I am rounding up my series on photographer blogs with one of my most recent, but by no means least favourite, discoveries. Olivia Rae James’ blog really touched my heart with her dreamlike and light-filled images. Olivia lives in Charleston, and her blog was, for a long time, a continuous hymn of praise to her home town, revealing to the world a little-known place of outstanding beauty. Olivia shared moments of her daily life, trips out with friends, lunches outdoors, diving at dusk, every shot a moment captured through the lens of someone who loves life. Today, her blog has changed due to Olivia becoming a professional photographer; it is now predominantly focused on her work, though this doesn’t mean she has sacrificed her spontaneity or her lightness of spirit. Olivia’s talent was evident even to her neighbour Bill Murray, who asked her to do his portrait! You can find all Olivia’s work on her website.
Where did your passion for photography begin?
I grew up wanting to record everything (like most teenagers) and it just went from there.
How did you learn how to take photographs?
Mainly trial and error. I took some workshops with Aran Goyoaga and Max Wanger/Our labor of love, but otherwise I’m self-taught.
What is your favourite subject and why?
I love photographing people, especially in settings involving eating and drinking, and travel.
Who are your favourite photographers?
Max Wanger, Hugh Forte, Tec Petaja and Laura Dart.
What equipment do you use and how important do you think it is?
I use a Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III, with a 35mm f/1.8 lens and a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I have a flash that I hardly ever use and a Manfrotto tripod, which is as light as a feather (perfect for travelling). I also adore my ONA rucksack. I don’t think equipment is that important, but it is definitely useful. For me, having a Mark III means I never have to use the flash at weddings and it is something I really love.
Why did you start a blog?
It was just a way of keeping in touch with my family when I moved from Nashville to Charleston. I wanted to show them my town and my new life! Back then, I used a Blackberry for all the photos.
How useful to you is your blog in promoting your work?
Really useful. I owe it to my blog that I was able to become a professional photographer in such a short space of time. The power of the internet is amazing. My blog was very helpful in my becoming a professional photographer. I went to restaurants and events, took photos, and then published them on my blog and sent them to the owners of the bars and restaurants. The fact that I worked for free as a hobby helped me to get myself known very quickly.
Now that you are a professional photographer, has your relationship with your blog changed? Do you use it differently?
I never considered myself a ‘lifestyle blogger’. I liked taking photographs and, seeing as I didn’t do it professionally, I just took pictures of my daily life. My blog today is more centred on my work than on my private life.
Three words to describe your photos.
Warm, real, nostalgic.
Three words you would like to hear used to describe your photos.
That is a difficult question! I don’t know… the best ever?