchar a nadie.
Cada persona tiene que tener su propia opinión, su proprio punto de visto, su proprio estilo, su propia técnica.
C*gar fotos no importa.
Es mejor un fotógrafo que tiene ideas y emoción y que no tiene ni p*ta idea de como funciona una camera menos en modo automático.
Hay que tomar riesgos y probar nuevas cosas.
Es mejor escuchar a música, leer un libro o ver paisajes en atardecer para inspiración que mirar los fotógrafos ya conocidos.
¿Qué sé yo? Yo no soy nadie. Solo sé dos trucos que repito a veces para dinero.
Lo que yo hago esta ya hecho. A lo mejor yo ya no tengo más ideas. Hago lo mismo. Hago lo fácil. Hago fotos bonitas para clientes.
Es fácil hacer una foto que tiene éxito de un súper pibon en pelotas o de un súper famoso o de un acto famoso de historia.
La gran mayoría de las fotos en libros de fotografía o en exposiciones me parecen tener interés porque sale Brad Pitt, la guerra civil española, los paisajes de la india etc etc. El reto es de hacer una foto de un cubo de basura y que la foto sale como una obra de arte y tiene miles de personas flipando. Esto es más difícil.
Hay que reinventarse y preguntarse si ya vale algo lo que hacemos. Hay que ser súper crítico de los demás y también con nosotros mismos.
Hay que rodearse de genios si podemos - que nos hacen sentirnos inferiores.
Hay que romper reglas y tener h*evos.
Hay que saber decir no cuando te ofrecen un contrato para fotos ordinarias.

De todas tus fotografías ¿cuales son de las que te sientes más satisfecho?
No soy satisfecho. Mis fotos están bien a veces pero tienen que ser mejores.
Tengo que mejorar y hacer mejores fotos mañana que he hecho hoy.
Miro mis fotos el primer día y estoy súper feliz con lo que ha pasado en la camera y en el laboratorio. 6 meses después me doy cuenta que hubiera podido hacer mejor, más preciso, mas lejos…

Edward Olive on Jealousy of pros

We at CFYE asked ourselfs: What the f* is a professional anyway? Especially in creative lines of work, what defines someone's level of competence? We didn't go to artschool so we can't lay it out to you in big expensive words, but for example: Streetart doens't know any professionals, nor amateurs. There are people that make their living with it, there are kids that do it because they don't have anything else to do. It knows no limits or boundries and is, in a way, ultimate creative freedom.

What defines art, or being an artist? We know what we like when we see it, so we feature any artist that comes in our scope. But somehow, in some lines of creative work that wakes up the jealousy and envy in a few 'professionals'. Especially (but certainly not only) photographers seem to have a hand in this. We have our opinions about why that is, but instead of rambling about it ourselfs we present you a more interesting piece of thought, Edward Olive's:

Many people give me the impression that they think they cannot be great because they are an amateur only and not professional. B*llsh*t.

You don't need to "learn" photography.

I have turned down a job in the Madrid photography school because I would just make them into semi-clones of me. That wouldn't help them and it wouldn't be good for my business. I only know like two tricks and I don't want everyone doing either cheap copies of them and I certainly do not want to see better-than-the-originals-heavily-influenced-work.

Art - in theory

I have no idea about such things.

I have no idea how they teach art or photography and I am not interested in knowing.

Art in reality is:
soul, connections, communication, capture, preservation of moments in time, people and their insides, places and their essence, original, thought, original technique, original points of view, the provocation of thought, cathartic experiences, plays on words/puns/paradoxes, oxymoron, humour, sadness, joy, pleasure, any emotion, breaking barriers and conventions, personal exploration, the sharing of one's experiences, obsession, reinvention, revolution, new angles on old subjects, putting together or combining preexisting elements in new ways, a reflection of an era and its norms, a reaction against the era and its conventions, a rebirth of old thoughts and techniques from the past that don't now exist, political comment, social awareness, anything, everything.
who knows?

