Recently I gave an interview for Youpic. A week ago I created my photographer’s account at YouPic.com and in a really short time the account reached 76K views, thousands of shares, multiples of staff picked pictures and all without any pay advertising.
At the opposite of Instagram, I can clearly see the user’s interest in photography and growth into my following. It’s really refreshing to have such a good and sincere feedback in interest for the craft, in opposition to lifestyle post, or the endless beach babe of the gram.
As if it wasn’t already perfect, and rewarding, I just now a brand ambassador for YouPic and got the honor of being featured in the story with this awesome interview.
I also add here the full article transcript:
The man with endless creativity – Olivier”Hero” Dressen
By nikita florentine3 days ago
Day in and day out I come across talented photographers. Everything from diamonds in the rough to more well known names. I can sit for hours and study photos, trying to understand them and take in the feelings that the photo evokes. I’m always so curious to know what the story that lays behind the photo is. I came across Olivier about a month back and he seemed to be a never-ending well of creativity. Enjoy..
My name is Olivier “Hero” Dressen; I am an award-winning director/photographer based in Shanghai and Los Angeles. I started my career by doing animation films, then slowly moved on to films and then photography and, more recently, cinematography. As a designer/director/photographer, I had the chance early on to work on a multitude of projects with top brands, including collaborations with A-list Chinese and western celebrities but also Hollywood directors and actresses, musicians, athletes, and many more interesting characters. Photography and film allowed me to be in contact with people that, as an illustrator, I would never expect to be.
My photography is an extension of myself. I showcase photography that reflects a lot of the cross-media approach that I have put into my work. But I would say the common denominator in my photography and art, in general, is storytelling.
I do love shooting fashion photography, portraits, and more refined pictures made in the studio; I also have a passion for using my compact cameras. I capture moments that inspire me when I travel; when I meet unusual people or want to express a personal belief in my photography. I have this urge to share those moments with others; so I grab the camera, set up the shutter speed and iso, and press the trigger.
What or who has been your biggest source of inspiration?
It’s really hard to summarize. It goes from my friends to comics, films, photographers, directors, news, documentaries, etc. I think I take my inspiration from everywhere, and that’s why I see my work more like a kaleidoscope; because I am a reflection of the world that surrounds me.
I learned photography by carrying my Fuji around with me every day for more than a year. I used black and white because I didn’t want to be distracted by colors; and I only want to focus on the moment and the composition. With Fuji that compact, I also shot a series of homeless people I encountered during my different trips; because that was a way for me to express my frustration towards inequalities. I think photography and art, in general, keep you more aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
If you would look at your work, what would you say that your work is telling your audience?
I think my work is telling different stories, and they are all personal to me. Sometimes I am aware of the message I want to deliver; when other times it’s just an abstract feeling that I need to get off my chest. I think that it’s a lot about the viewer’s interpretation as well. But to summarise I see myself as a sponge that absorbs the world that surrounds me; and then retranslates it through pictures, films, and illustrations.
Lately, I feel the need to get more into the body, getting closer to humans, their intimacy, and fragility. Because when you are exposing your skin, you are revealing yourself as something more fragile and personal. There is no place for faking or pretending.
With the help of my super talented friend Kathryn Robbins, I started a series called “Skin Drop”. We used three different models from multiples ethnicities, Asian, African, and New Zealander. All are revealing themselves under a range of color lights, oils, and some minimalistic body painting. I loved the beauty and intimacy that reflected from that shooting.
So I want to extend that series with more collaborations gravitating around the intimacy within couples; hetero, lesbian, bisexual, gay, etc.
As a photographer, you strive to get better. What would you say is key to elevate your work?
Keep creating, meeting exciting people, and do something that touches you and talks to you personally; that will eventually touch other people around you. I’ve had this passion and drive to share with an audience since I was a kid. I don’t see myself quitting any soon.
My latest exhibition in Los Angeles was about my ongoing series, “Toys.”
A series I have been developing since I started photography. With my Toys, I basically transform people into objects and miniatures.
For this art show in downtown LA, I shot a fashion influencer, Alex Costa; and I used his persona as a way to express the phenomenon of this ongoing trend call “influencers.”
As you see, more and more people are using themselves as a definite form of expression. So I changed Alex into a human scale barbie.
With the help of Art Mafia in Hollywood, we built a giant toy box mirroring the photography.
Finally, we invited people to become the artwork by putting themselves in this giant barbie box, taking selfies, and sharing their photos on social media, becoming themselves “The Influencer”.
Alex was kind to put his time into it, and we had a great collaboration. The exhibition was a success and was featured in Hollywood reporter magazine and LA weekly that same month.
What are the three most important steps to follow to get that perfect shot?
It may sound cheesy, but I would say “follow your heart”. How many times do we have great ideas and just don’t put them in practice? It’s all about being in the moment, put on that hyper-focus and take the shot. Finally, selecting the right shot is a big part of the work as a photographer. I always think about the work of Man Ray; how he selected and cropped his photos until he got the right picture. So yeah, Follow your heart, be in the moment, and select the right photo!
Finally I wanted to address a special word for the YouPic community.
The passion and people on this platform are real!
I look forward to meeting more and more artists, and future collaborators.
To see more of Olivier please follow these links:
Once again, thanks to Youpic! definitely another milestone here along with my interview from FUJI two years ago!