“YOU know COREY OLSEN?!” This is usually the response I get from people when they find out that yes, indeed, I know Corey Olsen. In fact, Corey sort of grandfathered me into a certain circle of creatives and for that I will always be grateful. He’s just that kind of guy and hey, what can I say, he’s got good taste.
He is blowing up (more than ever) right now and I couldn’t be happier about it. He’s sort of like Muhammad Ali. Not in stature, not in sport. But in style. Muhammad once said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. This is how I would describe Corey. He’s sincere and smart and strikes when its hot.
What is your full name and from where do you hail?
My name is Corey Olsen and I’m from Maine.
What was the first thing you ever photographed and how old where you?
I recently found a stack of old polaroids I took of a invention I made in 4th grade. It was a pillow with a sack I had my mom sew in with a zipper so you can put an ice pack in it so you always had the cool side of the pillow. I called it the Chill-Pillo.
Do you set parameters for yourself? I ask this because I find it difficult sometimes to shift back and forth from commercial work to personal work. In commissioned work there are so many inherit boundaries and rules where as in my personal work I control those. Does this resonate with you?
I work with restrictions in both commissioned and personal work. When working on my own projects I like to start with parameters of maybe shooting at a particular place and seeing how far I could push that or only shoot certain objects (for example my Garage Still Life series). The main difference when shooting for myself is that there is no roof to the box I put myself in where as with most commissioned work there is something particular the client wants. I enjoy both kinds of parameters.
Do you ever get stuck in a rut creatively? If so, what do you do to get back in the saddle again?
For me to work at my most creative I have feel happy and free and let my self work intuitively.
What people, places and things are on your bucket list? You know, to photograph before you kick the can?
I don’t feel like I have a bucket list to start until I pay off my student loans.
What is your preferred mode of transportation - Do you really use a razor scooter to get around NYC?
Haha yeah before there was snow I was using one of those razor scooters with the bigger wheels to get to my studio or places that are under a mile away from my house. I Always would see parents and businessmen using them in Gramercy by SVA where I went to art school. I’d say riding a bike is my preferred mode of transportation though. It is just very dangerous in NYC – I’ve been hit by a taxi before. But a bike is liberating in comparison to driving or public transportation.
What makes you stop and take a picture of something?
I love the uncanny, the forgotten, the cliche, the banal, the domestic, failures, truth, lies, layers, hard light, and colors that look like they’re from an 8 pack of crayons.
The last time I saw you, you were wearing a slick black trench coat....Does it have any super human or magical powers? What do you wear when you are on set? Do you have special shoes that help your back or roomy cargo pockets that hold your batteries and lozenges?
All clothes have magic powers. I wear the same things I wear off a shoot. Usually dress pants, a t-shirt or turtle neck, and some whacky sneakers. Functional + Fashionable = Functionable.
Fill in the blank: Congratulations, CorEy! You have won a lifetime supply of __________. You must take a picture of our product every single day for the rest of your life and you must accept our challenge or you will never see the light of day again!
Do I get to keep what I shoot?
Images courtesy of COREY OLSEN
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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