Interviews

Olivia Sari’s portraiture project a first in S’pore

By Zul AndraEvents - 18 June 2013 3:44 PM | Updated 10:04 AM

Olivia Sari’s portraiture project a first in S’pore

International and Singapore DJs who performed last year in the Home Club, located at The Riverwalk, will meet three types of people: the promoter, the club owner and the revellers.

Occasionally, a handful of them, such as DJ Marky, Goldie, SpectraSoul and Starslinger will meet Olivia Sari-Goerlach – an Indonesian-born, Singapore-based photographer whose goal was to shoot their portraits for a coffeetable book. 

Olivia at work
Olivia at work

Retailing at $30 ($25 on launch day) and sold at selected bookstores, there are just 1,000 copies available. The 174-page book titled ‘The Home Club Portraiture Project’ feature the DJs up close and in various moods.

It all seems quite challenging when you consider that it was shot in monochrome against The Riverwalk’s white walls as a backdrop, with very limited time spent with each personality.

Sari-Goerlach tells us more about the experience ahead of her book launch next Saturday (29 June).

What made you decide to take portraits of the DJs? Why at the Home Club, or did you stumble upon it?

I was looking to do a portraiture series running on a particular theme. I thought about where I could find a running series of subjects and had an idea to start looking somewhere that's close to home (no pun intended.)

Olivia at work
Olivia's 'Home Club Portraiture Project'

Home Club came to mind. I had access to the portraiture subjects at the club since my friends work and hang out there, so I guess it was a conscious decision to photograph the DJs there.

What made you decide to go with the black-and-white style? 

I felt that monochromatic photos bring a sense of honesty to the images – especially in portraits. It simplifies the image, bringing the focus back to the essence of the subject.

I love playing with shadows and this particular style gives a really rich end result.

Would it be safe to say that you were trying to bring out the colourful emotions in a bleak and dull setting? Sounds like an artistic challenge.

You could say that. What was important to me was to capture their personalities within the little time I had. That was a greater challenge for sure.

How many DJs have you shot in total so far? What are some of the more memorable moments you had while shooting them?

I think I have shot more than 80 DJs so far. No specific memories, but I can remember the friendships formed and the laughter shared between photographer and subject.

Olivia at work
DJ Goldie

Were there instances when it was a challenge to bring out the artist’s emotions?

There were a number of occasions when it was a challenge to get any sort of emotion from a subject, because some seem unenthusiastic about the project, almost like they were forced to do it.

It’s a voluntary role and I wanted those involved to enjoy the experience like I did.

What's your thought process like during the shooting? Did you think about encapsulating the spirit of Home Club, for example?

It was fascinating to consider how each person ticks and to find a common ground with them. From there, they will feel more comfortable with me and in front of the camera, and it shows.

I wanted to keep it simple with the portraits aligned with the spirit of Home Club. It resonates with the rawness of the setup – shooting the portraits against a plain white background with one light strobe and keeping it casual, shooting against the walls of The Riverwalk.

The spirit of Home Club to me looks real. It’s honest and it’s whatever I want it to look like, which is why I feel so at home there.

Olivia at work
DJ Marky

There are only 1,000 copies of the book. How did you come to that number? If it sells out, would you consider printing more copies?

A thousand copies sounds like a solid number to me… it feels right for this project.

If it does sell out, I would be over the moon. I don't think I will print any more copies though. It’s a limited edition print run and it will stay true to that. Hope that those who own the book will cherish it.

This project might open more doors for you. What other projects are on your wish list?

I hope that it will open more doors for me. I've enjoyed this project so much and planning on more in the future, probably in different formats.

Nothing too specific in mind, but I really want to keep my focus on shooting portraits of performers and I hope to be doing this for quite some time.

Book launch of ‘The Home Club Portraiture Project’ is on 29 June, 8pm, at Home Club, 20 Circular Road, #B1-01/06 The Riverwalk. There will be a book signing while Tom Shellsuit from Pushin’ On gets funky on the decks. The after-party starts at 10pm (entry at $15 inclusive of a drink) with Darren Dubwise, Gerald Ang, Kurt aka CTDK and Ming.