Cover Artist: An interview with These Gentle Wound's Cover photographer and model Oliver Charles

These Gentle WoundsI fell in love with my cover the minute I saw it. It didn't have my name on it, or even the book title. It was just a photo of a boy back-lit by sun and I adored it with the passion of an author who was terrified that her book would be branded with a cover she hated. Since then, TGW has received a lot of cover love and I'm thrilled that readers seem to respond to it in the same way I do. Now, just a few days before the book is released I think, if anything, I love it even more than I did on that first viewing. I urge you to take a look at Oliver's other images on Flickr and Facebook. Enjoy.

 

Q: How did you first get into photography?

I have always been very interested in art, but up until about 3 years ago, photography was never something that I had experimented with. I first got started with photography when I looked through one of my friends’ portfolios, and I was so intrigued and inspired by the new levels of conceptuality and creativity that young photographers were creating and posting online. After that, I set up a flickr account and started a 365 project (taking a self-portrait every day for 365 days).

Q: Why did you make the decision to also model in your images?

Towards the beginning of my photography days I never specifically wanted myself as the main subject in my images, but for me it was easier, as I had full creative control over what the image would look and how I would want the subject to pose. Also, it’s enjoyable to have myself in the image as I am able to see what I would look like in these ‘worlds’ that I am creating in my images.

Q: Does it make it more difficult or less when you're the subject as well?

I would say technically it can be a little more difficult as I have been in many situations in the past where my camera has not focused on me throughout an entire shoot without my realizing, or I may have a specific image in mind which may involve a female model. But artistically, it is far easier using myself as the subject as I can pose myself in the position that I initial intended for the image, which may not have been the same if I used a different model etc.

Q: How would you describe your work? There seems to be a feeling of melancholy in so many of them.

I would describe my work as dreamy and most of the time, dark. I always try and creating a juxtaposing concept for my image as I’m constantly inspired by the good and bad in the world. I try to create beautiful images but that isn’t very realistic to the world we live in, so I like to add an element of darkness. I wouldn’t say I create sad images, but I like to explore the human emotions, and place a character in a certain ‘world’ or setting and see how their emotions react to it.

Q: Can you tell me anything about the image that was used on These Gentle Wounds?

To be completely honest, the cover for the book was completely unplanned, but has a fairly nice story to it. It was a beautiful summer's day and I’m always extremely inspired in the summer, so I decided to just go outside and take pictures, with no idea of what I wanted to create. I wanted to capture the beautiful weather in all it’s glory, and my feeling of complete content, which was felt at the time.

 

 

Is this the first photo of yours that has been bought for a book cover?

It’s my second actually. Last year I was also featured on the cover of an Italian novel titled ‘Backstage’ by the publishing company Playground Libri.

Where is the best place for people to go to view more of your work?

I have two separate platforms for my work. I have a flickr account, which is flickr.com/olivercharles, featuring my entire photography portfolio. I also have a Facebook page at facebook.com/olivercharlesphoto, which features behind the scenes images, and up-to-date info of what’s going on in my life :)