Interview: Oliver Klink BW Photographer of the Year at Dodho Magazine

Article link:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Switzerland. I was educated in three different countries (Switzerland, Canada, USA), got a Master in Physics, Master in Business and studies in photography. Photography was always a passion and it eventually turned into a profession ( I travel the world (photographed in 116 countries) to capture the intricacy of the world we inhabit and to teach photographers to make images that have a personal flair.

Rest of the interview at:

Pecha Kucha Presentation at the CBAA conference (Tucson January 2019)

PechaKucha (Japanese: ぺちゃくちゃ, IPA: [petɕa kɯ̥tɕa], chit-chat) is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). The format, which keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, powers multiple-speaker events called PechaKucha Nights (PKNs).

During the College Book Art Association conference, I was invited to present my project Cultures in Transition: Spirit-Heart-Soul.

Cultures in Transition explores the changes that people go through, the subtleties that make their life evolve, their spiritual guiding light. In the past 15 years focusing on 5 Asian Countries, I observed the continuity between family, work, and spirituality. There was no separation. This Fluidity of life is at the core of Cultures in Transition.

Link to the video:

TriCity Voice Newspaper: Cultures in Transition Showcase World Class Photography

Published 12/11/2018. Page 37 (

Dates:                          December 15, 2018– February 15, 2019

Reception:                   Saturday, December 15, 2-5 pmfeaturing a book signing with Oliver Klink and cultural performances by the Mongolian Community Association of Bay Area

Contact Person:           Geir Jordahl, 510-881-6721,

PhotoCentral presents Cultures in Transition: Photographs by Oliver Klink.  Cultures in Transitioncelebrates the cultures of Asia including Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Mongolia, and India. The exhibition coincides with the book release of Cultures in Transitions: Spirit – Heart – Soul. Oliver Klink will be on hand to sign copies of this limited-edition book. 

The book, published by True North Editions, was printed in Italy is 168 pages printed in  tritone. There are essays by Anne Wilkes Tuckers, Peter Finke and Geir Jordahl as well as stories about the images by the photographer. 

The PhotoCentral Gallery is located at 1099 E Street, Hayward, California. Upstairs gallery is open Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm; Downstairs gallery hours are Monday 5 pm -10 pm, Tuesday & Thursday 10 am-1 pm and by appointment. 

Oliver Klink Selected as Top 50 Critical Mass 2018 for his work: The Soul of the Burkitshi

What is Critical Mass? The aim of Critical Mass is to provide participants with career-building opportunities and to promote the best emerging and mid-career artists working today. Critical Mass is about exposure, connection, and community – as well as some very notable awards! Photolucida is excited to once again offer our Critical Mass MFA Student Scholarship Awards this year.

How is the selection done? Critical Mass gets photographers’ work in front of 200 top museum curators, gallerists, publishers, editors, and media producers. That’s a lot of eyes. As an individual photographer, it’s difficult to make connections with professionals at this level – much less with 200 of them. In Critical Mass, photographers (from anywhere) submit a 10-image portfolio. The 200 finalists who proceed past the first, pre-screening round then have their work reviewed and voted on by the full panel of 200 jurors. It’s an unprecedented way to get your work in front of the right people!

Who are the jurors? Our Critical Mass jurors are an international group of industry professionals representing a wide variety of photographic interests. We make a great effort to invite a wide range of professionals in the field (gallery owners, agency art buyers, curators, publishers, editors, media producers, etc.). In addition to seeing the work during the online voting process, jurors also have access to a database of the finalists’ work for future reference.

