born in 1959 in Hilversum (the Netherlands), lives in Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
Mixing photojournalism with studio photography, Olaf emerged on the international art scene in 1988, when his series Chessmen was awarded the first prize in the Young European Photographer competition. This award was followed by an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany. Since then, Olaf has continued to explore the issues of gender, sensuality, humour, despair and grace in his works.In 1991 he began working with film which has since continued to be an important medium for his art.
Recent monographs are Erwin Olaf, Aperture Foundation, New York, (2008) and Vite Private, Contrasto, Milan (2010). His worldwide campaigns for Diesel Jeans and Heineken won him the coveted Silver Lion at the Festival for Advertising in Cannes. He also won numerous other international art and media prizes, such as Photographer of the Year in the International Colour Awards in 2006, and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Artist of the Year of the Netherlands in 2007. Recently, he received a Lucie Award for his entire oeuvre.