OLAV STUBBERUD

The man
behind the lens

Photo: Chris Yoder

Private jets, hotel suites and superstars like Justin Bieber, The Chainsmokers and Kygo have become a part of the daily routine for the photographer Olav Stubberud. How did the young snowboarder from Rykkinn, Norway end up there?

Tagging along on tours with the big guns involves some traveling, actually a lot of it. With more than 200 travel days a year Olav is almost always out on the run. Through Instagram it might look like an easy and glamorous job but when looking into a day in Olav’s life you start to realize the many of hours of work, little sleep and effort it takes.

“When on tour the days tend to all kind of look the same. I wake up to a way too early lobby call, get in a van to catch a flight and then jump in a van again. I arrive at the hotel, sleep 30 minutes and head to the venue for location check and prep. Once the show starts it’s time to create the magic. Normally I edit at the venue, continue in the car and finish at the hotel room way too late. Then it’s time to sleep for a few short hours and then do it all again.” - Olav Stubberud

Where it all started

It all started back in the early 00’s in the small town of Rykkinn - aka. RK1 - , Norway. In order to be able to hang out more with his two friends making their way to becoming snowboard pro’s Olav joined them in the slopes after school.

“I started snowboarding because of Alek Ostreng and Stale Sandbech – I don't know if I would have started that early if it wasn't for them. RK1 is where everything pretty much started in every sense”, says Olav.

He was 11 when he first picked up a camera. A year later he took his first snowboard photo and got his first photo published in a major publication. Being talented and hanging out with the RK1-crew put him in a position to have a career in photography long before he actually had to think about making money.

Fast forward to today, and we're talking to one of the best lifestyle photographers in the business.

“When you have a passion for something–and you are not afraid to get your hands dirty, or cold in this matter – things will fall into place. I always refer to the natural progression that came from the RK1 friendship, that we all were doing what we loved to do, and that we were pushing each other.”

Photo by Goodboy Shady/Gusto35

The step between snowboard and the big music stages

Olav’s talent in bringing a special feel into every image has taken him far and to many new places over the past years. Lately that has meant a move from the snowboard industry to the music scene.  After being the Norwegian top DJ Kygo’s personal photographer the list of famous names has started to stack up, now including superstars like Justin Bieber, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Martin Garrix and G-Eazy.

“The willingness to adapt has taken me far off my comfort zones and taken me places that I never thought off. I will always be grateful to have started with action sport, something that have built a solid base in a lot of things. Everything is there once you have an eye, some social skills and some experience.“ 

Photo by Rory Kramer

Photography

How has travel influenced your photography?

Traveling has influenced both my photography and my life in general. Travel is such a great way to explore the world and it also helps you grow as a person. I think it is important to be aware of what’s out there.

What is something you haven’t done that you want to do next year?

So. Many. Things. Always. Hopefully I will manage to do half of them next year, haha. Maybe you will see some “bsic.” creations out there.

What advice would you give to a photographer looking to discover their passion?

Go out there, put it to the test and fail! Don't be afraid to hit your head a couple of times. Then you will know if it is something that you want to keep on doing. Until you go out there and do so, you are only your own worst enemy.

The travel setup

Using a slick and well-organized travel set-up is
key for making life easier. 

"I use The Backpack for smaller trips. If I need more stuff, I combine it with a roller bag, the Little Bastard for week trips and The Big Bastard for longer trips. Then I always rock some sweet sweatpants and a hoodie to top it off. Oh, almost forgot! I love small bags and fanny packs, so I always bring one of those for having my essentials like passport, headphones, wallet etc.”

"I have probably broken in to a dozen places to get a better angle or shoot some cool places, that's a part of the game.” - Olav Stubberud