Photographer Spotlight: David Olkarny

Let me tell you a story

What did get you started on photography, have you always been an avid photographer or was there some trigger?

It was during my second year of studying cinematography that I’ve discovered the photographic universe by buying my first digital camera, which at first, it was planned for film shootings and various recordings. I was amazed by the quality of the pictures that resulted from my new toy and the simple idea to have the ability of catching intense scenes or even of creating them made me shiver. I had to become a photographer! It was obvious.

For how long have you been into photography?

Actively, it’s been 4 years now.

How do you usually work?

I think that I’m impulsive and I sometimes imagine scenes, situations without asking myself if they are reasonable or realistic. This can lead to unexpected associations.

Laissons donc la gravité à ceux qui ne savent pas rêver.

My inspiration can come when I’m at the cinema or simply in daily life: I take note of places while I’m driving my car, I’m sometimes struck by a facial expression while queuing at the grocery store, I watch the trees with the eyes of “Snow White” ;-) when I’m in the forest, and when I’m at home I feel like the furniture seems to be too static and it makes me want to “move out”.

What fascinates you about portraiture and fashion photography?

Definitely the human touch.

Human touch

What is your gear?

I use a Canon 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2. My special setting is to adjust the color to a really low saturation with barely no contrast. This gives it a really, really raw look. The Photoshop editing will then be easier and more powerful.

That’s an interesting detail. Can you tell us more about your post production?

One whisky, please

I use Lightroom to sort and pre-retouch my raw files. Once I have made my proud selection, I send them to Photoshop for further retouching.

What I principally use in Photoshop are the Curve and Level tools which guarantee beautiful colors and strong contrasts, accentuating the parts of the image that I’m interest in.

Are you using any equipment that you would call unusual, like any DIY or repurposed props?

I really like to use a casual flashlight on some shoots, it’s pretty useful!

Crazy love

What is the best thing about Flickr? When did you first hear about the site and what made you make it the home for your photos?

I really like the Community of Flickr! People are so talented and their opinions help improve your photography so much. Besides, Flickr is really functional and well made; it’s so easy to post pictures and manage them, it’s definitely my favorite photography social network.

Which other Flickr members and/or Flickr groups influence you most?

Dancing in the fire  Strobist_Turns_One  Pour faire différent un self-portrait

I’m a big fan of Aaron Nace, David Hobby, and Benoit Paillé.


Groups influencing me most are Cinematic moments, The portrait group, All people, and Artistic photography.

What is your 1 favorite photo from your own photo stream?

‎ L'art de tomber dans la solitude

It’s this one. When I look at it, I ask myself: Where is this girl? What is she looking at? Will she jump? Vertigo is accentuated by contrasts. Contrast between black and white. Contrast between concrete and lace. Contrast between the blurred background and the net profile. The blurred and dark windows induce dizziness, feeling of oppression. Is there a life behind those windows? The girl seems paradoxically serene, stronger than the urban chaos. And if it was the building that was falling apart and not the woman?

Well, I likes this picture for its story-telling power.

And what are your 3 favorite photos from other Flickr members?

The Flood
Almost (I'll Make Ya) Famous
the superhero in me is tired

I couldn’t explain why I like those, but similar to the favorite from my photostream, there is a story, there is something more than just one frame. It’s easy for me to love pictures for no obvious reason, they just trigger my imagination.

If you had one tip for someone who just picks up photography, what would you tell them?

Any place can be magical if we take the time to discover it. There are so many wonderful places around us, no matter where. Go outside, take a walk, and lose yourself! Photos in a studio can be more manageable, easier to put in place, still I find that pictures taken outside in inclement weather are often more striking. Everything is more true, spontaneous and natural.

Lovely loneliness

My ultimate advice: Take photos for yourself and don’t try to please a gallery or the public. It’s really important and a lot of photographers plunge further in this direction. Be crazy, passionate, impulsive, audacious but also make sure to have some technical knowledge as it’s not superfluous either.

Thank you, David, for sharing your story with us!

Take a deeper look at David’s photography in his photostream to discover more of his amazing work.

Posted By
Kay Kremerskothen

Kay is a Community Manager for Flickr and passionate about extraordinary photography. As an editor on Flickr Blog he loves to showcase the beauty and diversity of Flickr in his posts. When he's not blogging or making Flickr more awesome (in front of and behind the scenes), you can find him taking pictures with his beloved Nikon and iPhone, listening to Hans Zimmer's music or playing board games. | On Flickr you can find him at