Inspired. It didn't take but a few minutes of listening to Alexandra's passion for photography to be inspired by her perspective of documenting memories for people. Her passion for pictures. Her passion for documenting the raw, natural moment. Her passion for people.
Alex attended our first photography workshop we hosted in February, and she is joyfully launching her business now! She's spent time determining her purpose for photography and what makes her soul like up within photography. I'm proud of and excited for her to be able to recognize and explain what makes her heart tick: a photojournalist approach to photography. Somehow I hadn't taken the time to dive into or learn more about the various types of photography, like this one. Or not taken the time to fully take in the difference between that and portrait photography.
For some geeky reason, I find myself comparing photography to speech pathology. So here I go again! Truly though, it's pretty cool!
In speech pathology, you can approach a child in 3 different ways in therapy. Wait for it- I'll give you the parallel! One is child-centered, where the child basically runs therapy and you target their goals alongside them. Second is clinician-directed where obviously, like is sounds, the SLP plans the activities and what they will target and receive. Thirdly, there is a hybrid of the two; the SLP has the material but lets the child direct therapy with those materials. I realize photography sessions can be the same. I would compare Alex's documentary approach to the first approach: the client leads the session. You document their lives, untouched. The way I approach my photography sessions is more of a hybrid: I give my clients poses but encourage them to relax into them, giving them actions and things to tell each other to decrease the "poshness". And lastly, I know incredible photographers who lead their sessions "clinician-directed" in that they explain and guide their clients in positioning. All are incredibly successful, and each are perfected by different photographers.
Alex perfects the photojournalist approach by letting her clients lead. I was inspired by her in knowing that there are so many different ways that photography can be used, valued and make other photographers "tick". I wanted to share some of her perspective with you all, because it enlightened me! Below is my interview with Alex and some of her work.
Would you consider yourself to be a portrait or photojournalistic photographer? Can you explain what a photojournalistic approach to photography looks like through your eyes?
I consider myself be a storyteller, a Lifestyle/Documentary Photographer. I have been documenting my life and others’ with a camera for years now. I didn’t know that’s what I was really doing at the time. I just loved taking pictures, of everything! I have memory boxes full of those pictures and every so often I will pull a few out, sometimes with friends or family, and “remember when”.
I moved to India a few years back for a job opportunity and while I was there I saw a story on everyone’s face. I didn’t know what their story was but I knew they had one. My faith compels me to believe this even farther to the degree that we are all a part of one great story being told of hope, love and redemption. As I lived life in the colorful, beautiful, sometimes crazy day to day of India I began asking people to please share their stories with me. Those are some of most significant conversation I have had to date. My time living abroad is where I truly began to identify and shape my passion and purpose for photography, documenting life, and those who live it.
Photojournalism- Isn’t about telling your story it’s about telling someone else’s and the true events of that time. That’s what Photojournalism is to me.
What does your dream session look like, and what kind of photos do you hope to capture?
All I really want is for people to invite me into their lives. To let me be a fly on the wall of their life, with my camera ;) I want to spend time with people and families doing their thing! Being who they are and capturing what makes them…them. Morning PJ time. Saturdays at the park. The every day.
There is a photograph of me when I was like 2 or 3 sitting on the kitchen counter with all the drawers open that I had use as a staircase to climb up, and what is 2 ½ year old Alexandra doing up there?? She had one arm in a Sam’s-club-size jar of mayonnaise and a mess all over her face! That is a treasured piece of my childhood and every time we come across it in the photo album my mom talk about how I was always doing things like that, how I was so curious and loved exploring. The images I hope to capture would be ones that years from now families and friends will gather around and “remember when” together. I hope to give my clients conversations rather than just images.
What has been your favorite session to date?
My favorite session… has been the ones no one knows about. I’m a people watcher. People truly fascinate me. There are thing we are all alike in and then there are other things all to one’s own. I pretty much have my camera on me at all times these days.
Who inspires you?
My mother. Hands down. I could tell you who my favorite painter is or composer or photographer but all of them combined don’t hold a candle to my mamma. She was born in the 40s -and will kill me when she finds out I told you that - and has lived through some of the greats time periods. Man does she have stories to tell! She is an artisan herself. She raised 5 children. She is Greek. Her love is epic. Like most moms, she always told me I could become anyone I wanted but, I believed her. I learned the hard way that I could never disappoint her when after I finished college with a degree not related to the arts and she told me how she was so proud of me but surprised that I didn’t study painting or sculpting or something of that nature. I told her how it was because I thought she would not approve, that I needed to study a “real” degree. She basically laughed in my face and told me “I hope you had fun these last 5 years”. One of the most inspiring things she has ever shared with me is how she wants to become homeless for a season of her life to better understand those who are and to know what it mean to truly be in need. I want to be her when I grow up!
Again, loved learning more about this story-telling photography that Alex does so well!