Interview Series: Olivia Malone

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Olivia Malone‘s photographs play with the Cali sun-kissed surfer aesthetic she grew up with, merged with chic urban fashion that influences her currently now that she lives in New York. She often photographs her friends, exploring the “transitions between youth and adulthood, emphasizing the period where freedom and independence define the essence of youth’s unabashed allure.” We got the chance to sit down with the lovely lady and this is what she had to say! Also, be sure to check out her video “Tom Fool Are We” below – a take on a Jean Rollin film – of two sexy Bonnie-like characters (minus the Clyde and with the edition of clown makeup)!


Q&A

LF: We are in love with your vision. What inspires you?
OM: Changing landscapes, innocence, my muses, fashion, confidence, adventure, nudity, freedom, afternoon light and film.


LF: Do you feel that getting a formal education in photography helped to shape you?

OM: I believe it helped me in my process, certainly with being able to talk about photography technically, learn about and from the masters, and figure out my own inspirations and vision. I think I learned equally from assisting and shooting however.


LF: Your images feel very LA influenced. Did growing up in L.A, give you perspective on the type of images you were looking to create?

OM: I think I gained a lot of perspective growing up in L.A. in the music video industry, as my mom was a single mom and a producer. I watched great directors and cinematographers transform ideas and concepts into great films, which influenced my process and style greatly. Obviously living amongst great landscapes of California as well as its beautiful light gave me a some pretty inspiring visuals.


LF: You’ve got a great list of clients! How did you break into the photo industry?

OM: It has taken a long time! Living in New York and meeting people and slowly just building a reputation and a portfolio. Also, seeking out clients I wanted to work for and trying to find connections to them.


LF: When did you start dabbling in video?

OM: As I said, I grew up in the film world, with dreams of being a cinematographer actually. So I feel as if it’s a natural progression. I have a lot of ideas, but making films is a whole other art of technicality I’m still learning.

LF: I love love love your video Tom Fool Are We…Can you talk about what some of the inspiration behind the video.
OM: Thanks! The film is inspired by a scene from a Jean Rollin film the designer Lindsey Thornburg and I saw years ago. We loved it then and decided to save it for future inspiration. When we were discussing what we wanted to do for her fall campaign, we decided we wanted to get a bit more creative with the styling and so the clown concept was a perfect fit. Crystal Moselle, my co-director and I developed a narrative… earlier in the summer I had been to a friends house in Vermont called Xanadu… a wooden ’60s round house with a glass dome. It was the perfect location.

TOM FOOL ARE WE – Lindsey Thornburg Fall 2011 from crystal moselle on Vimeo.

LF: You’ve done quite a bit of work with Lindsey Thornburg… whose fashion we love. What’s the connection?
OM: Lindsey is my creative partner! We met years ago. She asked me to shoot some photos of her for her portfolio when she was modeling. We had an instant creative connection and I have been involved in her clothing company since the beginning. We shoot twice a year and it’s always the shoot I look forward to most… she provides beautiful clothing/subject matter for my photos.


LF: We love the Lindsey Thornburg for Elle series. How did the idea for the diptych women come about?

OM: We did some diptychs for the previous campaign for her cloaks. We are both into optical illusions and it was a great way to make horizontals for the format of her website. And obviously a way to draw attention to the patterns in her clothes, as well as make the viewer spend another second looking at the images.


LF: What is it about photographing people?

OM: It’s about photographing someone you feel inspired by. For me, it’s about capturing something interesting and unique whether it’s a person’s look, style or their energy. It’s about a subject feeling comfortable with you and in the end, trying to create an interesting, exciting image together.


LF: How FAST do you LIVE?

OM: I live fast in NY and then come to L.A. to slow down.

LF: Art Talk: What inspires you? Favorite artists?
OM: I love the work of so many! photography of Guy Bourdin, Francesca Woodman, Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, Corinne Day, Mert + Marcus, Inez + Vinnodh. I love the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jean Rollin, Francois Truffaut, Michelangelo Antonioni, Terrence Mallick, Godard, Dario Argento..


LF: Sex Talk: What gets you off? Literally or figuratively?

OM: Being inspired, being challenged, and love of course.

LF: Travel Talk: Favorite destination or travel stories that you want to share?
OM: My favorite travel stories, although I have traveled a lot in the world, are the trips we take in the summer to Long Island or New Jersey… just me and my girls… me taking photos of them being naked and free.

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