You grew up in the Macedon Ranges. How has regional Victoria influenced your art?
Growing up in the Macedon Ranges has had a huge influence on my photography. The Macedon Ranges is fortunate to have such variation in landscapes from the rivers that weave their way through the district and on to the rocky granite hills of the Great Dividing Ranges that undulate through the district. The Macedon Ranges still holds on to its strong rural qualities all within an hour’s drive of Melbourne.
Regional Victoria has influenced my work incredibly. I look at the landscape and will try and find an interaction between man and the environment. A lot of my work is documentation in style to show a time or situation. The drought over the last decade for instance was incredible to shoot; you had the beauty in the landscape but at same time the land was being brutally punished by nature itself.
What attracted you to photography? What special power does it hold?
Since I was child I have always been fascinated by photography; from early days as a child flicking through National Geographic, TIME and Life magazines at home. I am fascinated by photography as a form of documentation of one exact moment in time. With photography I love that feeling of what I see is what you get with my work.
Do you work with through any other medium?
Photography is my medium but I take influences into my photography from other mediums. I look at my photography and will ask myself, “how would this look as a painting?”
Given careful consideration your works are quite emotive. Can you tell you’ve take a great shot by how it makes you feel?
My photography is about honesty. I am not going out to shoot an image so I can get on to Adobe Photoshop later to manipulate it. What I see through the lens is the result I want when it is developed. I guess you could say in the honesty of my work there will always be an emotion in my work, because it’s all about seeing something and replicating that time and a place into an image that you can hopefully admire and appreciate for its honesty.
To get the great, or know you have taken a great shot to me may not come till later, when I have sat down and seen what I have taken. I need to sit back and look at the image for its composition, its theme and colour - these are all qualities that are needed in a shot; to know I have taken a great shot.
I once saw a piece of graffiti which said “Embrace Imperfection”. In your works you Embrace the Common… and yet somehow make it uncommon. Can you talk a bit about that?
I say my work is common in the theme but it can be interpreted for bracing uncommon qualities. I always shoot for a theme or a composition but beauty can be found in anything, it’s just how hard you look to find beauty. Once I find the beauty in the common I must capture it for the shot.
You’re now based in Kyneton. What does it mean to the town to have a space like Stockroom, and for you to be able to exhibit there?
Yes, I am based in Kyneton. Having Stockroom open has been fantastic. Macedon Ranges is fortunate in that there is an array of extremely talented artists and crafts people, many whom have lived in the district for decades, and with new people moving into the district, Stockroom has filled a void in Kyneton. It’s a fantastic gallery and now has great coffee too.
What photo moves you the most?
I must say there is no image that moves me more for the show. All the images move me. I find it extremely hard to say this image moves me more than another image. It is incredibly hard to try and narrow a show down to 20 images, let alone down to one image.
People always say if their house was burning down they’d grab the photo album first. Would you?
Each image chosen for this show moves me in their own unique way. Hopefully when you get down and see the show you will see what I am talking about.
Yes that’s true if your house was burning down the first thing you would grab would be the family photo album. I guess I would grab my laptop - that’s the modern day equivalent of the family photo album.
CATCH OLIVER'S NEW SHOW "LANDSCAPES & TRUCKS" IN STOCKROM'S PROJECT SPACE FROM JUNE 15 - JULY 10