LOCKDOWN TALES: Session stylist Olivier Schawalder and photographer Roberto Greco on collaborating in quarantine, photographing their groceries, and how to balance living and working together
Photography: Roberto Greco
Wigs: Olivier Schawalder
Interview: Emma de Clercq
Words: Katharina Lina
Recently we’ve started documenting the various creative projects that our community has been working on while confined to their homes, but unlike many, Olivier Schawalder and Roberto Greco are creative collaborators as well as a couple living together. With access to their respective equipment, and creative minds liberated from frozen screens and lagging audio, the two find themselves producing quarantine projects at a quality that is indistinguishable from their usual, commissioned works. Here, we share the duo’s latest series, created while isolating at home.
Tell us about what you’ve been working on in quarantine. Has the current isolation given you time to do or make something that you might not have?
Roberto: I work alone most of the time so I’m kind of used to being isolated, but it was interesting to do that story with Olivier with what we had in the house.
Olivier: After a couple of days of asking myself what I was going to do during this time, I went through all the hair and wigs that have been sitting in their boxes and decided to create something new out of them. I love to recycle and rarely throw stuff away, so I finally got the time to transform all those wigs into something I like.
Have you found any alternative outlets for your creativity while confined?
Roberto: Yes, you have to be creative, I went grocery shopping and shot what I bought before dinner! I also have tons of objects in the house, this is the time to shoot them too.
Olivier: Recycling is a great alternative and it’s very creative, I have so much stuff in my work room, new, old, ancient! It was time to combine everything together!
What are you missing most about your job?
Roberto: I surprisingly miss deadlines!
Olivier: I miss the contact in the flesh with people, I am tired of speaking to them through a screen.
The answer to this may well be a big ‘no’, but have any unexpected positives come out of this incredibly difficult situation?
Roberto: Yes! I am more relaxed (although the situation is very stressful.)
Olivier: Yes! Having time for yourself, having the luxury to take it slow.
What are you hopes (and fears) for the hair industry when this is all over?
Olivier: I’m hoping for a more decent way of working, more humanity… My fear is the economy falling apart!
You are a creative duo and also a couple so are well practiced in collaborating in all aspects of life! What are your tips for living and working with your partner and retaining the harmony?
Olivier: I think it comes down to having an understanding of each other; it’s not easy all the time as we can be both very stubborn. But Roberto does not come from fashion and he sees things I don’t see and vice versa. There are no tips I can give except for being very open-minded to the other one’s vision and accepting that you are not always right. I don’t like the word “compromise”, it’s more about letting the other one take you somewhere you haven’t thought about, and when it happens you love them even more!