My aesthetic has been influenced by many artists…but, unfortunately, they don’t have twitter in the afterlife. As I sat and thought, I remembered my early experiments with photography and Photoshop. At the time I was an active member on Deviantart and in search of a source of inspiration. While browsing through tons of snapshots of pretty girls looking at a dead spot on the horizon,   I was lucky enough to stumble upon a French creative named Denis Olivier.

Although his photography and surreal photo-manipulations were the first to catch my eye, I refrain from labelling him as one or the other.

From his early childhood he was exposed to film photography by his parents, but he didn’t follow in their footsteps until later in life. He first took up drawing and at the age of 17 started to take his first photographs, his favourite subject being mineralogical micro mounts. This further pushed him towards a degree in biochemistry, which he abandoned after three years to study at the Poitiers school of fine-arts. There he discovered computer graphics and generated imagery and afterwards he developed his own 3D generating software which he marketed worldwide.

When the digital camera revolution boomed, he found that digital photography was more efficient than film, as it uses less resources and the information can be more easily shared via the internet. For this purpose he created ArtLimited, a user-friendly website where artists from around the world can share their work and create a professional looking portfolio. As we speak, he doesn’t make a living from art, as confessed in an interview with Neutral Density magazine:

“I have my own communication and marketing company and spend most of my working time managing it. I have the chance that my artwork is appreciated and doing only what I want without commissions. I always have it in mind and I try to keep this luxury as long as possible.”

One of the artists that have influenced his work is Ansel Adams, the famous American landscape photographer. Denis Olivier prefers long exposure landscapes voided of any human presence. Through this technique he wants to represent the immensity and tranquillity of the absolute Universe, where our lifespan is nothing but “a teardrop in a sea”.

The Open Space II


Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Alsh, Scotland


My favourite Denis Olivier series is called “Dreamspace reloaded”, his venture into the world of photo-manipulation. He compares this method of creating to drawing or painting in the sense that you can mix together “simple elements in complex scenes”. The series gives the illusion of “real”, but not “reality”.


Dreamspace Reloaded #40



Dreamspace Reloaded #50

His photography made me rethink my own aesthetic. I had gotten to the point where I realised that art, no matter the type or medium, is about transmitting your emotions to the viewer. KISS (the acronym for “keep it simple stupid”) is another important lesson: bombarding the viewer with a plethora of different elements and colours will only discourage him on the long run. Last but not least, a lesson that can be summarized with one of my favourite photography quotes: “If you’re photographing in colour,  you show the colour of their clothes. If you use black and white, you will show the color of their soul”. Colour sometimes distracts from the real message of the photograph, but  if you eliminate it you can concentrate more on the symbolism of the elements that make it up.

For the future I will continue to follow Denis Olivier’s work, which I am sure will continue to have a great impact on me not only as a photographer, but also as an aspiring designer.


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