I am honored to have been selected as Critical Mass Top 50 (2016 & 2018) and Critical Mass Top 200 (2017). All three projects that I submitted are included in my monograph – Cultures in Transition: Spirit, Heart, Soul. More information can be found at

In 2016, I submitted the first chapter: The Spirit of the Village. Entering a village is stepping back in time. Narrow streets, sometimes paved, most of the time dirt paths. Un-numbered homes are the norm, as everybody knows each other. Streets wind in un-orderly fashion over streams of running water, sometimes fresh often as open sewage. Early morning feels like a metronome wakes up. Few words are exchange among neighbors, prayers and chores get on the way, people leave to go farming. Late afternoon, the center of the village gets busy as daily stories are shared over many types of beverages. People retreat to their home when darkness approaches. Description might be symbolic but the feel is pretty accurate. My interest was to capture the inner belly of the Village, what happens inside people’ homes, how they think, how they feel. Spirit of the Village is changing, mainly affected by the modern world innovation. Rapid changes often comes at the cost of old-world customs, rituals and social relationships. This is especially true in Asia, where a search for new opportunities in urban areas has led to a mass exodus of the middle generation in rural communities. Those left behind are balancing a growing tension between the cultural diversity of the past and the homogenized present. Villages are populated by those on opposite ends of the generational divide — grandparents and children. The net result often creates a situation where those desperately looking to preserve tradition are caring for those most-willing to embrace change. From a western perspective it may look like time stands still in the Village, and it some ways it does, but below the surface there exists a struggle between old and new, tradition and modernity that ultimately must come into balance as villagers hold onto their Spirit while coping with the reality of a modern world.

In 2017, I entered the Heart of the Yi. For centuries, the Yi people have been surviving in the remote mountainous regions of China. In relative isolation, they have developed their own language, costumes and customs. Unfortunately, their detachment has also left them vulnerable to poverty, famine and the ever-encroaching reach of commercialism on their land. Exacerbated by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, a disaster that killed 69,000 people, the Yi are struggling to rebuild their world as it has always been. Traveling deep in Yi territories is a trip back in time. The “last mile” is seldom as described, often restricted, but rewarding when you reach the “heart of the Yi” culture. The parents are hard at work, cultivating the land for subsistence. The young split their time between morning school, helping with daily chores, and taking care of their infant siblings. The nightly activities are basic as many of the homes have little to no electricity. But the lure of comfort in form of new homes and modern amenities has the Yi fiercely resists as they want to protect their homeland and authenticity. These images are a glimpse into the heart of the Yi. They showcase their daily joys and struggles not by embellishing them, but by showing them exactly as they are. Yes, their customs and way of life are antiquated, but their instinct of survival and resistance to change is commanding and full of hope.

And in 2018, the entry was about the Soul of the Burkitshi, the eagle hunters of Mongolia. (see statement above).

Don’t miss the opportunity to own all three body of works, with essays from Anne Wilkes Tucker, Peter Finke, Geir Jordahl, over 15,000 words detailing the journey (15 years) and the stories of all the people photographed.

Book is available as a limited edition and collector edition. www.culturesintransition/orderform

Black and White Magazine awards Spotlight Award to Oliver Klink for his work: The Heart of the Yi

Issue 130 – December 2018 (on the stand October 1, 2018) – Article by David Best

California photographer Oliver Klink lives a life of adventure and exploration, and, of course, photography.   His camera acts as a sort of passport to some of the more exotic and remote regions of the planet, and his photographs show a world that most people will never see outside of the pages of National Geographic.  Of the 112 countries he has visited, we will focus for now on just one; China, and in particular on a remote and mostly inaccessible ethnic group of people that most have probably never heard of and fewer still visited: the Yi of Southwest China.

Galen Rowell once said that his legs got him into photography and they also got him to places where there were stunning photographs to be made.  The same is true for Klink.  As an avid skier growing up in Switzerland (he was on the national Swiss ski team), Klink’s physical aptitude and stamina got him to places in the Swiss Alps that were breathtaking, and it soon became apparent that he needed to chronicle these moments.

“When you are raised as a competitor,” Klink says, “You like to push the boundaries and find new frontiers. Photography also offers me these feelings.  When out shooting pictures you are alone with your equipment and your subject, and you push the boundaries of what is possible.  Skiing competition is also a long-term investment in terms of training and keeping focused on a goal.  I find the same is true with photography.  I’m never worried about how long it takes to successfully complete a long-term photographic project I am excited about.”

