Photographer AJ Olson creates photo-manipulated artistic portraiture. Provocative and vivid, his work uses the nude female form to deal with topics of: humanism, creativity, and personal growth. Our Town spoke with Olson about his craft and purpose.
Our Town What attracted you to photography?
AJ Olson I have explored various artistic mediums however I gravitated towards photography and photo manipulation because it felt most natural.
OT Describe your training.
AO I have both an associates degree in art and a bachelors in fine arts, majoring in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics. I have been using Photoshop for over 12 years.
OT What influences you?
AO I am inspired by all forms of art, books, music, and cinema.
OT What’s interesting to you about the female form?
AO I feel the female form is sensational, provocative, beautiful, and a symbol of legacy.
OT How does your work use the female form to foster self-awareness?
AO My work elicits thoughts and emotions that a viewer may not normally encounter. These experiences can test viewers' moral boundaries, encouraging reflection.
OT As a man, what are the feminist implications of your use of the female form?
AO The female form has been depicted in Western and Greek art for thousands of years. My art carries on that tradition by allowing the liberation of the female form through artistic expression.
OT Take us through the process of creating a piece from inspiration to final product.
AO It varies from piece to piece. Some are premeditated, others are more impulsive. Overall, I take nude photos of women, and I alter the photographs in Photoshop, using various tools and layers, until achieving what I feel to be a desirable piece of art.
OT How would you say your work has evolved over time?
AO The amount of Photoshop layers I use has progressively increased. As I develop as a person, so does the meaning behind my art.
OT Any advice for other photographers?
AO Focus on creating quality work with the intention to inspire others.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and
afterellen.com Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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