Hi Elena thank you for taking the time to answer our questions on SimplySxy. Please share with our readers a little about yourself and where you’re from?
My name is Elena Ohlander and I am a visual artist and freelance hair/beauty model. I grew up and reside in Jacksonville, Florida. No matter where I have travelled to in the world, Jacksonville feels like home. I call it the biggest small town in Florida because it has a nice balance of city/suburban lifestyle with access to beaches and springs. I spend most of my time making art, going to gallery exhibitions and spending time with my daughter. I am also a big foodie and huge supporter of local businesses. My favorite food, hands down, is Ramen.
When did your interest in photography begin?
My interest in photography began back in 2008 when I took a trip to Japan for five weeks. I bought a DSLR camera so I could really document my trip with higher quality and in the process of doing so, realized I enjoyed candid, photojournalistic or documentary style of photography. It wasn’t enough to just learn on the fly, I wanted to be academically rooted in my work and got my BFA in photography. Although I have been an artist all my life, working in the medium of watercolor, oil, and mixed-media. I have returned to my roots since graduating in 2014 and find myself somewhat of an emerging artist. You can view my portfolio of current work on my website: www.elenaohlander.com or my personal Instagram @elena_honey.
Which is your most memorable photoshoot experience so far?
Within the photographic medium I work in conceptual self-portraiture, which is an interesting experience in and of itself. Often I work in solitude, just me, my camera and tripod with a remote shutter release. However, some of my photographer friends will assist me when I work within a wider frame in natural environments.
My most memorable experience, up until now is when I took a trip to Norway to connect with family I had never met and work on an explorative series about identity. Much to my surprise, I found out that one of my mothers’ cousins had been a professional photographer all of his life and even opened The Norwegian School of Photography (or Norsk Fotofagskole) in Trondheim. We really bonded as he assisted me in my series called, Lost in Translation and he taught me so much in his critiques and feedback on my work. I miss him dearly and hope to visit him again soon, or vice versa.
Being a photographer yourself, are you more critical when you get photos taken of yourself?
Being a photographer and photographing myself gained me some attention to my likeness. I was always more of a “behind-the-lens” kind of person so it has been an interesting and insightful journey to model. Modeling began as a way to help my friends test shoot prior to a client, whether that is lighting or a new technique. Eventually I started working professionally as a model for hairstylist competitions which turned into modeling for hair companies such as Toni & Guy, Paul Mitchell, Aveda, Matrix, and other smaller hair extension companies. I am definitely more critical of the end-result because of my knowledge in photography but have learned a lot about the dynamic in working with a creative team from multiple perspectives and I am more cognizant of my approach to modeling. You can view my modeling portfolio on Instagram @elenaohlander.
Is there something in life you can’t get enough of?
I cannot get enough time in my studio. When I am in my studio, it’s like all time has stopped and I spend hours there, totally zoned into my work. Another thing I cannot get enough of is time with my daughter. She is currently seven going on eight and I do my best to savor every single moment with her. Time really is an elusive thing.
If you can have a superpower, what will it be?
If I could have a super power, it would be to freeze time so I could get more work done. I think life is too short not to experience all that life has to offer.
Have you ever been in a funny or embarrassing situation before?
I cannot recall such an experience as it is difficult for me to feel embarrassed. I embrace any and all of my imperfections.
Have you had a bad date experience ever?
I have only been in long-term relationships and therefore have never really “dated” someone.
It is a pleasure to feature you Elena. One question before we end, how do you define “sexy”?
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me beyond the photographs of me, I am both honored and delighted. To me, the most attractive quality in a person is their intellect. There is nothing more “sexy” than someone who has depth beyond their physical appearance.
Follow the beautiful Elena Ohlander on:
Group Exhibition at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida in January.
Group Exhibition at The Space Gallery in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida in February.
Publications in 2018 to look out for.
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