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Erwin Olaf – Skin Deep Exhibition Hamiltons Gallery

Erwin Olaf created a series of images that consist of nude portraits, these photographs are set-up and constructed by Olaf himself. The one image that struck me the most was a portrait of this obese guy lay on a mattress in the middle of the room. It evoked this sense of defeat, as if to say he has given up. It also showed an element of vulnerability, due to the fact Olaf has made him seem somewhat secluded from reality. I can see a lot of fatigue within this portrait, due to the positioning and expression from the guy in the picture. As a viewer I automatically felt sympathy for this stranger in the picture, wondering what lead him to feel this way. However, Olaf has depicted this reality, this photograph we see isn’t a true reflection of the individual posing.  Using

Such a minimalistic setting, Olaf has achieved a photograph that encourages the viewer to depict their own story. These photographs where placed in a darkened environment, creating this dramatic, unsettling atmosphere, it almost felt like we were interrogating their personal space.


Another compelling image was a woman falling from a couch, I felt like it created this notion of a woman who is loosing herself, afraid to carry on. This photograph exuded exhaustion, due to the way Olaf has posed the subject. The lighting that Erwin Olaf has used within this image really encourages this dark narrative.


These images through out the exhibit could be seen to be desirable to the viewer, due to the naked form of the body. In contrast to this idea, the fact that they are naked means that they are exposed, all their physical and mental scars reviled, which then evokes an essence of innocence.


Overall, this exhibition has given me an insight into how I can intertwine a setting and lighting to suggest a certain mood. It has also encouraged me to become more unorthodox in regards to the objects I use in my pictures, it has inspired me to think of the unexpected.


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