Ola Bell

“Give man a mask, and he’ll tell you the truth”
—Oscar Wilde

How can some images be both unsettling and yet reassuring at the same time? Take anything that speaks of domestic familiarity—cats, for example, a bedroom—and pretend the laws of time and physics no longer apply. Ordinary space is transfigured into scenes that suddenly seem to correspond with internal states and sensations. It’s a visual aesthetic akin to Symbolism. Or, at its most extreme, maybe even Surrealism. But the human subject in many of the pictures (the photographer herself) obviously shares something very real with the cats: a bond of trust. All else is the impermanence of imagined moments.

Ola Bell’s art is photography based, and perhaps better described as “pictures,” at least for photography purists. Technology has indeed blurred the boundaries, if they ever existed, between artistic genres. But with Bell’s example, it’s hard to argue that’s such a bad thing. Genre, too, it seems, is subject to impermanence.

There is so much to your art beyond photography: the costumes and props, the staging, and the post-processing. Can you describe your methodology? What is most essential?

I just follow my instinct. By experimenting I’ve learned what clothes and props work. The most essential part is making all my little ideas work together to make one picture. Each photo has its own methodology; there is no one way that I create my photos. Some photos were done in ten minutes, when everything worked well and went really fast. Others took more time and some were even accidental. For example, some were designed by the cats themselves. I may have had an idea but then the cats would do something completely different from that idea.

Do you consciously choose the motifs that appear in your art—cats, hats, masks, windows—or does something else guide you?

My original idea was to take action photos of cats, as I hadn’t seen any myself. There are so many photos of dogs having fun but what about cats? It’s not as if they are lacking character. I like the idea of masks because the mask helps to hide the face, which is important, but also distracting. I wanted the viewer to see the photo, the whole story, not just concentrate on my face. The hat is just a nice, pretty prop and the window—that is a source of light.

What feelings do you hope to evoke in the viewer?

Most of the time I’m just trying to put small pictures together, pictures that live in my head. I don’t try to evoke any feelings; that would feel artificial. The viewer is left to his or her own devices.

You are decidedly digital. Does analog still have any place in your work?

Digital cameras give me freedom that analogue cameras cannot. It would be far too expensive for me to shoot just film but I do love film and still use it for other kinds of private photos, like landscapes and still life.

Your work seems to draw from Surrealism, mythology and fairy tale. Who or what inspires and influences you?

To say the honest truth, probably everything I have ever seen until now. I have always liked art a lot, but Surrealism was never my favourite style. I’m still not sure why it emerges in my photos. I do love fairy tales, folk tales and dark moods. The biggest influences must come from illustrations and books I’ve been fed since I was a kid.

How did you arrive at this style? How does it serve you professionally?

I learned photography for two years in college. In my second year, I just decided to be free and not take photos the way you are supposed to. I just wanted to have fun and do what I wanted to do—crazy things. It looked interesting and I got good feedback so I decided to carry on and go with my instincts. After college I decided to take photos as often as I could. The regimen was to do it 3-4 times a week. In this way I improved significantly over the months. People seem to like my style—I am now able to sell photos from time to time.

We hope the small ones are getting proper royalties for their busy modeling schedule. Thank you, Ola.

Ola Bell’s website: www.oladios.com
For images: www.wantedparis.com (artist name: Oladios)

「素顔で語るとき、人は本音から遠いところにいるが、仮面を与えれば真実を語りだす」 オスカー・ワイルド



あなたの作品には、衣装や小道具、演出、後処理などについて普通の写真とは違った要素がいろいろ見られますが、どんな方法論に基づいて作品を作っているのですか? そして作品を作るにあたって最も重要なことはなんでしょうか?













オラさんのウェブサイト: www.oladios.com
www.wantedparis.com (artist: Oladios)

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