A true Renaissance Man, James Ogilvy is a regular on London’s cultural scene – spotted at the chicest art openings from Ordovas to Gagosian, including the accompanying panel discussions often hosted by daughter Flora Vesterberg. Apart from being sought after for his exquisite landscape designs, Ogilvy is internationally recognised by the beau monde for his evocative photographs.
Coveted by prominent collectors in LA, NYC and the elite who summer on Nantucket Island, Ogilvy is returning to the UK market with his latest series Thin Places – launched by the elegant London-based gallery Lumitrix, in partnership with Artsy. The meditative series is inspired by the interface between land, sea, and sky; and the innate otherworldliness these ‘thin places’ hold.
According to New York Times bestseller Eric Weiner, ‘thin places’ is a Gaelic-Christian term which ‘refers to those rare locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses.’ Given Ogilvy’s proud Scottish heritage – with his paternal grandfather having been the 12th Earl of Airlie – it’s apropos that his artistic expression offers a subtle nod to his native Scotland.
Composed of six large-scale, tranquil seascapes, Thin Places, much like a collection of rare artefacts, chronicles heavenly locations dotted along the Atlantic coast. Frequently shot at dawn, whilst the first rays of morning light burn off the night mist, Ogilvy expertly captures the shimmering blues, misty pinks and molten corals that usher in a new day. A bewitching sight to behold.
Over the years, Ogilvy’s practice has been enhanced by observing the esteemed British photographers for whom he was a subject — like Lord Snowdon, John Swannell, and Cecil Beaton. A confluence between his technical skill and a devotion to nature have ensured that Ogilvy’s oeuvre is at once readily identifiable and yet impossible to reproduce.
To mark the release of Thin Places, Lumitrix has provided Tatler with the following exchange, offering exclusive insight into Ogilvy’s creative process and aesthetic inspirations.
Describe your process as a photographer?
O: I find that I get the best results when I am in an almost meditative state. You need the conditions to be right – location, weather, atmosphere, light, silence – and your head to be clear. Then you wait.
Which opportunity has defined your career thus far?
O: An exhibition that I held in the United States in 2017. Having taken photographs all my life, it put things on a new level for me.
Describe the space within which you work?
O: The great outdoors!
Which photographers are you most influenced by?
O: Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Sebastião Salgado.
How has your journey informed you?
O: I have always loved photography of all kinds and appreciate many different styles. You never stop learning from others.
Which photographers would you like to collect?
O: Hiroshi Sugimoto and Edward Burtynsky.
Is there a subject that you’ve yet to explore?
O: Yes, I am beginning to explore a section of river near where I live. It takes a while to truly get to know a place.
Has social media positively impacted your work?
O: Yes, but I do not let it rule my life.
Which of your travels has inspired you?
O: Many places, but New Zealand is a really remarkable location – much of it feels almost prehistorically elemental.
What advice would you give your younger self?
O: Keep your eyes open and always carry an actual camera, preferably with a viewfinder! Phones are for making phone calls.
Explore Ogilvy’s entire limited-edition series at Lumitrix.com
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