Monday, June 1, 2009

MCM Mondays - Erwin Olaf

I had the happy fortune of being turned on to the work of incredibly talented photographer Erwin Olaf a while back via another talented lady photographer and blog friend, Erin, of Design Crisis. In his series, GRIEF, it is as if "everything stops before the music starts."

"These are enigmatic narratives and portraits, mostly of women, caught in private moments. The d├ęcor, the hairstyles, the clothes, and the affect all reference the early 1960’s in the US. The color palette further underscores this. Like his earlier work, these images are carefully staged in studio settings. This is not reportage. GRIEF is the last episode in the series following RAIN and HOPE which were called "mysterious and touching" by Ken Johnson writing for The New York Times.

The models here seem caught in intensely private moments of reflection or indecision. Up close it appears that some of them have been crying. The reason for these tears is never explicit. Similarly the colors are slightly drained. The images almost seem intended for a slick lifestyle editorial portfolio, but instead they are unexpectedly moody and haunting. The impact is unsettling. The artist has been influenced by the styles of the early years of the John F. Kennedy White House and inspired by the social change of the 60’s. A specific inspiration was a well-known 1961 Mark Shaw portrait of Jackie Kennedy. Although a small child in the 1960’s, Olaf has a powerful early memory of both Kennedys. He is now struck by the seeming globalization of the world, the rise of feminism and the middle class, and in particular, the pervasive influence of TV..." [Via Hasted Hunt]


erin@designcrisis said...

Thanks for the love!

I never get over these pictures. Every time I look at them, they are just as good as the first time.

Raina said...

I would really love to own that first one.

But what I really want is an Erin Williamson original.

House of Slappy said...

Raina - I second that emotion! Erin, can you see us batting our cute eyelashes right now?!