Martin Ogolter was born in Austria. In 1990 he moved to New York, where he graduated with a BFA from the School of Visual Arts. In New York he worked as an Art Director in publishing and music for companies such as Penguin Books and Atlantic Records. In parallel had his first photograph published in 1994 and his work has been seen since on album covers, books, magazines and in galleries. He has also participated in art fairs, such as SP ARTE, ART RIO and SP ARTE Photo. For the last twelve years, he has been based in Rio de Janeiro where he held his first solo exhibition in 2011. He is a professor of photography at the Escola de Artes Visuais (EAV) do Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro.
Monumentali are millennial olive trees in puglia. They have provided oil for ages and have witnessed lots of history (the crusades left from birndisi in puglia to the holy land, etc.), some of the trees are more than 1500 years old. The twigs of the trees are being cut at times so over the centuries the have become these living sculptures shaped by men and the elements together. The trees where photographed and silhouetted individually to highten the sculptural aspect of their trunks. There are about 250 finished trees some are shown large and some in groups not unlike the bechers projects.
How and when did you become interested in photography?
When I was a boy it was a middle class custom in Austria to show slides of your summer vacations to your friends, these colourful images from sun drenched places and the equipment used to produce them was kind of magical and left a mark. In a strange way it was a snail mail version of what is happening now with social media just on a much smaller scale, the idea to show off where you have been and the nice equipment you have to make the pictures.
Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?
There are so many, certainly the people who used photography as a conceptual idea in the 60s and 70s, Ed Ruscha, Huebler, Baldessari. Polke, Smithson, Lawler…
Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?
For me it depends not the project, sometimes color disturbes rather then enriches the image and idea.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
Again this much depends on the project, sometimes an iPhone is just fine sometimes it involves hires equipment travel and months of retouching, like with the monumentali project.
Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
You are always only as good as your next project, I am starting new one shortly which involves printing plates and photographs of water.