In 2007 David Oliver was awarded a Grand Master of Photography, the AIPP has also honoured David with the distinction of an AIPP Fellow in recognition of his extraordinary photographic achievements and commitment to the art of photography. Recognised worldwide for his individual and timeless style, David has had commissions encompassing amazing locations all across the globe from medieval castles in Ireland to New York’s Central Park. David is called upon regularly to share his passion and knowledge of photography, lecturing here in Australia and throughout the world. He has also co produced two fine art books on landscape and Documentary photography.
View David’s Nikon Ambassador profile and gallery by clicking here
What as your first paid job?
Photographing a wedding, with an old Mamiya RB 6×7 which took 10 shots per roll.(very stressful).
When & how did you go professional?
Way back in the late 70s, I was asked by the Elton Ward group if I would like to join them full time as a portrat photographer, I said yes and it turned out to be one of those life changing decisions, I have never looked back.
Top tip for beginners?
Never stop taking pictures for yourself, I have seen too many photographers come and go, because they had lost that passion that got them into photography in the 1st place.
If you could photograph anyone or anything, living or dead who would it be?
Present Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins,? Past Mother Theresa, Henri-Cartier-Bresson, Audrey Hepburn.Best advice you’ve ever been given?
It was from john Whitfield King asking me to ditch my medium format gear and concentrate on 35mm for my portrait and wedding work.
Who was your mentor?
Would have to be Elliot Erwitt I was lucky enough to be invited to be his minder for the 2004 convention in Darling Harbour. I learnt more in those 5 days than any other point in my carrier.
What opportunities do you see as an Ambassador?
Meeting lots of new photographers, swapping stories, meeting designers of these great new cameras and lenses.
Who are your 3 favourite photographers and why?
Henri-Cartier Bresson would have to be my no.1. His body of work is just unbelievable, his passion kept him going into his 90’s (just imagine how long he would have lived if he hadn’t smoked)
Elliot Erwitt: I am lucky enough to have 3 of his most famous pictures hanging in my hallway. His sense of humor in photography is 2nd to none!
David Bailey: I was born in the same neck of the woods as Bailey so he has been a great inspiration for me. He is known for his amazing fashion photographs but he did also do some quirky landscapes.
What’s your biggest photographic disaster?
Many Years ago my lab informed me that they had put all my colour film through the b/w processor; it happened to be a wedding and both bride and groom were lawyers. Luckily they loved the B&W that I had taken.
Best photographic story?
Best Story, travelling to Rwanda and photographing the People, Landscape, and Wildlife one of the many highlights was going to Mother Theresa’s Orphanage. I went in shooting away and a sister softly took the camera from my hands and handed me two babies and explained to me that these children don’t get cuddles for days on end. My camera was put down by my side and I was overwhelmed by the situation. It really put my feet on the ground.
What’s your favourite location for shoots?
The one I have just got back from the ISLE OF SKYE up in the Highlands of Scotland, the journey there is as good as the destination. It’s a photographer’s paradise.
Who is the most famous person you have photographed?
Would have to be John Howard not one of my favorite politicians but I guess he would have to be the highest profile person I have photographed.
Helping to bring 3 children into the world and being invited to photograph the hope Rwanda project a couple of years ago.
Where do you see the photography industry is heading?
It’s only going to get more and more interesting and exciting and I for one am looking forward to the challenge.
What would you like to see more of?
Great commercial photography, unfortunately it has seemed to have disappeared over the last 10 years.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a photographer?
I would be trying to become a photographer
What Nikon Gear are you using at the moment?
D3s & D3x both used for entirely different purposes, Lenses 24-70 f2.8 70-200 f2.8 are two of the greatest lenses I have ever used also I should throw in the 50 1.4 for travel documentary work.
What’s you favourite Nikon product and why?
D3 AND D3X, D3 is used for photographing weddings and all my low light photography. D3X is used for my portrait and landscape work. I love using the 24-70m f2.8 such a versatile lens with brilliant optics, also love using the 105m f2.8 macro the best portrait lens I have ever used . The new 50mm f1.4 is also a brilliant lens.