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Radcollector.com: Columns | Laura Austin | decent exposure: OLI GAGNON

Laura Austin

decent exposure: OLI GAGNON

03 February 2010, 08.19 | Posted in Decent Exposure, Snowboarding | 2 comments »


Oli Gagnon is a force to be reckoned with. Coming out of Canada, not only is he a senior photographer for Snowboarder Magazine, but he runs a mag of his own. It makes sense, after shooting all season and having all these left over shots that weren’t used. But Oli isn’t filling up his magazine with “B” roll shots…. “At Slash I usually get the leftovers from all the photographers; stuff that none of the big US mags and Canadian mags are using. And it’s all super sick stuff! My goal is to just make a magazine that will be sick, legit action at all times, no bullshit, no milking it. A magazine by snowboarders, for snowboarders.” Oli said in a previous interview. With that being said, I give you Oli Gagnon…


Oli’s Self Portrait

Place you call home: Squamish, BC and Quebec

Some say print is dying… do you agree?

Definitely not. Its like film, it will always be around. I think its just gonna get more selective on what will be printed and what will be online. Like news papers and all  those kinds of publications that people just throw in the trash after reading every day.

20090324-alaska-wille_yle-luoma-0290Wille Yli-Luoma

What’s your favorite thing to shoot?

Snowboarding, skateboarding, live music, people

Photo with the best story behind it:


This is a photo of DCP doing a bs720 in Juneau, Alaska last spring. It’s a pretty basic photo when you first look at it but it means a lot to me.  This photo is the very last photo I shot before a huge avalanche took Absynthe’s filmer Justin Hostynek and I down a big bowl. Probably the scariest moment I’ve ever experienced in my life. I seriously thought I was done when I looked up and saw the huge chunks coming down my way.  I lost my snowboard, my camera bag, my jacket and went for a hell of a ride. Justin’s camera got taken down as well and he lost his board and got a crazy beating too. It was crazy. Fortunately everybody was ok but it was a real close call. After looking around we were able to dig out the camera and my camera bag. I couldn’t believe it.  I literally cried after everything was over and I saw that everybody was ok. I really hope this will never happen to me again I am really thankful that things didn’t go worse that day. When you look closer at that photo of DCP, you can see a sun reflection on the nose of his board that looks just like a star. In all my years of shooting I’ve never seen that happen in any of my photos before. That might sound cheesy but I kinda feel like this was some sort of sign… like a lucky star looking over us or something haha!

The most played out thing in photography right now:

In snowboard photography?? Shooting “planned out” covers. And making snowboarding look stupid. Photographers that try to tell riders what to do and/or refuse to shoot some stuff. Photographers that don’t know enough about snowboarding to tell if a trick is good or not and send in bad photos to magazines. And the worst are the magazines that run those photos. Photoshopping  photos so they’re perfect. I don’t want to vent too much but for some reason I feel like the list goes on and on and on…..

20090120-toronto-max_legend-21-oligagnon©Max Legend

Favorite photographer outside of snowboarding:

This is a hard one.. there’s so many amazing photographers out there…. Snowboarding is nothing really…. When you look at dudes like Ansel Adams it just blows my mind. Photos that he shot 60 years ago with a 4×5 camera that are incredible. I also really like Brian Gaberman and Daniel Harold Sturt. They’re sick skate photogs.

20090208-minnesota-ben_bilocq-jonas_michilot-0001Jonas Michilot

Do you think that people either have a good eye or they don’t…. or can someone learn how to become a good photographer?

I definitely think its something you have or don’t. You can always learn the photo techniques in school and be a “competent” photographer, but if you don’t have the eye I guess its harder. The way I see it is that I think a good photographer can make it happen and shoot a good photo, but a great photographer just lets it happen and gets the moment…


What kind of projects are you working on now?

The main project I am working on right now is my magazine, “Slash snowboardmag”. It’s  distributed in Canada in French and English, 3 times a year.


You’re a senior photographer for Snowboarder Magazine as well… how do you balance that and your magazine Slash?

I’ve been working with those guys (Snowboarder Mag) for almost 7 years now, so it’s kinda like a big family. When I told Pat I was gonna start my own magazine in Canada he was actually stoked on the idea. I’m not trying to be in competition with anybody, and plus I think there is room for another Canadian magazine (published in French) since the scene is so big here… And also, Snowboarder only runs a really small percentage of all the photos I shoot during the winter, so I needed to find a way to get all those photos out there so the riders get stoked.


Natural Sunlight or Flashes?

It all depends of the situation you’re in… I suppose a good photographer should be able to shoot a good photo in any situation and not limit himself.


Black & White or color?

Everything. You just gotta make sure you choose the  right one for the right situation.


What’s next?

Print more magazines,  record a new record with my band, skate, learn new songs on the guitar, shoot more photos, travel, enjoy every minute of my life, SHRED.

  1. [...] It’s time for some action, sport! Skate n snow magazine’s leftover shots by Oli Gagnon reported by rad collector’s columnist Laura Austin. Q & A with Oli here. [...]

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