One project that has occupied Klink for the past seventeen years is his exploration of the Asian cultures.  He first visited China in 2001 and has since made numerous visits.   “Photographing the Yi, one of the 55 ethnic minority cultures, was full of surprises.”  He says.  “I was so remote in the Chinese countryside that I knew if anything should happen, nobody would ever find me.  The roads were muddy, the visibility was awful and we often had to traverse heart-stopping cliffhanger roads, and then switch to horses to complete our journey”

The regions Klink explored in the Sichuan Mountains are very remote, and the Yi people are mostly unfriendly to outside visitors, especially photographers.  Klink had three failed attempts to make contact with these people when one night he was kicked out of his hotel room to make room for visiting government dignitaries.  With no place to stay, he met a local farmer who took him under his wing.  “He enabled me to make impromptu stops along our way,” says Klink,  “To take side roads, visit his village, and gain insights and access into the Yi culture. I was transported to a world that I could hardly believe still existed, and had flashbacks to images made in the 1930’s.”

On each subsequent trip, Klink’s explorations became even more rustic and further off the beaten path. It was only by visiting the region over and over that he started to lose his ‘tourist goggles’ as he calls them.  He established trust, and began to focus on the true essence of the people; their daily joys, struggles, hopes, and fears of an uncertain future.  China is developing at such an astonishing rate that even the most remote corners of China are subject to rapid modernization.  “When you venture all the way down the road, says Klink, “Not just halfway, you can witness the histories and traditions of the people that are quickly disappearing from view, and from our planet.

“When I photograph, I like to operate like a movie director.  I like to plan ahead, and I always have an idea of what I am looking for.  But like most good movies, the best scenes often come from improvisation, when the elements come together at random before your camera lens.  Some of my favorite mottos include:  Be true to yourself.  Never rest on your laurels.  Read a lot. Be out there rain or shine.  Don’t reinvent the wheel, but reinvent yourself constantly.”

Klink’s approach to photography is very therapeutic for him.    He tries to become one with the people he meets and then hopes his viewers will also connect with his subjects through his photographs.    He tries to observe a lot and shoot little.   It is not uncommon that he comes back with just a few ‘keepers” from three weeks of strenuous wandering in a foreign country.

“A photograph is a kind of time travel,’ he says.  “It transcends geography and culture to share a moment, however brief, of true connection. I hope this collection, which I’m including in my book to be titled, “Cultures In Transition,” can transport my viewers as well.  The lives I capture are diverse.  I believe the photographs I make are attempting to tell the same story: illuminating the spirit, heart, and soul of us all.” — David Best

Images are part of a monograph, published by True North Editions, titled Cultures in Transition: Spirit, Heart, Soul.

The book is available for purchase at

Press Release: Oliver Klink featured in The Palo Alto Weekly (Africa: The Struggle of Beauty – Group exhibit with Sebastião Salgado, Andy Wegst, & more)

October 1, 2018

Article in the Palo Alto Weekly by Karla Kane

If you haven’t seen the exhibit, you have to see it! The exhibit is about “Africa: The Struggle of Beauty”. These are not just “pretty” pictures of Africa. There is a strong curated message that depicts the various facets of African wildlife.
AND … You can admire some original images from Sebastião Salgado, mine, and two other photographers!  Truly a feast 🙂
Karla Kane from the Palo Alto Weekly wrote an incredible article about the show, which attracted a packed crowd at the opening reception in early September.
As Karla wrote: “Elephants have come to hold a special place in Klink’s heart. He has photographed curious, wise old matriarchs, babies learning through play and imitation, and elderly males, whose isolation and large tusks make them extremely vulnerable to poachers. You never get tired of seeing the behavior of the elephants.”
Mark your calendar: October 5 (5:30PM – 8PM)
Talk around 6PM
Pacific Art League
668 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
I am exhibiting a subset of my series: “Life – As the World Should be”
The elephant is one of the most enigmatic creatives in all of the animal kingdom. To some, they are majestic creatures worthy of worship, to others merely beasts of burden. Regardless of human perception, they are incredible animals that are full of intelligence, empathy, and a genuine curiosity for the world.“Life” is a photo series that attempts to showcase elephants in their totality — not just a small fraction to be misunderstood. Approaching this project with a painterly touch, I’m aiming to create vivid portraits of these animals as they navigate between freedom, domesticity, and destruction.

