Get to Know Photographer Ollie Marshall

Get to Know Photographer Ollie Marshall

Words Mia Clark

The visual storyteller opens up about his love for Margate and discusses his Journey so far.

Meet Ollie Marshall, the artist raised on the British coast with a story to tell. With the ability to combine documentary and fashion in a fresh unforeseen way, the image maker keeps us on our toes with his use of pure colours and elegance with a dose of reality.

Tell me about yourself. Who do you present yourself as in the creative realm and what is it you do?
I graduated from the Arts University in Bournemouth last year and have since been working in retail alongside picking up the odd commission here and there and assisting where possible, I’ve been working on a book with GF Smith and It’s Nice That as part of the Graduates 2016 and now I’m starting a new job as Studio Manager with Mel Bles and SteveHarries in September and moving up to London.

How did you start out and what has it led you to today?
My first interest in photography was when I was modelling when I was around 14/15, I wasn’t so keen on getting my photo taken but was fascinated by sets and the environment. It’s where I first wanted to be a fashion photographer. I got my first camera for my 18th Birthday from Mum and Dad, a 35mm Olympus OM 1-N, proper Cliché! Which I used to take down the skate park and photograph my mates and was the also the first time I was aware of documentary photography. I went on to do my foundation course at UCA in Canterbury where my Tutor John showed me the book ‘Click Double Click’ which is like the Bible of documentary photographers (well worth a read) and then on to my degree course in Bournemouth where I feel like I really found my visual voice.

 “Colour has been a huge influence and with shooting on film, the control over the colours in printing and scanning was probably the most important aspect of it for me.”

Your take on visual language is really fresh and different, what did you do to get to this stage of having your own defined style?
There are so many factors that have led me to the stage I’m at now with my work, I think finding a process of working that suited me was the first step, so experimenting with different cameras and processes and then looking at as much work as possible that I found visually inspiring. Colour has been a huge influence and with shooting on film, the control over the colours in printing and scanning was probably the most important aspect of it for me. The majority of photographers I was looking at were shooting on film so I think it was only natural that I was drawn towards it. Having an equal interest/obsession in both fashion and document work has influenced my style in so many ways and I believe my style sits between the two.

Who are the artists that have played an important position in the influence of your work?
Tom Wood, Rineke Dijkstra, Gareth McConnell’s Portraits and Interiors of Albert Bar, Harley Weir, Brett Lloyd, Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places, Todd Pappageorge, Nigel Shafran and Alec Soth to name a few.

As I can see, you take a lot of inspiration from seaside towns, especially Margate, is there any reason for this?
I suppose it was a natural progression from living and growing up in Margate and always being beside the sea, but I would say I was doing it from the inside and really I didn’t know I was doing it until my final year. I was always drawn back to Margate.

Are you working on any projects at the moment / what have been your favourite projects so far?
I’ve been shooting as much as I possibly can for the past year, mostly personal work and now I can now see a couple of projects starting to form. I’ve really enjoyed the slower process allowing for moments to naturally piece themselves together, but I want to start shooting smaller projects alongside similar to the White Swan project which is one of my favourites to date.

So excited to see what you have coming up, what advice would you give to up and coming artists?
Be yourself, work on what interests you. Value your critiques, listen to others but follow your instincts.