Today we share the work and words of Oliver Klink. His portfolio was one of the selections in the 2017 Call for Entry.
Would you please tell a little us about yourself?
Born and raised in Switzerland, my parents introduced me to competitive skiing early on. My youth was spent traveling to many European countries to compete. I got the bug to explore new places and to photograph what I was seeing when time permitted.
When a skiing career wasn’t eminent, I studied a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the Polytechnical School of Lausanne, Switzerland; then received a scholarship to further my education with a Master in Physics at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada. The study of light improved my photography and the love for it.
I moved to the U.S. in the early 90’s, studied for a Master in Business Administration at San Jose State University and took more photography classes at Foothill College, Los Altos, CA.
In 2008, I left the High Tech career to focus full-time on photography, teaching and producing fine art work. The shift has enabled me to travel the world (visited 107 countries and counting) and to fulfill my early passion to be an explorer.
I currently reside in Los Gatos, CA with my wife and our two Ragdoll cats.
How did you get started in photography?
My dad was a print maker and the countless visits to his shop were the catalyst to experience the magic of photography. From the pocket film cameras, I moved to 4×5/8×10 and dark room printing. In 2001, I switched to digital and embraced the portable gear. However, I missed the handmade prints and unique qualities of the films. The tipping point to fully embraced digital photography came after I purchased a digital Hasselblad camera and I invested in the piezography process for large format digital printing. By mixing a combination of pigment ink and using a proprietary profiling process I can produce enhanced highlight and shadow details that exceed what is capable using silver-based traditional darkroom processes.
Would you share with us one image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time?
The image is a painting, called “Midnight – Black Wolf” by Robert Bateman, a Canadian painter. At a glance the image is a cool wintry forest scene, but the more you look at it the more you discover, the more you feel the inter-relationships of our planet. Like the wolf in the shadows, most of the time “things” are in front of us and we don’t notice them.
Which photographers and other artists’ work do you admire?
I own hundreds photography and art books, from classic Black and White photographers to the modern “digital compositers” such as Maggie Taylor.
One of the recent gems is Roberto Fernández Ibáñez from Uruguay, who I had a chance to spend time with during our joint exhibit at the Festival de La Luz in Buenos Aires (2016).
What has been your most memorable experience as far as your photographic work is concerned?
Evolution. My photography has evolved from “hero shots” to producing a meaningful body of works. My work has become more personal, more insightful of who I am and what I care about.
What Image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson?
“Herding Instinct” (Bhutan, 2014) brought together my passion for wildlife and culture. When I saw the scene unfold, I felt that my history in photography was flashing in front of my eyes. Two other photographs taught me how ephemeral our world is. “God’s Rays” (Myanmar, 2014) this temple was destroyed during the 2015 earthquake in Bagan, Myanmar, which makes the image historical and filled with sadness for the monks.
When I showed “Gentle” (China, 2015) a few years later, the husband had passed away and the widow had very few images of them together. The emotional reaction was deeply felt.
What makes a good day for you creatively speaking?
Sharing thoughts/idea with peers to push the boundaries on what else is possible. I am a big proponent of creating communities, mentorship and giving back. Creativity is to learn to love the process and let what ever happens next happen.
As I travel extensively, I truly enjoyed quiet time in my studio, where I can browse the multiple hundreds of photography and art books I have collected over the years for inspiration. There is nothing like the scent of physical books, the paper, the ink.
Do you have any favorite pieces of equipment that you find essential in the making of your work?
The ink! … Mixing my own ink and creating custom printing profiles have enabled me to produce enhanced highlight and shadow details that exceed what is capable using silver-based traditional darkroom processes.
What is on the horizon?
My project “Consequences” is still growing, as I visit more communities affected by modernization. The large body of work will lead to the publication of a book.
I have always been in awe watching both traditional and modern Circuses. As their future is at stake, I am percolating concepts for a new body of work – Circus: Fantasy and Illusion.
To learn more about the work of Oliver Klink please visit his site at Oliver Klink.