Erwin Olaf

Erwin Olaf is one of Holland’s most acclaimed contemporary photographers. Famous for his mis-en-scène and highly theatrical compositions, Olaf weaves complex and dramatic narratives into his still photographs. His work is frequently exhibited and included in numerous contemporary art and photography museums internationally.

Erwin Olaf's Hotel series features models posing elegantly, provocatively or demurely in replica hotel guest rooms across the world, with subtle differences such as a discarded shoe or a lit message on an answer phone.

 

Particularly influenced by the early 1960s, the décor and lighting make reference to this era and are further underscored by the diluted colour palette choices. Influenced also by his own travels and accompanying feelings of transience and anomie, Olaf's models gaze into the distance and evoke an uneasy, disconnected sense of mystery; a sense of internal restlessness or longing. Their cinematic nature reflects Olaf's evolution as an artist, leaning towards a greater story that draws one in.

 

"The older I get, the more I start to realise that I am more influenced by cinema than by photography. Although there are big beautiful photographs - when you are going to the cinema, you can always make up your own story. You have more emotion. I never cry over a photo, but I cry over a movie, or music or literature. That makes me a bit jealous, so I want to achieve that in my photography.", Erwin Olaf.