Meet our customer Oliver Knauer
, who works as a photographer and director. He has a few amazing stories up his sleeve and thus we asked him to tell us a few of them and a bit about himself, his life and his career so far.
When Oliver had finished high school he got the crazy idea that he wanted to be a navy seal. He stopped drinking, became a cycling delivery guy and started to work out for the hard tests that lay ahead. Then after half a year, at the final test, he realised that being a soldier wasn’t the right thing for him.
He then somehow ended up at a casting session and managed to get the leading role in a Thomas Vinterberg
film (”probably his least popular one” he says). He enjoyed the experience and ended up shooting a lot of images on set, finding out that what he really liked doing was having a camera in his hand. The cinematographer on this film was Antony Dod Mantle
(famous today for among other movies 'Slumdog Millionaire', 'Rush' and '127 hours') whose talent inspired Oliver in wanting to control the camera instead of having it pointed at him.
He tried his luck at getting into the Danish film school
”They thought I was way too young and unexperienced, and sent me away saying I should start as a still photographer instead. So I did!"
Having worked for 4 years for various photographers in Denmark, a friend of his who works at a model agency called and asked if he wanted to come in for a casting
”I said no, but she convinced me to come. Luckily I did. Mario Testino was shooting for V-Man and I ended up modelling and assisting for him, and he offered me a job.”
Oliver ended up working for Testino in London for three years as a photo assistant and shooting films for his clients:
”We were all over the place all the time. It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced and I found myself surrounded by people I'd been admiring my whole life. The high points must have been shooting Pelé in Peru - what a man! And also going to Kate Moss' wedding and shooting her personal wedding video."
Three years later he returned to Denmark to start his own career directing and shooting still photography.
"Being inspired by so many talented people made it so important for me to find my own style. It’s probably a journey which will consist of many bumps along the way but I love every part of it and feel so grateful to be able to live off my passion.”
What’s your most important source of inspiration?
"I think people are my most important source of inspiration. One of my first projects as a photography student was in Moscow, and I got so inspired by the variety of people passing by on the streets. Each with their own pace, look and expression. I really tried to capture their individual stories with my pictures.
I've continued to try to keep my work very honest. I'm a huge fan of natural light and of keeping retouching to an absolute minimum. People often tell me that i have a cinematic approach to my work, which is probably the product of trying to create a dynamic setting that feels real instead of static and composed.”
What’s your favourite occupation at the moment?
"My son, i don't think there is anything bigger in life than becoming a parent.
It makes you look at everything in a different light. Its hard to explain but definitely a game changer in the best possible way.”
Tell us about your recent project with Salle Privée - how did that come about?
”I was asked by my friend Marc Høm if i wanted to make a series of films for a new menswear brand called Salle Privée.
Their philosophy is great. They've made one collection of high quality and refined menswear and then maintained that collection to build on going forward. Always keeping their essentials as a base for any new developments. I thought that was both brave and very cool. On top of that they also had some great ideas for their campaign. Instead of showing young models, they wanted to portray real men from various professions in their work environment. Ambassadors that represent their philosophy.
What’s your relation to Goods?
"It's one of my favourite stores in Copenhagen and one of those places that makes it hard for the customer to fuck up his or her choices. Their inventory is classic but with a contemporary twist. You buy clothes here that you will have and wear for many years.”
You have been living in London and have also been travelling the world, then coming back to live in Copenhagen - What are the things you appreciate most about Copenhagen?
"I think Copenhagen is so unique. It's vibrant yet stylish and cozy. You can get anywhere on your bike and that feeling of freedom and fresh air is something I haven't got anywhere else."
Do you want to recommend something? Could be anything.
"I just had breakfast at 108
and their buns were insane!"