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Oliver Barnett

Cape Town, South Africa

Oliver is a fine art photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. His images are inspired by the natural world and he spends a lot of time out in the field, drawing on his surroundings for inspiration. A ritualistic process sits at the core of his work; he distills his subjects to their essence and then re-imagines them into new patterns and structures. His work is a beautiful reminder of the need for balance and proportion in our relationship with our environment. Oliver is represented by galleries in South Africa and London.

Preferred Style

Contemplative and lucid

Preferred Camera

Canon 6D, with a 100mm Macro Lens

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Quick Questions

Describe your creative process?

I collect samples on nature walks and find suitably lit locations, usually near water. I later assemble designs in my studio.

Who are your artistic heroes?

M.C Escher’s dewdrop leaf is a driving source of perfection. Also Judith Braun, and Sol Lewitt’s wall drawings.  Hengki Koentjoro is a modern day master.

What advice would you give younger photographers?

Less is more, both compositionally and also in practical and technical terms when it comes to editing. Contrary to most photographer's advice, I’d also say occasionally leave your camera at home and just go out and observe - this takes practice too though.

What is your favourite part of what you do?

Walking in nature and developing a relationship with my subjects.

What season do you love most?

Winter in the Cape has a special charm, but I’ve cultivated a love for different aspects of all the days and seasons. I occasionally miss the colder climate. “To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again” Waldo Emerson

Describe the best party you have ever been to.

That’s a hard one. Festival au desert in Mali has to be one of the most wonderful events I’ve been to; travelling by camel, living with Bedouins, being surrounded by an ocean of sand. More recently a close friend’s wedding in Mustique was extraordinary.

What excites you?

Swimming in mountain streams, jumping off waterfalls, stumbling upon great new subjects to shoot. And time away from the kids and then being reunited again.

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