Where did he get that unfailing eye, his sensibility, imagination? Undoubtedly, they are gifts but perhaps in part developed during his years as a Paris based advertising photographer and movie director. Today Jacques Olivar devotes himself full-time to fashion photography. Yet the words 'fashion photography' are inadequate to describe his unique style and the sheer beauty of his work as is evidenced in this gorgeous folio-sized collection that accompanied an exhibition at the Young Gallery in Brussels.
We are all too familiar with the over-used 'One picture is worth a thousand words' - Olivar's photos tell stories, reveal not only faces but hopes, dreams, determination, and acceptance. He has been quoted as saying, 'I always try to match two different stories together. There is the location of the story'the atmosphere, the light, the colors'and the story of the woman'her eyes, her feelings, her attitude, her clothes. I like to choose for my pictures the least unexpected environment: a junkyard or a trashy diner, a lone street in a deserted ghost town or the poetry of a gas station. Then, I drive it into the ground to get the glamour of the situation.'
So true. Who else would find poetry in a '60s gas station in Nevada or in a brothel in Cape Town? Yet it is there and Olivar has captured it in this series of beautiful young women photographed in the USA and elsewhere. The photos represent some of the best from his advertising campaigns and shootings highlighting such designers as Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Dior, and Donna Karan.
When you look at one of these photos, study it, you think you've found its essence. But you haven't - look again and again, you'll find more. Forever Young is a rarity, works of art between covers. Enjoy!
- Gail Cooke
le 14 avril 2012
Jacques Olivar's photography book 'Forever Young' is a beautiful collection of intriguing and original pictures. It is intended as a tribute to the dream of eternal youth, with all its longings and inabilities to hold a steady place in the rough and ever-changing world around us.
The outdoors depicted in these pictures range from the gritty urban settings of New York and L.A., through deserted towns in the Rockies and desolate decrepit old gas stations in Nevada, to some rundown parts of Cape Town. The themes in this collection of photographs are very self-consciously modeled after the Hitchcock's vision ' glamorous heroines placed in some iconic American, often blue-collar, settings. Olivar shares with Hitchcock a very European appreciation of America, and manages to project his own ideas and sensibilities onto the canvas of American experience. The pictures combine the elements of fashion photography with the very cinematographic storytelling ambitions. Olivar's experience in movies and fashion photography clearly exudes from each photograph in this book. The fashion ranges from ultra-chic and contemporary, to a nostalgic look to the 1950s and earlier eras. Some of the pictures could have well been used as ads for 'Mad Men.'
The models in this book, predominantly female, are all indeed very young and exude the almost arrogant confidence of youth in their perpetual and eternal beauty. This effect is only highlighted by the stilted and oftentimes stiff poses that these models assume, in which they more often than not resemble department store window mannequins. The preternatural smoothness of their skin ' due as much to their youthfulness as it is to the makeup and the special lighting condition ' seems almost plastic and artificial. The result is a visual tribute to eternal youth in all its uncanny transcendence of the ordinary natural order.
All pictures are accompanied by a paragraph of explanatory notes by Olivar. The notes deal with a variety of topics, all related to the given photographs in some way. They range from the purely technical descriptions of the lighting used, the location description, as well as impressions about the particular model, to Olivar's own often-poetic musings and impressions. The notes can be a useful guide to what Olivar wanted to accomplish with each particular shot, or aspiring photographers can use them as an inspiration and guide to the art and technique of professional photography.
The pictures in this book are fairly large, covering the entire page and oftentimes spilling into the adjacent one. They look very nice in such a large format, and they immediately grab your attention. This is an excellent coffee-table book, as wall as a nice item for the book collection of any lover of photography.