Artist Interview: Olivia Solodko

July 28, 2021
Artist Interview: Olivia Solodko

Q: In "Keepsakes", you concentrate on capturing ordinary objects and familiar surroundings. Why highlight the everyday?

Capturing the everyday became an outlet of sorts; a way to be more present and take better notice of the world around me. The act of taking a picture allows for the time to pause and really appreciate what's drawing the eye. By showcasing the details on a larger scale, I hope to speak to the viewer's own experiences and create a dialogue around how we perceive our day to day surroundings.


Q: There seems to be an emphasis on touch and the tangible within your photographs; can you speak more to this?

The emphasis on tangibility lends itself to the meaning of a "keepsake", and the way we hold onto souvenirs to remind us of a memory. I wanted the images to have a sense of texture and dimension so the viewer could experience the presence of the subjects to their full capacity. I also love to capture texture in my images overall. Growing up, I had a tendency to collect objects based on how they felt in my hand - rocks, peach pits, tree nuts... I think the child-like fascination transferred to my photographs and the subjects I gravitate to.


Q: Having not gone to school for photography, your creative development is free of traditional academic canons and structures. Do you consider this one of your strengths?

I think academic structures do have their place in photography and I really admire work that’s rooted in conceptual and academic frameworks. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’d call it a strength, but I’ve really enjoyed learning about photography by experimenting and following my own curiosity. I think it has allowed me to create more freely and really listen to my own impulses about the kind of work I want to make.


Q: How do you hope the tonality of your work influences audiences?

I hope that by visualizing my own experience of seemingly ordinary moments, it might inspire someone else to notice or even appreciate their everyday surroundings in a new way.


Q: What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being a photographer?

I love the way photography has allowed me to take notice of things I would normally overlook. I’ve also met so many amazing people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and the supportive sense of community has been one of the most rewarding aspects. The challenge for me has been self-doubt and the spiral of comparing one’s work to others. There’s so much incredible work out there, it can be both inspiring and inhibiting at the same time.


Q: Photography has the power to elicit strong emotions and capture momentous events, and bring stories into the public eye. What is the most important role photography plays today?

I think the most important role of photography today is in communicating the truth, especially in cases when it can’t be proved or communicated verbally. Photographs have the power to surpass verbal barriers in an instant, revolutionizing the world’s ability to spread information. I think it plays a crucial role in bringing today’s most pressing issues to light and provoking change where its needed.


Q: A local Vancouverite, you know all the best spots! Where would you suggest one goes to get inspired?

I recently came across a cafe called The Mighty Oak, nestled on a quiet street in Mount Pleasant. I suggest getting one of their pastries (which are baked in-house), and having a seat on their patio! When it’s not too busy, it’s the sweetest little spot to sit and ponder.


Q: What is one lesson you have learnt throughout the pandemic that will stick with you?

I think what struck me most is how easy it is to take the important parts of our lives for granted. The pandemic was a reminder that small moments in our everyday can have a huge effect on our happiness and wellbeing, from our connection to family and friends, the spaces in which we live, to the essential services we’re lucky to have access to. It was a lesson to be more mindful and appreciate the important things while we have them.