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August 4th, 2009 by stephan | Interviews
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Josh Olins

Josh Olins is on a roll. Open up the just about any magazine known for its cool perspective and you will find his work. Dazed, V, Love, Numero – you name them, he’s in them and with a resume as illustrious as his it’s easy to see why he’s one of the most coveted photographers working right now. Christopher Michael sits down with Josh to discuss his process, what influences his work and of course those incredible group shots.

*Updated with fresh pictures!

JOSH OLINS
// INTERVIEW //

Guest interview by 1 Management‘s Christopher Michael
» see more interviews on the One Management Blog

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1) When I think Josh Olins, aside from the obvious talent and sharp aesthetic that has become your brand, I also envision group shots that always seem to be executed with a rare precision…is that something you personally love or the result of including all of the required advertisers in the story?

Group shots have become an integral part of my work since I was first commissioned by Another Magazine to shoot a story for their main well with Joanna Schlenzka. For me it wasn’t anything to do with the advertisers but just a fresh and appropriate concept that would be a great challenge for me. I didn’t realize at the time that it would lead onto so much more or that I would enjoy it so much. A lot of what I love in photography is composition and what better way to do that than fill your frame with multiple characters.

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2) UK born, NY based (sometimes) where do you attribute the greatest geographical source of your ideas to come from?

UK based mostly but NYC frequently. I guess as with anyone inspiration can come at home or abroad. NY can be like a movie for me which of course I find inspiring and I guess you get so used to what’s on your doorstep sometimes that you need to step away from it to seek something new and exciting. My ideas are split between the two occasionally coming somewhere at 30,000 ft whilst traveling from A – B but I see things everyday that give me ideas.

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3) Surely the older sister’s solid reputation as a well respected Photo Rep had some influence on you growing up, what would you say are the most obvious traits that are perhaps the result of her influence..

I always tried to keep my distance from that side of her as I wanted to take my own path. But I do remember being petrified of showing her my pictures for the first time knowing how tough and brutally honest she could be and that she had built the careers of some of the most inspiring fashion photographers. Her advice was to start assisting immediately in order to get hands on experience. That was 10 years ago now, I was 19. I still seek her advice on a regular basis but am still reluctant to show her my pictures! Her advice and approval early on partly gave me the strength to persist and pursue my career. She’s amazing! Regarding similar traits, I’d like to think that we share a similar taste and that we both put everything into our work.

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4) In times past you’ve inquired on who styled certain stories that I’ve sent you, and it’s rumored that when working on a story you have your hands dipped in everything from hair&make up to styling and right down to the set itself…are you hiding an art director somewhere in your closet of talents as well?

I think it’s called being a control freak and slightly OCD. I love every element of the shoot and of fashion photography, and all are as important as each other. I guess I can be hands on at times but that’s because I want to push everything and everyone, as I push myself into creating something that offers a huge amount of satisfaction. The only way you improve is to constantly challenge yourself and try your hardest. I wouldn’t say that I’m hiding an art director within just that I think it’s the whole package that makes a successful shoot.

5) I’ve been told you went to school for Photography, did you go all the way through to the finish or move on earlier than planned?

I studied and specialized in photography whilst on a one year art foundation course. I did then get accepted onto a further degree course but after showing a few people my work, namely Kim, I decided to take the assistant route. It seemed more suited to me.

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6) The Range of Photographers and their involvement with casting is so diverse a spectrum to look at, but it seems that you are quite on top of your game when it comes to who’s doing what…how do you keep up with it all during a period where the turn over rates are through the roof?

I have to admit that I regularly look at models.com, thefashionspot and also follow the shows to see who does what. I’ve also worked with some great casting directors and stylists that also follow this as I do but as you say the turnover rates are crazy. At the end of the day I think that what’s important about casting is that the person or people you decide to photograph fit the character idea for the story.
Then it just comes down to who you can get a 1st option on. Casting can be a nightmare!!!!

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7) One of the qualities said to be lost in the business is the genius of matching up a model with the creative concept based on who is right for the story. Some would say that now we are willing to cast a Jackie where a Marilyn is required simply because she opened the right show.  Would you agree? Or do you think people are simply insulting the present due to their clouded idealistic memories of the past..

I think I just answered the first part above….in a way I partly agree and I don’t think it’s an idealistic memory. I just think that there are so many models, like there are photographers and stylists now that it’s harder to sift out the good ones. The ones with an actual talent for modeling and even acting. Someone that can become the character and interpret your direction or concept can make the pictures. It’s one thing to walk down the catwalk and look incredible but in my opinion modeling for a photograph is something totally different. But, we all have to start somewhere and what better way than to open a major show!

8) When can we look forward to a Josh Olins Book being Published of your works?

I think that question is very flattering but premature……I’m just getting started!

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19 Comments

  1. nando says:

    Great pictures he took. But still not the best I ever seen.

  2. that girl says:

    He’s so handsome

  3. Gustavo says:

    I´ve seen some of his photos for Numero and i liked it! Josh is talented and i hope he becomes more sought after within five years!

  4. TheKid says:

    I was never suprised this guy was doing so well in the cool magazines, his pictures are great! But who knew he was so beautiful too!

  5. Izara says:

    He should be getting photographed! He’s beautiful!

  6. Homotography says:

    Thanks for the insightful interview. I’ve been admiring Josh’s work for a while and its great to hear his story.

  7. trumancapte says:

    and also with the power of the stylist / art direcotor
    getting always stronger now..s very hard to know were the work of the photographer starts….

  8. maxx says:

    not bad not bad not bad at all..

  9. zet says:

    Weird choice of pictures. I don’t think they do Josh’s work justice. Where are the famous group shots like my favourite Vogue Homme story?? Or maybe it’s the Models ONE strategy to post only their models images… Still, one of the best one out there!

  10. Fredro says:

    Wow, I’ve just Looked at his work in depth. He is very talented indeed! And super pretty!!!

  11. debby says:

    the 2nd picture is amazing

  12. T Robbins says:

    OMG! His chiseled jaw line is getting me wet.

  13. Greg says:

    I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Sure hes good looking but his pictures don’t touch me.

  14. irene scioti says:

    Josh is a Very talented photographer and also a cool person to work with.
    I’ve been assisting him as digital operator in the past few months.
    At the end of a shoot he is a person whom you like to hang out with.

  15. Eric Hamilton says:

    I really enjoyed the interview – but I would have liked to see some of the famous group shots included! If you’re going to refer to it several times, show me!

  16. janelle says:

    Hi Eric,

    Some new pictures were added so that everyone can get a feel for the scope of Josh’s work and those beautiful group images he is known for.

    - j

  17. babbles says:

    Wow he’s very good looking-and he’s not even gay! He’s a straight man.

  18. Agnieszka says:

    Jesteś super!!! Niesamowity talent. Pozdrawiam:)

  19. nick says:

    i think his work is Amazing and consitant. working and learning with MERT and MARCUS must of paid off. I think Rankin said it best 90% connections and 10% percent creativity.
    im really glad hes making moves

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