Olivia Chaber is a 22 year old photographer and multimedia artist originally from Nice, now living in Mexico City. She recently graduated from Emily Carr University, Vancouver with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. There, Olivia majored in photography and also worked on video, sculpture and installation projects.
“I would define my practice as situated on the border between artistic and documentary photography, and motivated by a desire to explore various topics such as personal and collective memory, the archive and the place of photography itself as a medium in contemporary society. I try to find relics of ancient mythologies and beliefs in modernity, as well as what for me are contemporary ruins, especially in the architecture of seaside towns and tourist areas. I am also interested in color as an object and societal concept as well as in its cultural meanings, present and historical, in constant evolution.
This series is the result of a two-month journey back to my home region of Nice in the south of France. Like in every touristic place, the contrast between truth and illusion, tangibility and dream finds itself exaggerated; the line between real and fake is most broad and brought to light in the coexistence of many different groups of people from all over the world living side by side with the Niçois during the busiest season of the year: Summer. I am fascinated by the seaside towns of the Mediterranean as I find them to be vibrant with an incomparable light and a rich culture in many aspects; however, my goal is not to perpetuate its portrayal as a luxurious paradise as it may have been in cinematic imaginary and popular media culture, but rather to reveal different realities beyond those of travel brochures, between sun-drenched ruins of abandoned villas and deserted resorts slowly decaying along the shore of an ancient sea, and beaches where luxury and abundant wealth live right next to the local population. I like to play with its pristine mainstream image and show my home region as I see it by re-appropriating its mythology and by playing with the superimposition offered by all these contrasts between popular utopia and authenticity. All of the Mediterranean coast has for millennia been a meeting point where many different destinies continue to cross paths, and I feel a special connection to its history when attempting to portray it in my own way.”
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All images copyright Olivia Chaber.