Buvette Masthead

Martin Ollman: Abstractions of nature, people and places

Alice Stapleton

Is that an intricately embroidered gown from a Paris atelier? Or the rust on the side of a tractor in Canberra?

Is that a leaf, or a river system in South Australia?

Mysterious and intriguing, these are the images that form Abstractions, a new exhibition by photographer Martin Ollman set to open this Friday 6 July at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

Martin explains that the theme came from the nature of the photographs themselves as it covers both their diverse subject matter and the way in which they were captured.

“It’s a collection of abstract photos that over the years that have stuck out – ones that I’ve always wanted to see printed on a wall,” he says.

“The original title for the exhibition was 55cm to 5000 ft, which is because you’ll notice all of the pictures in the exhibition were vertically shot, so looking down on things.”

This title is fitting, given how in ‘Harlequin Stone’ (feature image), the vivid lines of a rock shot from 55cm away appear as an ocean in the afternoon sun, shot from 5000 feet above.

Seemingly abstract at first, each image forces your eye to question exactly what you’re looking at as you soak in the minute detail.

Martin Ollman, Rusted tractor, Holt. 2015.

Having started his career on the overnight photo desk at Reuters in 1990s London and then at the Canberra Times, Martin’s early career was founded on shooting news, events, features and sport using traditional emulsion film and darkroom developing.

After a 15-year hiatus working in information systems, Martin came back to full-time photography and since then, his work has been commissioned and reproduced by Uber, Nike, Woodford Folk Festival, Getty Images, CSIRO, the ACT Government, The Australian, HerCanberra and many more.

It is this expansive career that Martin drew his Abstractions from, some shots taken while on assignment, some shots taken in his spare time.

A photo from ‘Abstractions’. Image supplied.

While his photos of Canberra are iconic and he’s had the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Kylie Minogue and Nelson Mandela pose for his lens, Martin’s abstractions will force you to linger a little longer.


the essentials 

What: Abstractions by Martin Ollman
When: 6 – 28 July
Where: Tuggeranong Arts Centre, 137 Reed Street, Greenway
Printing Partner: Lucent Imaging
Website: tuggeranongarts.com/events/abstractions and martinollman.com


Alice Stapleton

Alice Stapleton is a born and bred Canberran woman and soon to be graduate from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Journalism. With the world in her hands and a whole lot of life to live, Alice spends her spare time outside of studying and working in hospitality looking for new adventures and opportunities to explore her creative side. More about the Author

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