No doubt a real art student/teacher/artist will just say I don't know what I am talking about and define it correctly. When I look now at my own work I know I don't yet come up to these standards of art. I will work on that.

"..talentless soul-less local wedding photographers who pay bribes to corrupt priests to control monopolies on photography in church weddings in Spain have stood in front of me, pushed me, flashed my wide open f1.2 available light photos..."

Art - in practice

Of course we all know qualification as/ respect artistically for/art and artists and artwork only depends on: Fame, contacts and money. Nothing else matters.

These people who run galleries only care about money and helping their friends. They never actually look for real new talent and don't see it when it stares them in the face right up close so they can feel it breathing heavily at them ready to punch them if they flinch.
Those who don't fall into this dreadful generalization can write to me personally at info


There those who have supported me and who have gone out of their way to help me. The truly great Japanese photographer Toshihiro / Tommy Oshima discovered me when I was starting and put his name on the dotted line being the first to publicly recognize what I do.
I don't forget things like that. It helped. A lot.

In contrast there are many photographers who still refuse to recognize publicly that what I do. They know who they are and they may well read this. They will lose out. They are not helping themselves.


I had a technical problem one day and top Spanish (amateur) photographer Hugo left his family lunch on a Saturday to come and lend me his most expensive camera to help me correctly fulfill a wedding contract as best it could. I made a mistake putting myself in a position where I was open to technical failure risks without adequate backups. I made a mistake. That will not happen again and he helped out. Big time.

In contrast talentless soul-less local wedding photographers who pay bribes to corrupt priests to control monopolies on photography in church weddings in Spain have stood in front of me, pushed me, flashed my wide open f1.2 available light photos... anything just to stop me fulfilling my only aim of doing the best f*cking wedding photos I am able to do for my clients. The abuses of those mafia style cartel members who force poor Spanish couples to have their dreadful wedding photos through exclusive deals with churches is discussed here for those who read Spanish: These people are pathetic. They know who they are.

"I receive large numbers of emails from people who know nothing of photography other than an instinctive connection to emotions expressed photographically"

Constructive criticism

There are professional and amateur photographers who take time each day to give me feedback and their feelings about my pictures on the web. I receive large numbers of emails from people who know nothing of photography other than an instinctive connection to emotions expressed photographically. I would not exist artistically and continue creating if it was not for the kindness of these people.

In contrast there are those who have sought to belittle my pictures. This has happened here in Spain, particularly in Madrid. Also when I travelled to Paris some time ago and shared my photos on the internet I was shocked by how much certain Parisian photographers showed hostility to me personally and to my pictures.

Jealousy does not help. It eats a person up from the inside.

Not everyone has to like all forms of art or all artists, but when attacks are motivated by spite and a feeling of personal insecurity of those seeking to put down others....

We all need critical criteria both for ourselves and others. It is important to decide what we like and what we don't, what is truly wonderful and what is mediocre. But we need to be subjective and/or objective, based on reason and/or instinctive emotional reaction. Not based only on ulterior motives.

Best job possible for the client

There are professional photographers who refused to hire me as assistant when I was starting out through fear of losing clients or for fear of being shown up by the new kid.

In stark contrast is the example of Cesar Almodovar the Spanish fine art photographer/visual artist and audiovisual production company owner who did not hesitate to call me to help him with a maximum social level wedding job he felt he needed assistance with to provide the best he could for a VIP client who was his close personal friend. His only concern was to do the best he could for the wedding couple thinking that he also needed a second shooter who could do something very different to the main shooter. If that meant bringing me in he didn't hesitate to fill that gap in his team.

Barack Obama does not know everything, he isn't best at everything. He needs the best people with him to do the best job.

Check this guy who came with me to a recent wedding: Weddings may not be for him. Although he has talent (probably more than I do) being a principal wedding shooter may not be for him for reasons due more to a wedding photographer being like Rocky against Clugger Lang for 12-14 hours. But for fine art photography he's someone you want at your side.

