I’d like to introduce you to Alejandro. He and I shared the same graphic design instructor and after connecting via facebook, I’ve been a follower of his work ever since. I enjoy finding inspiration from other artists and thought it’d be a great idea to issue a “featured guest” on my blog to support our local artists.
Alejandro was kind enough to share a few of his favorite photos and answer some questions for us!
Q: Hello Alejandro and thank you for being our featured guest today!
Thank you for the opportunity and having me as a featured guest. I’m stoked to work with a fellow great artist like yourself.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your artistic background.
I am a graphic artist from the San Francisco Bay Area. My objective is plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communication problems. Collaborate with clients to create vision, formulate designs, and find the most effective way to get messages across print and electronic media using color, type, illustration, photography, video editing, and various print and layout techniques. Design to me is a captivating area, always adapting and shifting with cultural trends, new technologies and fresh ideas. I have a pragmatic audacious approach to design and I consider that nothing is ever impossible.
On the subject of photography, it’s as a very creative process and an individual expression of how you see the subject whether it’s a landscape, flower, food or animal. So that makes it exciting, trying different techniques to produce different results. And when I create something that is completely my own and has turned out well, then that is the pay off for all the hard work – seeing the result. I love putting my photographs on my computer and having a proper look at them and being proud of what I have created and produced.
Q: How would you describe your style of photography?
Interesting question. I think everyone has a style to their work that evolves over time. It is a combination of their personality, likes/dislikes, background, and abilities. While I am sure some people try to mimic a style that they see in someone else’s work, I don’t think you will ever reach your true potential trying for something that does not come from within.
This is the reason why some people will like a specific photo, and others will not. My guess is that I probably have one, I just don’t realize it or know how to define it.
Q: I like your composition and urban flair. So far, what has been your favorite location to shoot?
Thank you. Clarion Alley is one of my favorite locations. It is one of San Francisco’s hidden gems in the Mission District. It is covered in public art by local artists.
Three words to describe it: Urban art gallery.
This is real, this is the city encapsulated. Your eyes roll across images of hope, protest, mirth and wit while your feet flirt with extreme filth and urban squalor. This is a space where artists come to realize visions. San Francisco is a schizophrenic town, repulsive and frighteningly dysfunctional and if you keep your eyes open you’ll see an inspiring, ongoing rebellion against fear, despair and powerlessness. There is no place easier to see it than Clarion.
I like coming here to photo-document because no matter what there is always something new, something in process and something I recognize from before.
Q: Where does your inspiration come from? Is there a particular artist you like to channel?
As someone who been shooting something every day lately, coming up with inspiration can be difficult at times. Much like writer’s block affects authors, there are days that I feel completely uninspired about what to shoot.
One way I combat this is to constantly be on the lookout for fresh ideas. Anyone who has spent time around me has probably noticed that I’m always attached to my iPhone and I use the ‘Notes’ application constantly. During my day, when I think of an idea for a shot I jot down a note in the journal. These ideas can come from an idea while driving, a television commercial, a magazine, a scene in a movie, people walking down the street, etc.
Q: What advice could you give to a beginning photographer?
Shoot a lot of photos, learn from your mistakes, and get used to your gear. Look at your photos and then look at the ones you see printed by your favorite photographers and figure out what you should be doing better/different.
Q: Sum up your personality in 3 words:
Determined, ambitious, and realistic.
Q: New York or San Francisco? Which one and why?
I choose New York AND San Francisco, I love both cities. A photographer’s playground.
New York City. “The best city in the world.” I’ll admit it — I’ve rolled my eyes in reaction to New Yorkers implying, or sometimes just directly stating, their city’s superiority over mine. But I think I was missing the point: Bravado is part of the package with this first class city.
The city is unique and is one of the most exciting places on earth. New York is a street art hotbed, a nexus of revolving images in this vast outdoor gallery encompassing walls, fences, sidewalks and just about any other available surface. But it is New Yorkers who make the city what it is. And that includes everybody, the original Italian and Jewish immigrants, aspiring actors, angry taxi drivers, people who love New York and even people who hate New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
San Francisco on the other hand is something else in its own right. San Francisco brings a new point of view on almost everything: cuisine, culture, politics, art, weather, zeitgeist, spirit, sport, attitude, sexuality, vision, and nature. Live here and you can breathe in perspective daily, if you make the effort to explore.
Morning to night, the city is abuzz with activity and culture. Just like in any city, there’s no shortage of melancholy, unrealized dreams, lost fortunes, and lives ending too soon. But in San Francisco there’s also a persistent optimism that stands out even in the midst of hard times. New things are always being created here.
Q: Do you photograph something every day?
Yes. Why? Because people will often say that their whole lives flashed before their eyes after they experienced a traumatic event. Perhaps it’s a bit morbid, but if you think about it that sounds pretty incredible. Taking a photo a day is a big undertaking with big payoffs.
Imagine being able to look back at any day of your year and recall what you did, who you met, what you learned, your travels and accomplishments, your haircuts and relationships. Time moves surprisingly fast.
Taking a photo a day will make you a better photographer too. Using your camera every day will help you learn its limits. You will get better at composing your shots, you’ll start to care about lighting, and you’ll become more creative with your photography when you’re forced to come up with something new every single day.
Q: What are some of your hidden talents that nobody knows about?
Other than being somewhat artsy; my hidden talents are so hidden, I still can not find them myself.
(VIBS: Oh, you’re just being modest. I can tell there’s loads of talent in there!)
Q: And lastly, what celebrity would you pick to play you in a movie?
Cheech Marin circa 70’s-80’s.
Thank you Alejandro!
Aren’t his photographs awesome?! Not to mention, he’s reppin’ my NY hometown in these pics which makes me very happy. Thank you Alejandro for sharing with us your passion for the digital arts. You’ve truly got talent! To see more of Alejandro’s work, check out his website and swing by his facebook page to say hello!
I’ll be featuring more local artists and inspiring leaders in the blog world, so keep a look out for more “featured guests” on VIBS. (That’s short for ‘Vintage Inspired by Sofia’ btw. ; )
Now go out and photograph something!