Oliver Rath was a German photographer, painter, and DJ. He had been working on a photoblog since 2009 and showed pictures of his life as well as portrait, fashion and nude photography.
Rath started out as a DJ at 20 under the name Al Kaporn. He also created music videos but was dissatisfied with his music and searched for a new career. As a winner of the Red Bull Music Academy 2001 in New York he discovered his interest in photography. As a photographer, he was self-taught. Rath’s images ranged from snapshots to conceptual works. Dynamism, provocation, visual humor and spectacular stagings characterized his pictures. His often provocative images show celebrities, the Berlin scene and models in excessive, lost and at the same time cheerful and euphoric-looking motifs. He described his art by saying “do not be afraid of nothing, no ideas are nothing”.
Not infrequently, his models are nude. “Everything that is forbidden and wicked excites me. The pure personality shows up without masks and veils”.
According to ARD, the “scene artist” and “New Pop Artist” Oliver Rath was one who “photographed everything and everyone”. In addition to unknown Berliners the artist had many celebrities in front of the lens, for example, football coach Jogi Löw, the moderators Palina Rojinski and Joko Winterscheidt or Scooter frontman HP Baxxter, erotic model Micaela Schaefer, stars like Boris Becker, Wilson Gonzalez Ochsenknecht and Jürgen Vogel, but also fashion czar Karl Lagerfeld.
From 2010 he lived and worked mainly in Berlin, where he opened a gallery for photography and modern art in 2012. His gallery at Rosenthaler Strasse 66 is run by his wife and gallery owner Tina Tröbs. The gallery is connected to the Hotel Amano, where photographs by Oliver Rath are also exhibited.
Rath died at the age of 38 on the night of 19 August 2016. He leaves behind his wife and two children.
If there is a silver lining to his early passing, Oliver Rath left a staggering amount of work behind. He was so prolific that you could easily spend years enjoying the thousands of photographs on his official website. It’s worth the time.
All images © the estate of Oliver Rath.