Photography Training, Tutorials, Interview and Reviews
I found Alex on a recent surf of 500px (what are your thoughts on their new design?). At 27 he is creating some amazing photos and he also has a love of film looking at some of his gear which he has mentioned. It seems that more and more photographers are reverting back to film or at least incorporating film into their current workflow.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My names Alex, I’m 27 and ive been shooting for about 3 years. I have always loved photography but never had the confidence to pick up the camera. One day i decided to buy a Nikon D700 and never looked back. At the moment i’m trying not to use much digital and mainly work with film, it suits my work better i think, but every photographer is different. I don’t feel like i am anything special, i just know what i like and i try my best to capture that.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
My main inspiration for getting into photography was the work of Ryan Mcginley, everytime i see his work it blows my mind. Its the sense of freedom in every shot that he takes. When i look at his work i feel im looking at a period in his life. This is why i try to make my work look more like a real moment, even though a lot of the time it’s staged.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
At the moment I use a Nikon D700, Nikon FM, Yachica T4 and a Bronica ETRSi. The lens’ that i use are 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 24-70 2.8 and a 75mm 2.8 (for the Bronica)
I couldn’t live without the 50mm 1.4 though, its the best lens i have ever used. Amazingly compact aswell so i dont leave the house without my Nikon FM and 50mm.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
I advertise myself mainly using Facebook and Twitter at the moment, but because Ireland is such a small country word can spread really fast. So i make sure my work is of the highest standard before i let any magazine publish my work. I wouldn’t want anyone to look at a photo of mine and think it looked S**T.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
Thats a really difficult question actually, when i look back through my work there are not that many that i think are outstanding. I can always find flaws in my work and i think thats what keeps me working hard at it, trying to perfect my skills. But if i had to choose one it would probably be this portrait of a brazilian model called Ali. We just used natural light, it was taken on my couch at about 9am. I think it just explains my style the best, it feels natural and gives the viewer a sense of reality.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
This photo was taken on one of my very first fashion shoots, it is a double exposure of the model taken at two different perspectives. There is no Photoshop involved in this. That is probably why i am so proud of it. It was taken on the D700, with that camera there is a “Multiple Exposure” setting that allows you to shoot more than one image and then the camera overlays the images itself. The first image i took was the closeup portrait, then i took about 5 steps back and then told her to twist her body away and bring her face back to me. I tried to remember where the eye was positioned from the first shot and *snap* i took the second exposure. The eye was positioned perfectly inside the hood and i was delighted with it. Mainly because it was 100% camera work, not Photoshop.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
I use Photoshop only, i dont use it very often because i feel you can make the camera do most of the work. Thats why i consider myself a photographer and not a digital artist. But these days photoshop is expected in all images.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
My favorite accessory has nothing to do with photography at all, its just a dirty piece of glass that i use to distort light through the lens. Keep it a secret though
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
At the moment im using 500px and Facebook, also i have my own website but its much harder to update that with images every week.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
I do get it every 6 months or so, i just find i put myself under too much pressure. Like i said earlier i want my images to look perfect and sometimes i struggle internally with what to shoot next and how to shoot it to make the viewer believe it actually happened. To get inspired again, i would normally watch a Terrence Malick movie. I find his work so visually stunning it inspires me to go out and shoot.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
I wish i had started 10 years earlier.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro
Dont give up and dont rely too much on Photoshop, your work should represent you as a person and photographer. Know your camera inside and out, its an extension of your eye.