Olivia Locher, a Pennsylvania-born photographer now based in New York City, is known for her sarcastic approach to studio photography, with a strong focus on color and concept. A practitioner of the technique of transcendental meditation, Locher’s photographs are based on consciousness and the lands of dreams. We recently met her to learn more about her work and how her daily routine keeps her inspired and focused.
In one sentence, what describes your approach to life?
Treat all living things the way you would like to be treated; it’s so easy to be kind and kind.
What is a typical day of the week?
Since I work mostly in freelance photography, my days can seem very unpredictable; I swing a lot of dishes. I am very interested in keeping my daily routines stable, no matter what my day-to-day work life is like. TM is obviously one of my favorite parts of every day, and I always plan on preparing home-cooked meals, spending an hour or two exercising, and I like to end up enjoying a movie every day before I prepare. me to go to sleep.
What are your passions? What inspires you?
People inspire me! I am very interested in knowing the lives of others. My camera, in a way, is a vehicle for really knowing who is sitting in front of it. I am infinitely grateful to everyone for allowing me to take their picture and share some of themselves with me.
Lately, I have been very inspired by nature. I’ve always split my time between New York and Pennsylvania, but lately, due to the pandemic and the green light to work more remotely, I’ve been to Pennsylvania a lot more. I never paid much attention to the stations until this last year. I have delved deeply into gardening. Seeing how things grow, seeing how the sky changes, watching different trees bloom, and learning their names has been very satisfying. Every time I left Manhattan, I was always counting down the minutes until my return, for fear of missing something, but I was unaware of the nature that worked around me!
Do you see yourself as someone who took a leap of faith to live a more creative life, or do you think it has happened?
I made a leap of faith. I grew up educating at home and very shy. When I was 17, I realized I was supposed to apply to universities, and I did an internet search of the “best art schools” and applied to all of them. The New York School of Visual Arts (SVA) gave me a generous scholarship and it was my golden ticket to artistic life. I was extremely nervous about leaving my family, home, and the life I knew, but it turned out well for me.
What attracted you to photography? How was the trip?
When I was growing up, I was always daydreaming. My parents were always worried that I wasn’t living in reality. When I was a teenager, I went to the bookstore and took out all the subscription cards from the fashion magazines, and with my babysitting salary, I slowly started subscribing to each one. I felt like new worlds were coming to my door in Pennsylvania and I kept dreaming. I started convincing my friends to come to my house and play dress up, imitating the models we see in the brilliant fashion magazines. I photographed them. That’s when I realized I was absolutely in love with taking pictures, and it was very natural. I’ve been obsessively photographed ever since.
What are your three favorite “tools” for a healthy and happy life?
Meditation, nutrition and fitness. For me, meditation is my guiding light. I feel whole when I am meditating twice a day constantly. The more consistent I am, the easier it will be to stay consistent. When I am consistent with my practice, finding the time to meditate is done really effortlessly. My work often requires waking hours very early, and it has become a no-brainer to fit my morning meditation. I’ve found that if I don’t dedicate that time to myself, I’m foggy and my judgment feels cloudy. If I miss a meditation, there must have been a major emergency that prevented me.
Nutrition is another tool for my healthy life; I’ve been a vegetarian all my life and I love to cook. I’ve had a number of health issues over the last decade, including an autoimmune digestive disorder that happens to my family and chronic Lyme disease. I have focused my attention on Ayurvedic cooking and have been managing my symptoms so well with the help of Maharishi AyurVeda. I would encourage anyone who wants an extra boost of well-being to delve deeper into Maharishi International University’s online enrichment courses.
Finally, fitness is especially important for me on a daily basis. I feel more alive whenever I work with movement during my day! Recently, I’ve been practicing ballet for about two hours a day. I danced when I was little but I totally abandoned it. Rediscovering my lost love of movement as an adult is unexpectedly rewarding.
How long have you been practicing the technique of Transcendental Meditation and what inspired you to learn?
I learned TM in the summer of 2012. I was entering my dissertation year in college at SVA, and it was the tool I needed. My life changed drastically shortly after I learned TM. I was always very anxious from what I remember, and my stress was hard to manage. I remember feeling extremely anxious; even go to my meditation instructional meetings. My TM teacher, Sara Anderson, was very supportive. As I became more consistent with my meditation, I felt my anxiety fade and a self-confidence I had never known began to grow. Things I used to find very difficult to complete became easier and easier.
I listened to David Lynch talk so well about TM for years before I started my own journey. What really hooked me was the way he said that an artist doesn’t need to suffer or suffer to create, that these things were toxic to art. He said, “I don’t think Van Gough, for example, was suffering while painting. Because he liked to paint.” That was true for me, too; Help these feelings to be present during my life outside of creation.I kept thinking: I need TM! I started a savings account for my TM instruction and after a few years I was ready to learn. be the best investment I have ever made for myself!
Is there any experience related to your MT practice that stands out in your mind?
My older brother Brandon recently learned the MT technique. We have always been best friends and we work a lot together (she is also an artist), we are roommates, and now we have the opportunity to meditate together. Having a family member who also meditates is so special; We enjoy sharing our experiences, attending advanced conferences together at our local MT center, and watching each other grow.
Do you think that TM has helped you with your art and creativity? If so, how?
All my individual images are based on a single idea, and once I have it, I let it all dictate. Whenever the same idea comes to my mind more than three times, I know I should act. To find the best ideas, I need to delve into myself. Luckily, when I meditate, this is exactly what I do. I’ve found that since I started practicing MT, my ideas are clearer and more focused. When I have an idea that I like, the desire and passion to create is immediate. I like to stretch often and daydream after my morning MT; I find that some of my best creative ideas come right after MT, when I stretched out a few minutes later.
If you could give advice to a person when you are thinking of pursuing a life or career like yours, what would you say?
If someone constantly wakes up and is inspired by their ideas and achieves extreme satisfaction by creating, this is what they should do! I feel like you can’t choose to have a life as an artist; finds you. Creating is a deep desire that comes from within. My best advice would be to get into it without having any goals other than a career. Throughout my life I have done, and still do, a lot of different things to make a living. My art has never fully paid my bills. When you put monetary value or external pressure on your creativity, I find that it can hinder the original energy of why you are creating in the first place. Making money from your creative endeavors can be a great icing on the cake, but you do get the job done because you love it. Passion and your consistency are the most crucial elements.
You can see Olivia’s work or buy a copy of her first book, I Fought The Law, at www.olivialocher.com, or follow her on Instagram.
For more information on MT technique, you can find your local MT teacher here ►
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