PODCAST: A Photographic Life, Episode 131: Plus Photographer Olivia Rose

In episode 131 UNP founder and curator Grant Scott is in his shed considering technology and photography, marking the passing of Frank Horvat, and reflecting on the portrait photograph as a historical document.

Plus this week photographer Olivia Rose takes on the challenge of supplying Grant with an audio file no longer than 5 minutes in length in which she answer’s the question ‘What Does Photography Mean to You?’

Olivia Rose graduated in 2008 from the fashion photography course at the London College of Fashion. She was one of 100 photographers selected for the British Journal of Photography’s ‘Portrait of Britain’ award in 2017 and was the WBW Awards photographer of the year 2016. Olivia balances freelance picture editing for major mainstream press, with her personal projects and commissions for magazines such as i-D and Vogue with a portfolio of portraits including Mary J Blige, Drake and Jorja Smith. In 2016 her extensive documentation of the UK’s grime scene developed into and award-nominated book This is Grime created together with journalist Hattie Collins. Her clients include Nike, McQ, Timberland, The Kooples, Dazed and Confused, and The Fader amongst many others. www.oliviarosephotography.co.uk

Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Taylor Francis 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Taylor Francis 2019). His next book What Does Photography Mean to You? will be published in November 2020.

© Grant Scott 2020


  1. Hi Grant, I must confess I’m finding the labouring of “photography is not about the camera” tiresome. I don’t think anyone really believes that. There are simply different conversations to be had, all of which are valid. Is it abhorrent to be a car enthusiast because someone asserts that a car is simply a tool for getting from A to B? I get the impression that it’s cool to be heard distancing oneself from the camera. In the same vein, I watched a bunch of photographers speak of their work on a stage a few months back and each one of them had the need to state that they weren’t photographers; they were artists. I could not escape the feeling that it was cool, and now trite, to be heard saying that one is above the photographer, just as it’s cool to say that one is above “the techy side” as you put it.   I note that frequently, when you ask your guests, what photography means to them, they start by saying that they were given their first camera back when..  So when Olivia is asked what photography means to her and she states that “the thing that she was never much interested in was the camera & the tech” instead, “it’s the people I get to meet” I respect & commend the latter it but it seems that the camera & tech assertion is de rigueur and I now find it trite.

    Now I’m sure some readers will categorise me as “one of those” here. That would be far from the truth and to tell me that I miss the point would be equally insulting. I’ve been practising seriously since the 80s, listen to all your podcasts because your material is about the image and have attended numerous courses, the last one of which was one run by MoMA Learning. ..and just as you spoke about your Canon 5D a couple of times, I don’t avoid mentioning my Nikon gear either.  Having said that, your voice from the shed is in my ears every Thursday when I take a long bush walk and I so look forward to listening. I thank you immensely for your wonderfully succint & entertaining podcasts.   

    1. Thanks for the considered response and for supporting the podcast. For me the camera is a tool and nothing more, not because it is cool to say but because it is how I feel. But I agree that other photographers are more interested in equipment than I am. That first tool or camera given to a child I see as a key not a piece of equipment. But as always all opinions are important and welcome. Best Grant

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: