No Philter by A. Edmonds

"The photographer is a woman?" "Does she do fashion photography?" If there is anything city of angels native Olive detests more than being called a fashion photographer, I don't know what it is.

It has become an unwarranted assumption that if you possess a vagina and work in the creative realm, you live and die for the September issue. 19-year-old Olive is proving that women are interested in more than just what they wear.

This past February on a bleak Saturday, off a winding Chinatown road in Lower East Side Manhattan, Olive unveiled her first exhibit. A room of supporters ages 16 to 60 absorbed her stripped down aesthetic, but few knew what it took to get her to this point.

Olive moved from LA to Chicago to study at Depaul University in 2015. While attending full time and hustling at Uniqlo for cash to support her craft, Olive decided higher education was a distraction from her true calling.

"I understand some people need to go to college," Olive clarifies referencing her best friend’s intended graphic design career. "I told my parents I was taking a break from school so they would deal with it better. I still say that."

It has been just over a year since this free-spirited artist uprooted her life with $1,000 and a vision. Her method of fronting everything on her own dime including the event space for her first exhibit could teach people ten years her senior a thing or two. Saving enough money to make the move, finding a sublet, locking down a job, and then securing a second one is one of the hardest things she has ever done. But she did it.

Gifted with her first film camera by her dad at the age of 13, she began to become more interested in still images. In many ways, Olive has become a student in the school of life. In her spare time, she studies methodology and practice of photography always eager for self-improvement.

Some world renowned greats have even started to take notice like legend Rolling Stones photographer, Michael Halsband. Halsbands has worked with the likes of Mick Jagger. Though the newfound Harlem resident is not fond of celebrity photography, she wouldn't mind shooting her Filipino counterpart, Manny Pacquiao.

“He [Pacquiao] is the only star I would shoot,” Olive shrugs.

Real people living their lives unapologetically is Olive's take. Her growing collection of subjects she has shot features one common thread, showcasing them in their element. Her work is Whole Foods level meaning it feels organic, raw, and full of substance. There is no showbiz filter preventing you from seeing who they really are. An experience is what Olive is gifting the photography world, from blemishes to unkept background you get the whole story of who that person was in the moment the image was captured.

Olive is already adding a few more occupations to her resume. The next level Filipina has already directed her first short film narrated in French, which was filmed in Puerto Rico. On top of all that, Olive wants for women everywhere to define their craft themselves without the influences of what a woman should be interested in.

"I do see myself as a feminist. I am not a hardcore one. Being a female and a minority that only increases the power I’m about to take on. I advise women to keep working on what they love doing and trust that it will make a difference because it’ll ultimately shine through female generations yet to come."

“I am a documentary portrait film photographer currently living in New York City.”

By: A. Edmonds  (CopyWrite Connect)

See more of Olive's work at

Plus follow her on Instagram and Twitter @wyaolive