The Making of Cultures in Transition

The last few weeks were really exciting: Selected Black and White Photographer of the Year 2018, Black and White Magazine Portfolio Spotlight Award (Publication coming out in October), Top 200 Critical Mass, Solo Exhibit in Buenos AiresSolo Exhibit at PhotoCentral gallery coming up in December …. and YES! my book is ready to go to press.
All these awards are from the images featured in Cultures in Transition: Spirit, Heart, Soul.
I started the project with True North Editions (publisher) in January 2017. Geir Jordahl and I went thru 400,000 images (photographed over a 15 years span) to select the final 108 featured in the book. The selection process and sequencing took 6 months.
At the same time, we searched for keywords that described the project. And one word kept surfacing: Authenticity!

In the next phase, we focused on the design of the book. Kate Jordahl, Geir Jordahl and I had many sessions to decide on the book size, text vs. images, color scheme & fonts, matching my original piezography prints, and more. We researched who could actually print the project, meeting with Chinese, Korean, Canadian, Swiss, and Italian printing presses. We eventually chose Longo AG in Bolzano, Italy as they had access to a special paper and had top craftmanship as shown in books they had previously printed (Like Mark Citret – “Along the Way“). They printed a dummy book to size (12 x 13 1/4”), which was shown to reviewers at Fotofest (Houston, March 2018). The quality of the book (it was just a Xerox copy) truly impressed reviewers!
When Anne Wilkes Tucker (Curator Emerita, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) saw the book, she agreed to write an essay, which tells the story of our parallel journeys in China. You truly want to read her story – captivating. Peter Finke, professor of anthropology at the Zurich University, also wrote an essay about his experience studying nomadic cultures in Mongolia. His views on their transition are truly forward thinking.
Ideas for adding authentic content kept coming. I wrote short stories about each image, which helps the viewer discover who the people are, what they go thru. Quotes from guides were also included. They reflect their views on the essence of Cultures in Transition. We all grew with the project, discovered unique places to photograph, and made friends for life.

The final touch was the appearance of the book, the cover, the Limited Edition, the Collector edition. We browsed thousands of books for ideas and came up with new and creative ones! In early July, I traveled to Italy to monitor the first test prints. AMAZING! As I wrote in my essay, it rekindled my youth working with my dad, who was a printmaker. When there, we brainstormed on the material for the book cover and the Collector edition. The never-ending quest for uniqueness and authenticity.

Today the book was sent to Italy, so they can build the plates, custom mix Pantone colors, and get ready for Geir and me to visit the Longo press and the bindery (both in Northern Italy) in early September. The journey has been nothing but thrilling, exhausting, full of creativity. And I have never produced images with such printing quality (hundreds of hours reprocessing images to match the feel of the book).

