Q&A: Joshua Olley


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? I’ve been trying to be as mindful and present at all times. Not worrying about the pace of what the rest of the world is humming at. I think it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and what other people are doing, but not competing or obsessing over success or where others are at in their lives. Are you aware of any conspiracies? I heard there’s a tape of Trump having an orgy in Russia that will be released before the election. Fingers crossed. What is it that interests you about photography? So many things. I think the scientific qualities of photography are fascinating. Just the very basic understanding of film and how there are silver halide crystals embedded in the emulsion which creates a light sensitive material. I’m always fascinated by the process of storytelling and how through the sequencing and pairing of images you can create a fictional or nonfictional world. The emotional impact photos have on us; and even how that’s changed through the oversaturation of images we see on a daily basis. What is the worst thing about city life? Not enough good fishing. What part of the planet would you like to explore? The Baltic’s. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural?That the energy from the deceased doesn’t necessarily vanish, but is recycled. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Genghis Khan.

Pick a field of science to be an expert within. It’s a social science, but anthropology. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I used to travel with a bunch of the kids I grew up with competing in snowboard competitions. I always wished I had been more serious about photography then and had my camera. It was mayhem, just  a bunch of wild 12-16 year old kids traveling around the country. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Anything for Robert Frank. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. That’s constantly changing for me, but recently it’s Sebastiao Salgado’s “The Gold Mines of Serra Pelada”. It really depicts how fucked the human condition can be. How often do you take other people’s advice? Almost everyday. Describe a personal hell. Never being able to go outside. I grew up in the mountains and had a really hard time at school when I was younger, I think because I simply wanted to be outside all of the time. Which living person do you most admire? Too many to name. On what occasion do you lie? When my girlfriend asks if I moved the car for street cleaning. What was the last crime you witnessed? The other night I stole a pretty fancy umbrella from a gallery after an opening. It was pouring and I wasn’t prepared.

What is the best way to educate yourself? To constantly remain curious, open minded, and engaging in discussion/conversation whenever it presents itself. And reading as much as possible. What is the next book you want to read? The Heart of Darkness. Ultimate camera? Leica m3. Most used camera? Leica m3. What object do you want? Time Machine. What object do you need? My camera. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? A black hole of knowledge and data, but used largely for porn and memes. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? I suppose. Describe a cheap thrill. Stealing a candy bar from Walgreens. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. When the Russians invaded Hitler’s bunker. Are impulses more important than consequences? I think I’ve been battling that question my whole life. I’m a very impulsive person and through that I’ve had some incredible experiences, but have also gotten myself into trouble. Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could draw. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? I got some good friends in town for halloween so gunna get weird.

Joshua Olley — “Reverie, a project that I have been working for the past two years, is an attempt to investigate the idea or state of a constant reverie. The photographs I’ve included capture non-fictional moments in my life, yet create an ambiguous story for the viewer. Through these images I hope to create a narrative that borders reality and reverie. Although the time, place, and subject are ambiguous, a sense of familiarity within the imagery remains and allows the viewer to bring their own interpretations and experiences to the images.” — See more of Joshua’s work on his website & Instagram.