Luis Olazabal’s photographic oeuvre is a vivid documentation of the burgeoning music and arts scene in South Florida. He captures the grace and verve of live music performance by some of the most accomplished artists of our time, including jazz masters Charlie Haden, Wayne Shorter, Elvin Jones, Michael Brecker, Brazilian superstars Caetano Veloso, Marisa Monte, Lenine, Gilberto Gil, and pop/world music icons David Byrne, Gotan Project, Amadou and Mariam, and Jorge Drexler, among others. His photos of dance, theatre and performance art span the range of soloists in small, avant-garde venues, and rehearsal spaces to full productions in theatres, performing arts centers, and festivals.
Originally from Huaraz, Peru, and currently living and working in Miami Beach, Olazabal’s knowledge and passion for music informs his intuitive approach to his subject. It was his involvement in the expressive power of music that first compelled him to pick up a camera. His dedication to his craft is evident in each image he extracts from the phenomenon of a live performance, in color or in black and white.
Each photograph records a moment of absorption, of an artist being transported by the intense communion he or she shares with his or her instrument, body, supporting musicians, cast, and the audience. These moments are transformed into two-dimensional compositions which embody that original excitement, and convey the soul of the performer.
In addition to exhibiting his photos at Miami Light Project, 801 Projects, University of South Florida in Tampa, Books and Books, Bin No 18, Miami Contemporary Artists at the Freedom Tower during Art Basel 2007, Olazabal has been an active participant and collaborator in the Miami visual arts and performance community. His fluid definition of the photographic medium has enabled him to contribute to multi-disciplinary works such as IPO (Insane Performance Opportunity), where his documentary works were integral to both process and product of IPO, appearing in projections on stage, in print in a gallery, and in mixed media collage and film/video works produced by the artist team. A recent collaboration with sound artist Gustavo Matamoros for Vizcaya’s first Contemporary Arts Project, involved the creation of a video “Sight Organ” using Olazabal’s digital images. These were taken from inside the massive organ chamber at Vizcaya.
Olazabal’s work has been published in Vibe, 944, Miami Living, Miami New Times, LOFT, El Sentinel, Florida International Magazine, The Miami Herald, Miami SunPost, and Dance Magazine. His clients include JVC Jazz Festival, Sony-BMG Music, Subtropics: Experimental Music and Sound Arts Festival, Miami Light Project, Tigertail Productions. Since 2004, he has been the official photographer of The Rhythm Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting cutting edge musical acts from around the world to Miami audiences.