… and now, the book can be yours to own 🙂
Which Edition? The Collector Edition is only 100 copies with a deluxe book cover, three original prints displayed in a folio and a tritone clamshell. The package is unique and you get three of my prints (book size), printed with piezography ink! (Note: the starting price of my images (13×20″) is $1,500 for the limited edition of 15). The Collector Edition is available for $600 ($850 after November 1)
The Limited Edition is top notch with very high-quality paper (200 g/m2 — a typical book is 140 g/m2)), essays, stories for each image. duotone cloth cover and magnificently printed in tritone offset (actually, we are using 7 colors!). Available for $85 ($95 after November 1)
“Oliver Klink dreamt of becoming an explorer and for life to be an adventure. He wanted “to see how people lived on the other side of the earth.” Perhaps this is common to all young boys; it certainly was with me. But dreams reside in all of us. They are often how we get through difficult times. They are also the seeds of growth and discovery. Klink’s pictures are dreams manifest- they become representations of our past, present, and future. His photographs may be of exotic places and people, but that is not what they are about. Rather, they are about survival; they are about hope, they are about the Spirit, Heart, and Soul of us all.” – Geir Jordahl, True North Editions
“Both Klink and I hope that family histories and some of their traditions will travel with the younger generations as they leave the rural for the urban. Maybe Klink’s images, given to the sitters, will be used later to spark memories, just as they have for his in-laws who left China decades ago.” – Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator Emerita, Museum of Fine Arts Houston
“Klink’s book hints to the fragility of human culture and society. While it may superficially seem that life has not changed for many years or centuries, this is clearly not the case.”- Peter Finke, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Dodho Magazine: Oliver Klink selected as Black and White Photographer of the Year 2018

In this second of the 2018 awards black and white a prestigious international jury composed of renowned photographer, Reza (Paris), The Managing editor of Getty Images, Jay Davies (New York), Shanthi Jeuland, Founder and Director of Coco Communications (Singapore), Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and collections of International centre of photography (New York), The  galleries’ directors; Klompching Gallery (New York) and Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago), the professional photographer Gurdas Dua, Brand Ambassador for Sony (India) and Maria Oliva, Marketing director of Dodho Magazine, have selected through a hard-working  process, due to high quality and the large numbers of projects and portfolios received,  the award-winning photographers as the best projects in black and white 2018.

The selection process has been very complicated but we are proud of the final result, and the great reception obtained. In the coming weeks will be published the book Black & White – Best photographers of the year 2018 where they will show the works of all winners and finalists. The edition will be published in hardcover and also in digital format and will be put up for sale on our website; it will also be distributed to the best galleries and agencies around the world in search of opportunities for the photographers who have applied to this contest.

Grand prize winner: Oliver Klink for his work “Spirit of the Village” (part of Cultures In Transition).

Additional information about the work can be found at

About Dodho Magazine: 

Dodho Magazine is an independent international magazine, born with the vocation to promote the work and projects of emerging photographers and professionals from all over the world. Since its launch in April 2013, Dodho Magazine has uncovered countless photographers and put their work in the spotlight of professionals in the photographic industry. With more than one million annual visits and half a million pages viewed monthly, Dodho Magazine has managed to become the fastest growing photo magazine and become a benchmark among galleries, agencies and other publishers around the world.

Dodho Magazine is published daily in its online version and every six months in its printed version. Each version is focused on a totally different audience, while the online version seeks a public as broad as possible, the print version is aimed exclusively at a more professional audience such as galleries, agencies and other professionals in the photographic and art industry, both editions have as objective and priority standing out  any good photographer or project within the crowd. Highlighting their work and offering the right promotion tools.

Dodho Magazine allows all amateur and professional photographers from around the world to spread their projects around the world in record time and share their passion and ideas about photography through their community.


Publication in Light and Shadow Magazine (Issue 3, page 35) – Black and White Photography

May 11, 2018 – Press Release:

Story and Photography about Oliver Klink’s Black and White Imagery is being published in the Light and Shadow magazine (Issue 3).

In the article, Klink expresses his views and tips on how to tackle the challenges of B&W Photography.

” Darks Darker: This is a favorite trick of mine: making the darks darker so the lights appear brighter. By association—and nothing else— when we make darks go darker, the mind just assumes the other elements have to be brighter, even though in reality they are not”.

Other thoughts are related to visualizing, printing, and getting creative inspiration.

The magazine can be downloaded free of charge at