Absurd Laws Visualized: 'Vogue' Q&A with SVA Alumnus Olivia Locher
August 30, 2017
From Vogue: "It’s illegal to store an ice cream cone in your back pocket in the state of Alabama, says photographer Olivia Locher in her debut photography book, I Fought the Law (Chronicle Books). Or is it? The book, out next month, presents 50 (one for each state) pictorial enactments of 'laws'—a cherry-picked selection of oddball decrees, some mere hearsay and others unfathomably factual. The result is a surreal compilation of imagery: a man riding a bicycle in a swimming pool, fishing poles baited with sticks of Acme-like dynamite, and a not-so-still life of bouncing pickles.
Referencing Alejandro Jodorowsky’s fantastical films of the 1970s and a pastel-heavy Pop Art palette (her appreciation of the Warhol-era runs deep; she describes herself as forever on the hunt for original Halston), Locher’s work makes a blithe and cheery first impression but takes a subversive turn upon closer inspection. Her book tells a precautionary tale, calling attention to the blurred line between actual and believed truths. Locher doesn’t disclose which of the 50 laws are pure myths ('it would suck the fun out of it'), playfully perpetuating the cycle of misinformation or, as of late, alternative facts.
With a corresponding exhibition at Manhattan’s Steven Kasher Gallery (opening September 14), Locher’s timely social critique arrives somewhat serendipitously. 'It’s a really happy accident,” explains Locher. 'I sat with the contract for a while, so technically this book could have come out maybe a year ago. It’s almost magic that I took forever to sign it, because now it feels so much more appropriate.'
Over iced coffees at Tribeca’s Maman, we sat down with the 26-year-old photographer to discuss lies, laws, and ice cream.
How did you develop an interest in photography?
I was homeschooled, so I was kind of a space cadet, and I was going to the bookstore and getting every fashion magazine. I really took to Marc Jacobs and Juergen Teller collaborations because I was really into the people they would photograph: actors, musicians. I would try to copy Juergen’s style with my friends…” (For the full interview and more photos, click here)