Foot in the door

There are photographers with connections in galleries and photography events who could have helped me get my foot in the door and didn't. It would not have cost them anything. They deliberately chose not to help. They may pretend it didn't occur at the time to help. That's not true. They are not true to themselves.

If we see someone we think is young and new and red hot we should say so. We should not think if we will lose. Helping someone really talented is good all round for everybody. Nobody loses.

Check this guy who has shot one wedding (and just about everything around him) with only cheapo cameras I suspect bought on his student loan and probably beat me at my own game: Young, sensitive, talented, good looking.... Grrrr. Delete him. Not.
"Instead of schools and fancy formal qualifications you need self belief, grit, endurance, the ability to take the knocks the knock backs, the derision, the people who want to take advantage of you, those who try to put you down, the years in obscurity."

Do you think the role of self taught people in general (in photography, but outside it as well) will get bigger in the 'professional' world?

Anyone can make art whether music, photography, painting, poetry, dance.

You don't need the best equipment, you don't need the contacts, the venues, the top schools to create art.

Some teachers teach because they can't do. Some teachers teach because they want to help. You need some luck there.

Instead of schools and fancy formal qualifications you need self belief, grit, endurance, the ability to take the knocks the knock backs, the derision, the people who want to take advantage of you, those who try to put you down, the years in obscurity.

You may never make it, you may never make a living.

If to make art is enough then that is enough.


Today there is almost everything we can study for free on the internet. It opens us up to the world as I suppose artist travelling to Paris from remote villages did hundreds of years ago.

Blogs are the new underground art movements.

The internet is also the most democratic way to put things out there, whether it's a video of your piano playing, or mime skills... or whatever on youtube or your photos in blogs...

Who knows where you studied? People see the results not the CV.

I get people writing to me all the time to be an assistant sending me their CV. I have never read one. I do like to see their pictures though.
Are professionals right to act 'smug' and protect what they got?

Go mess around with your guitar - it may sound better.

Go drop your camera on the floor -focus is over-rated.


Many people give me the impression that they think they cannot be great because they are an amateur only and not professional.

Give me someone new, hungry, fresh, raw, with defects and technical inadequacies, imperfections over some all perfect, done it for twenty years the same, emotionally sterile, grey, professional living off his contact base. They should just disappear.

Teenagers are cool. They have youth. Youth is good. I'm getting old, I'm losing it and the more professional I get the more I lose it.

Clients should never feel really safe. They should always be aware that you aren't totally tamed... that you can end up radicalizing some element of a job, that you may end up f*cking one of the red hot female wedding guests or one of the models on the shoot... and that's definitely not professional whatever "fine art" nude expired polaroids and release you may get from it.

We need to remember the early days when we had principles and it wasn't all about the money.

Being a full time professional is a quick way out of creativity. We need to do things just to have fun, to experiment, to break rules, to get things wrong, to take risks. Playing safe and professional all the time is just dull.

True greatness comes from the ability to risk losing it all.

Anything less is compromise.

Compromise is not art.

Compromise is for those who commute to work to an office, discuss what they saw on TV the evening before in the subsidized canteen, commute home, watch TV with ready meal and go to bed early without sex only stopping on weekends to go the supermarket in the boring regular car and to the DIY store if they are really feeling daring.

Those who compromise are comfortable and happy in their suburbia.

Those who wish to create art are frustrated and misunderstood in their squats and shared flats with DIY-free mouldy bathrooms.

A very few artists live in mansions. To keep on the edge must be tough living in a mansion. It doesn't matter whether you are a singer, an actor, a photographer. It must have its advantages though. I wouldn't know. I don't make what Mario Testino does yet and I may never do. He's a bad example though. No doubt he has some pretty f*cking good houses but he's still full on and not holding back at least as far as I can see:

Go mess around with your guitar - it may sound better.

Go drop your camera on the floor -focus is over-rated.

Edward Olive - Amateur fine art photographer Sunday- Friday and professional wedding photographer on Saturdays
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