Olivier Martel was born in Provence, he graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. He served as a trainee in many architectural firms before starting a career as a photographer and prior to his military service in Brazaville, Congo. His photographic experience spans 35 years, and cover over 74 countries throughout the world.

- 1973-1976 : Photographer with GAMMA agency.
- 1978-1991 : Photographer with RAPHO agency.
- 1992-1997 : Cofounder of ICONE agency.
- 1998-2007 : Freelance. Distributed by CORBIS agency international.
- 2008-2015 : Distributed by CORBIS and AKG Images (London - Berlin - Paris)