Suburbia

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Inspired by art and documentary photography, University of Salford Styling and Image Making graduate, Vicky Olschak's photographs could easily be placed within the same ilk.

Her 'characters' form the heart and body of work - unkempt, honest and immediately relatable, they appear almost as subjects from fly-on-the-wall documentaries and low-production reality TV programmes, with Olschak's photographs acting as the promotional still, capturing one programme’s worth of story in a singular frame.

TRIP: How and when did you first get into fashion?
Vicky Olschak: I don't know really. I guess I was always really interested in what people were wearing. I hung around with a lot of older kids and I guess I dressed older than those my age and became interested in fashion quite young. There wasn't really that moment of realisation that I wanted to work in fashion, it was just something I loved and always knew I wanted to do..

TRIP: What is it about the visual side of fashion and the creation of fashion imagery that you are drawn to?
Vicky Olschak: I love the story behind it. I'd rather imagery have something more behind it than just beautiful clothes. I'm more interested in the way they are put together.

TRIP: How would you describe your aesthetic?
Vicky Olschak: I guess it's quite tacky. A designer once described it as 'realistically ugly', which I think pretty much sums it up.

TRIP: Do you prefer to shoot digitally or on film?
Vicky Olschak: I don't really have a preference. I kind of see it as an aesthetically choice, so it depends on the project and which I think will work best with it. I just like to shoot on pretty shitty cameras really, and don't tend to work with studio equipment. I prefer images to not look so 'clean', to the point where they lose any kind of realness behind them.

TRIP: Are there any particular photographers or stylists who have inspired you? If so, who? And what is it about their work that has inspired you?
Vicky Olschak: I'm inspired a lot by art/documentary photographers - Martin Parr, Tom wood and Gosha Rubchinskiy are huge inspirations for me as well as Jamie Hawkesworth, Nick Waplington and Katy Grannan. I'm pretty much inspired by anyone who has interesting work.

Styling wise - Max Pearmain and Stevie Dance. I like strange pairings with styling, where you can look at someone's work and think, fuck I wish I'd have thought of that...

TRIP: You studied Styling and Image Making at the University of Salford – How did you find your time there? Has Manchester had an influence on your work?
Vicky Olschak: I really learnt so much there. I think it helped to have someone understand where I was coming from with my ideas and guide me through the fuck ups before going into the industry.

I grew up in greater Manchester, so yeah, I feel like it has definitely had an influence on my work and aesthetic. I tend to get a lot of styling inspiration from people in the street, generally a lot of old people or people that aren't necessarily into fashion... and there are some great subjects near where I live.

TRIP: You shoot in some great locations – do you generally shoot in Manchester?
Vicky Olschak: I have tended to, yeah - but not intentionally - mainly because I grew up in the area so I knew certain places that I wanted to shoot in to tie in with concepts.

TRIP: How important is the location and the idea of telling a story through your work, for you?
Vicky Olschak: I think location is as important as any part of the process such as the styling or the model. You tell your ideas through location as well as everything else...

TRIP: I love your choice of subjects - from hard-faced young red-heads, to an unsuspecting family of 3 enjoying some fast-food. How do you go about sourcing your subjects?
Vicky Olschak: For a shoot, it depends on the concept. Sometimes it's about finding the right model and then I might use an agency. But sometimes I feel that I need to street cast a 'realer' model to make the concept more believable.

TRIP: There is a sense that you are documenting your surroundings, rather than proposing this pre-determined ‘fashion idea’. It feels real and personal.
Vicky Olschak: My ideas tend to come from my own life and my past, so I guess that makes it quite emotive. I tend to be inspired by documentary photographers - I like that mix of fashion and art photography and I try to incorporate that into my images.

TRIP: How do you go about styling a shoot? Do you style the subject in their own clothes?
Vicky Olschak: I source all of the clothes but try to style in a way that I feel the character in the shoot would dress. I research heavily into collections and trends but I like the styling to have resonance with the actual character and concept to create a more genuine image.

TRIP: What has been your favourite project to date?
Vicky Olschak: I guess I'd have to say the 'Solidarity' shoot I did. It was kind of that turning point project in finding my aesthetic and the fact that DUST liked it and published it online was really amazing.

TRIP: What can we expect from you next?
Vicky Olschak: At the moment I'm working on some collaborative shoots with a photographer friend of mine, which I'll be styling. We've been working on producing a magazine for a while, so hopefully that will be in the works too. I'm also working on personal projects, photography wise.

See more from Olschak on her Website.