Finding the oldest living All Black in a hospice in Auckland, sharing a vintage wine with Jim Harrison in his Montana home, shooting a portrait of a king penguin in South Georgia, crossing the rivers of Iceland on foot… Journalist, photographer and more, Olivier Joly has always let his steps guide him towards eclecticism, at the crossroads of emotions and encounters.
A graduate of the ESJ Lille, he was a major reporter for the Journal du Dimanche from 1994 to 2014 in the sports department for which he covered five soccer World Cups and as many rugby World Cups, seven Tours de France, three Vendée-Globe races… As the vice squad, the finance department and the narcotics department became more and more involved in the sports section, as footballers’ speaking time was controlled by their agents and as they insisted on “taking one match after the other”, his horizons were happily broadened towards the travel, book, music and portrait pages of the JDD.
At the same time, he has nurtured his taste for images by carrying out long term photographic projects on the roads of the world. He has published three beautiful books: Madagascar (Hermé, 1999), Quatre saisons en Patagonie (Gallimard, 2004) and 55° Sud (H2O, 2008), as well as numerous photo reports, published in magazines in France and abroad by the Explorer and Hoaqui agencies.
Surveyor of great geographical spaces and human intimacies, he has seen over time his intimate compass stubbornly pointing to the ends of the world, Tierra del Fuego, Lofoten, Antarctica, Spitzbergen … In 2009, he found his promised land: Iceland. By dint of travelling there, he pronounces perfectly Eyjafjallajökull and Kirkjubaejarklaustur. And even begins to know the mysterious highlands of the interior better than the Parisian region where he grew up. He has criss-crossed the island in all seasons before settling down there for a year, writing several reports on its hidden wonders and its slightly frosty inhabitants.
Since 2015, he has chosen the path of independence. Continuing to juggle between camera and pen, he collaborates with GEO, Air France Magazine, Paris Vous Aime, Femme Actuelle, Le Monde, Le Journal du Dimanche, Le Temps… In 2017, he released Quatre saisons en Islande, a declaration of love to a country and its inhabitants, a book mixing personal stories, general information and good tips, supporting photographs mixing landscapes and faces of the hyperboreal. Reprinted two years later in an enlarged version, the book has been a great publishing success.
His countless trips to the land of elves and trolls, his knowledge of places, people and history, his undeniable taste for the capricious Icelandic weather, eventually led Olivier to enrich the range of his activities: after having been a lecturer on the Ponant adventure cruise ships, he became a photographic guide at the request of great travel enthusiasts and connoisseurs of the Arctic world. This shared experience led to a magnificent journey that opened up new horizons for him.
SAGAS is a beautiful black and white book, accompanied by an exhibition, which takes a more intimate look at Iceland. It is a project carried out in parallel, these last years, on the big volcanic rock where he now flies several times a year in order to compensate for his urban life during the rest of the year.
SAGAS is a photographic gateaway into a thousand-year-old Iceland. For this dreamlike journey, black & white prevailed. It is the language of time immemorial, the only one capable of transmitting the raw force of my emotions.
140 B&W photographs, three-color printing, baryta photo print effect.