Today, we’re getting to know Sonya Olivier a little bit better! This is part of a series of interviews we will be having with KIKI members. If you would like to be interviewed go to our interview page and answer a few questions!
Facebook Page: justloveitphotography
1. When and how did the photography bug bite you?
It turns out that the bug is actually highly contagious and I caught it from my father at a very early age. I have a photograph of myself at three years of age, camera in hand, sand between my toes, in the Kalahari bushveld. My father was an adventurer. And wherever we went, his camera(s) went along. And so I fell in love with memories – and I’m so grateful for albums and albums full of them. And so… I fell in love with capturing memories.. It’s a cliché, I know, but it just so happens to be so true…
2. Your house is on fire, your family, equipment and pets are safe, but you only have time to take 2 items, what would it be?
If they all happened to be in ONE box, would my box of photo albums count? If not… 1) My big red file marked IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS – because I’m a pragmatic… and 2) My big purple file marked SENTIMENTAL – because I’m a nostalgic.
3. If you could have a conversation with anyone about anything, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Adam. As in, the original Adam. I’d like to know what life was like right at the very beginning… When everything was perfect…
4. What can you talk about for hours? (apart from photography)
My wacky family.. The weird and wonderful experiences I’ve had travelling.. My faith.. My dreams! (I talk a lot…)
5. What makes you really angry?
Injustice. Suffering. People who patronise and belittle others. Greed in a world where there is so much need. I suppose the things that make us feel helpless are often also the things that anger us? But I know that anger can also be a powerful driver to make a difference…
6. You help an old lady load her groceries in her car; only to find out she is extremely wealthy. She wants to buy you something to say ‘thanks’. What would you choose?
Coffee. And then I’d like to hear her life story. I love stories. But if she reaaaally insisted that coffee wasn’t enough, I have a very long wishlist!
7. What subject matter do you love shooting?
Candid shots of people. Kids playing. Bicycles. (I have a serious thing for bicycles.) Window sills. Daisies in glass jars. Anything old and dusty. Quirky signboards. My youngest doing his homework. Real life happening. I’m useless at sunrises (probably because I’m never awake then) and sunsets and landscapes… And insects. I don’t do bugs.
8. If you could only take one lens on every shoot (even if you don’t currently own it), which one would it be and why?
I hear the 24-70mm is absolutely amazing, but I’ve never tried it… So if I had to go with one I have, it would be a tough call between the 50mm and the 85mm… Probably the 50mm..
9. If you had all the time in the world to do one photography project, what would it be?
I would love to travel our country (and the world!) to remote towns and villages and document the everyday lives of regular folk, chat to them, write their stories. I started my career as a journalist and if ever I got to that point where I actually owned a business card, it would probably read ‘storyteller’ more so than ‘photographer’.. I’d love to combine the two.. Images and words…
10. Have you ever had one of those embarrassing moments at a shoot? Would you tell us what happened and how you survived?
Eeeeek. Do I have to tell this? I once wore hipster-jeans. And a T-shirt that turned out to be too-short. It was a family shoot. And some family members, at times, had to stand behind me. As a result, I had to adopt interesting positions so as not to provide a less than flattering view to the audience at my, um, rear. I have since built up an impressive collection of Very Long T-shirts. I survived by giggling and yip, I actually explained my predicament and asked them to stand to one side a bit…
11. What music do you listen to when you have to get through long hours of admin and editing?
Mornings: Mostly radio. Afternoons: Ongoing very rowdy soundtrack courtesy of my two boisterous boys. Evenings: Whatever my husband is watching on TV…
12. Which aspect of your craft are you the least and most confident in?
I’m not a professional photographer – just a big-time enthusiast! So, I’ve got a loooong way to go. Least confident – shooting in low-light conditions and flash photography. Most confident – I can usually get people to laugh and relax! (Is that part of the ‘craft’?)
13. When you have to make big decisions, which do you prefer? “Flipping a coin”, “Comparing the pro’s and con’s” or “going with the flow”.
Somewhere between the ‘comparing’ and the ‘flow’.. Usually, my gut feel wins…
14. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Italy. We’ve been there once and thanks to our car breaking down, we spent more time there than we’d planned. And I’m so glad we did. I fell head over heels in love with the loud Italians.. crazy drivers.. the language.. washing lines strung up between the buildings in Florence…oh, and that restaurant owner who kept feeding us free coffee and tiramisu because we were laughing so loudly and so non-stop, that apparently we were good for business!
15. Give a link to one of your recent shoots that you absolutely loved shooting? Why did you enjoy it so much?
It was a personal project… I did a shoot of my sister on the Durban beach one very grey day towards the end of last year. The shoot was based on the song “Praise You in the storm” which was our ‘motto’ during tough times. It was very emotional as she just spontaneously walked into the waves, along the beach, doing her ‘own thing’ whilst I stood at a distance (camera in plastic bag) snapping away… Absolutely “loved” is maybe not the right word – but it was a shoot that touched my heart, because it told a very real story with real memories.