The ‘Piquant Artist Series’ is our new series of short films, exploring artists from a diverse range of disciplines, and examining a specific piece from their body of work. With this series, we wanted to highlight the passion, process and hardship that goes into making something thoroughly creative and unique.
In the first video of the series, we spoke to photographer Oliver Smith about his collection of images ‘Looking for Ghosts’.
Oliver is a Montreal-based photographer from Westport, Co. Mayo. With a degree from Limerick School of Art and Design, he spent years photographing nightclubs, illegal raves, and house parties on a weekly basis during the height of the Irish recession.
After starting a Masters of Fine Arts in photography in Belfast School of Art in 2013, looking to escape commercial club photography, Ollie found himself in a state of reflection: casting a critical eye on the music scene he was part of, delving deeper into the counter-culture rave scene, and exploring the spiritual qualities associated with a group of people who congregate in a field to escape the realities of daily life.
In his own words: “Looking for Ghosts’ documents the micro-communities that develop in the underground dance music scene. People make religious-like pilgrimages into the countryside away from the cities and modern life to party and connect with one another on a more spiritual level. All these shots were taken at the end of the night, the transition between the fantasy and reluctantly starting the journey back to reality.”
Oliver was an instrumental creative force in the early days of Piquant. His desire to represent and celebrate the real has shaped our approach to photography and video production. What we like about Oliver’s ‘Looking for Ghosts’ image series is their immediacy, often images representing underground music scenes can rely on cliche and nostalgia, not here. These images are authentic, real, sometimes humorous and sometimes sad. The images are ultimately created in a moment of trust between the subject and photographer. It is clear that the photographer is very much part of the story.