You would think that you could immediately say which news photographer won 11 prizes this year. You would probably think..”mmm, someone from VII or Getty, no ?”.
You could say that but you would be wrong.
This year alone, he won:
3 National Geographic prizes.
4 White House News Photographers associations prizes
Grand prize PDN & National Geographic Traveler
2 Honorable Mentions PX3 Prix de la photographie de Paris
First Place portrait Best Of Photojournalism NPPA
Yet his images have never been shown at Visa Pour l’image, ICP and other venerable photo institution. You will not see his images at the first NY photo festival. Probably because he does not shoot wars, does not have any images of dead people and does not carry a HOLGA. However you have seen his images in Newsweek, TIME, Stern, Paris Match. And you will see more, trust me. You even have seen him published here.
Yes, it’s Olivier Douliery, from Abaca Press . Extremely talented news photographer from Washington DC who does magic with an extremely difficult subject : US politics. A great example of what photojournalism can do when it does not desperately try to be art, but a communication language. Olivier does not capture faces and places, he gets their soul. From a defeated Mike Tyson before his final match, to a playful Dalai Lama, from a Bill Clinton looking through the shoes of his candidate wife, to a George Bush laughing like a little kid at his inauguration as if he just pulled a nasty trick at another kid in the schoolyard, Olivier photograph with a smart sense of humor that makes you smile and reflect at the same time. There is no politicians in Olivier’s image, but rather players on an empty stage that have their moments of sadness, doubt, happiness, exhaustion, triumph. People with emotions, like you and me. Olivier captures the emotions of the so called powerful. The whole gamut. And makes them human again, with an incredible respect for his subject. A little bit as he was photographing his cousins at summer family gathering.
There is a sense of time in all of his images, of immediacy. It would be almost impossible to take any of his image and put them out of context. They would look odd and wrong. That is why he is a great photojournalist. Because he no only captures the person, but also everything that is going in at that time, in that persons life.
And finally, Olivier is great human being. Nice, polite, helpful, he is respected and adored by his peers. I am privileged to know him. He as a great career ahead of him.