People And Places

We speak to photographer and director Olly Burn about his moving sport scenes: “I use photography as an excuse to get involved in situations”

By Glorious

Photography by Olly Burn

A fascination with people and places, as well as moving scenes, lends itself perfectly to the work of London-based British photographer Olly Burn, who has the ability to encapsulate real and honest stories featuring top-of-their game athletes. His locations become integral to the story, whether that’s a London skatepark, downtown Kingston in Jamaica, a Mars research facility in Utah or the Somaliland planes. Even though Olly thrives on movement themed commissions (clients include adidas, ASICS, Nike, PUMA and Reebok), he manages to capture the essence of any sport whilst retaining a sense of calm, serenity and ease in his subjects. We were keen to find out more:

Glorious (G) What was your route into photography? Olly Burn (OB) I was constantly drawing from a very young age and experimented with other mediums as I got older. I first started taking pictures as a teenager. We had a little broom cupboard darkroom at secondary school. I was shooting on my mum’s compact 35mm and able to explore black and white hand printing. There’s something almost alchemic to seeing the images appear on the paper in the trays. I was hooked from then.

I did a degree in photography at Falmouth, spent a year photographing passengers on a cruise ship before moving to London. It was through assisting that I learnt the skills that enabled me to go it alone. I assisted two photographers full-time and had a handful of freelance clients. That exposure to the industry and to what works and what doesn’t was really important to me.

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