I consider Erwin Olaf to be one of the great photographic Masters of our time. Our romance is a long one and I’m very loyal to his cause.
I remember first noticing this Dutch master’s work in Black + White magazine, possibly around 2000. For those too young to remember, B+W was essentially a photography mag that focused on edgy fine art photography with S&M overtones. It was probably the ideal introduction to Olaf as I was yet to discover his even more erotic fine-art photography.
The series that captured my imagination was titled Royal Blood, a brutal series of portraits using royalty as a framework and their scandalous deaths as the subject. Blond teenage models were cast in the roles of various well known figures and each dressed accordingly.
Olaf’s success behind the Royal Blood series is clearly the juxtaposition of the grotesque with high-key fashion and design. The series is incredibly morbid in concept, and yet alluring in its polished execution. Royal Blood was Olaf’s first exploration into working with post-production artists and it’s clear that this style of work has been shaping his career ever since.