About Olson & Farlow

You don’t need to read the text below…

We do socially responsible, long form narrative, photography… And we’ve been doing it ever since this silly picture was taken in the 1980’s…

That’s it… We could talk about it in a more complicated way, but really that’s all it is…

Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson are photojournalists in the documentary tradition. Even though they are published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and other magazines, they have primarily photographed for the National Geographic Society on over 50 assignments that have taken them to 50 countries over the past 20 years. They normally work individually, but have co-produced National Geographic Magazine stories on Northern California, National Parks and the Alps. They photographed a joint book project on the Southern United States and have collaborated on over 70 books with other photographers that are published by Collins Publishers, National Geographic and others.

Olson’s 29 National Geographic Magazine projects have taken him to many countries in Africa, the Siberian Arctic, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Iceland, Newfoundland, Guyana, American Samoa, Turkey, Republic of Georgia, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Kamchatka, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Indonesia, Russia, China and the South Pacific.

National Geographic published a book of his work in their “Masters of Photography” series in January 2011. Olson was the Magazine Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition and was also awarded POYi’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year — one of only two photographers to win in both media in the largest photojournalism contest operating continuously since World War II. While working at The Pittsburgh Press, Olson received an Alicia Patterson Fellowship to support a seven-year project documenting a family with AIDS, and a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his story on problems with Section 8 housing. He was also awarded the Nikon Sabbatical grant and a grant from the National Archives to save the Pictures of the Year collection.

Farlow has worked extensively in the American West for National Geographic —driving 20,000 miles for a magazine story and book on public lands—and more recently, documenting mustang herds. Another driving trip took her through South America to chronicle life along the Pan American highway for a National Geographic book titled, “ The Long Road South.” Other National Geographic Magazine stories of hers feature varied subjects—culture and climate change in the Alps and West Virginia’s mountaintop removal mining. Themes of land and people are chronicled in Alaska’s Tongass Forest, Okefenokee Swamp, Hudson Valley, Meadowlands, National Road, Kentucky Horse Country, Invasive Species, and a photo-biography of landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. One story required four months traveling to many of the national parks for the magazine, and a separate piece on Olympic National Park.

Before freelancing, Farlow worked as a staff photographer at the Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times newspapers. She has a Pulitzer Prize for a joint project documenting desegregation of the public schools in Louisville, KY. Her newspaper work focused on long term projects, winning awards in POYi and various contests. For two years she chronicled Pittsburgh’s changes for the Heinz Endowments.

As the economics of print dwindles the two have continued to support their documentary interests by doing advertising campaigns and corporate work. Randy spent a month photographing the 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser campaign in the Yukon and Australia. They have done ad work for Becton, Dickinson and Company, HSBC Bank, Audi, Northrup Grumman, The Cleveland Clinic and others so they can continue their personal projects.

They live in Pennsylvania and Oregon.