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July 31 2014

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Olivier Zahm Shares The Secret Of Photographing Women

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For anyone who’s taken even the most cursory glance at an issue of Purple or Olivier Zahm’s Purple Diary, the title of his new show, The Secrets of Photographing Women, should come as very little surprise. But the secret is that, actually, there is no secret. “I guess the interesting thing is the book is all about the secret, but there really is no secret,” Zahm said at the opening at Los Angeles’ LeadApron Gallery last night.”It’s that all women are a secret that we try to understand.”

If understanding is the goal, few have done their homework more thoroughly than Zahm. The photos on display are culled from the work that he shoots everywhere from hotel rooms to parties to on the street. “Something is happening between the photographer and the model,” he explained of the intimate images, a combination of friends, lovers, and women who have come and gone from his life. “You can call it an emotion or an interaction, and it doesn’t have to be sexual. But I create an emotional contact with the women I photograph so she can express something very deep about herself.”

Though he is constantly showcasing his work on Purple Diary, the small-scale exhibit—and the Los Angeles locale—is new. “It’s difficult for me because I have to be my own critic,” Zahm explained. “Decide if this is a picture that has the potential to be artistic.” What about, say, the potential to be fashionable? “These pictures are not constructed,” he went on. “They are very rarely a fashion picture. It’s more of a moment with a model for me. I don’t want it to look like I am shooting a model. Even if there is fashion photography in the shoot, it’s always personal and intimate and a moment of abstraction.”

The Secrets of Photographing Women runs through June 12 at LeadApron Gallery, 8445 Melrose Place, L.A., www.leadapron.net.

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