Interview: Erik Olsen on the freedom of being an online VJ and his most memorable experience to date

Erik Olsen is a trendsetting video journalist working exclusively for the New York Times website. Largely self taught, he has achieved success in TV and online, and traversed issues in politics, art, the environment and even cooking. His inventiveness with the camera is notably demonstrated in a film about an art installation by Maya Lin, about which he later commented:

The installation, called “Storm King Wavefield,” was a series of tall grassy hills that were built to look like waves. It is very lovely. The problem is that the day I went to visit Maya at the installation, it was overcast and the light was very flat — so flat, in fact, that you couldn’t really see the amazing depth of the grass waves, which was really a key part of what the piece was about. I stewed over what to do, and shot the installation from every angle imaginable. But it never looked right; you just couldn’t perceive the depth of the waves. So instead, I asked Maya to walk over the crests of the waves starting from the furthest one away, and shot the whole thing on a tripod without moving the camera. Then I crafted a nice little opener to my piece where Maya seems to float around the wave crests at various distances, which I think helped convey the beauty and depth of her work that was obscured by the bad light that day.

I spoke to Erik on Thursday, about the creative freedom of working for a website, the discerning nature of the online audience and his most memorable project todate.  Listen to the full interview:

 

 

 

 

You can view “Nikolski: An Alaskan Village in Crisis” here.

Laura Heighton-Ginns

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