Feature Interview - Imagination Land: Alex Stoddard

Feature Interview - Imagination Land: Alex Stoddard

Happy New Year everyone!!!

2010 was one of the hardest and also most rewarding years i've had, i've learnt alot and gown alot and to have the amazing followers i have makes me feel very fortunate :)













Published - 26 January 2011

Feature Interview - Imagination Land: Alex Stoddard

Happy New Year everyone!!!

2010 was one of the hardest and also most rewarding years i've had, i've learnt alot and gown alot and to have the amazing followers i have makes me feel very fortunate :)


This year i'm going to be shooting none stop (once the weather warms up a bit) and keeping up my blog (as always). I want to push myself this year, i really want to get my name out there, work with amazing photographers and really push myself into becoming a photographer full time, which is the dream :)

So i am starting the new year of with a BANG!!! My first interview of this year is with the seriously amazing 17 year old Alex Stoddard (of course i like him more than just his awesome name).

 

 

He has pushed boundries with his 365 which is still only on day 227, this means all those who don't currently follow his journey have 138 amazing photos to look forward to! So without further a do i introduce the amazing Alex Stoddard...

 

 

1. Fill me in on your background, where are you from and how did you get in to photography? 

 

I’m seventeen years old. I was born in Jacksonville, Florida and moved around a couple different places before my family settled in Georgia. So I’ve seen a fifteen-minute drive to the beach as well as a horse farm right outside my bedroom window. My family is pretty large, which I haven’t fully appreciated until recently. There’s something about growing up with a bunch of brothers and sisters that I think makes a person not only more appreciative but also instills within him a sense of warmth that might perhaps be wider than that of an only child, like you always have a place of comfort to go back to, more memories. I’ve always been artistic in one way or another, it seems. I would sketch and draw all sorts of things all day long… until I was old enough to realize that I was quite awful. From there, it was writing, and now it’s photography. It is as if the mode of creative communication isn’t what’s important, but rather what I have to express. So it could be photography, it could be sculpting, or painting myself purple and jumping out a window.. just that I’m able to express what I want to express. I’ve had a go at photography for about a year now, and it’s definitely the most substantial form of art that I’ve tried yet.

 

 

2. Who has influenced you the most in terms of photography? 

 

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record with this, but, without question, Rosie Hardy. Happening upon her 365 project (I say “happening upon” as if it was this bizarre, one-in-a-million-chance kind of thing, which is ridiculous, because it’s basically impossible not to see an image of hers these days) was what really kicked me into action. I had never really paid much attention to photographs before seeing hers. They were always just something you’d take with your friends, with all of your faces smashed together, trying not to be the one whose face was half out of the frame. Her concepts and ideas and the beauty with which she created images struck me, and I wanted to try myself.

 

 

3. What is your favourate style of photography (Self portraiture? Fashion? Documentary)? 

 

For a long while, it was self-portraiture. I would be able to name off a million reasons why. However, I’ve recently just gotten so fed up with the limitations of using oneself as both the model and the photographer. I desperately want to shoot others. I want to move and duck and dash around to different angles and shoot from different places and make sure I am getting the perfect shot.

 

 

With a 365 project, though, that is almost impossible each and every day. Self-portraiture is both convenient and almost a place of comfort for me. It allows me to take my time and perfect the settings and scene without feeling like I should be rushing because there are others waiting on me. There is also the matter of eliminating the loss of concept in translation. I don’t have to explain my thoughts to a model. I already know exactly what I want to shoot, and whether it’s extremely simple or some complex idea that I myself don’t even fully comprehend, I make sure the photo captures it.

 

 

4. What is your process when taking photo's, from getting ideas to editing? 

 

I am so spontaneous. Mostly everything is done on a whim.. I’ll glimpse a certain prop or arrive at a certain location and jump into it, creating ideas as I go. It’s more of a curse than a blessing, I’ll tell you.

 

 

5. What are your tools of the trade? 

 

I use a plucky little Nikon D3000, for which I had saved up all of my money before I was even sure that I would enjoy photography. My uncle has helped me so much by supplying the rest: a 50mm f/1.8 lens and entirely new computer system with Photoshop CS5. It’s incredible the amount of support I receive from those around me, especially at the stages of photography just being a little hobby of mine.

 

 

6. Where do you hope to go with your photography? 

 

I want to make a career of it. It took me a while to realize that photography was something worth devoting my life to. Before, I would always just tell people “I’m a sellout. I’ll end up at a job that I hate, because it pays well and is safe,” but photography is worth the risk. I want to make people stop and just appreciate the moment and the natural things in life. There is such a beauty in simplicity and roots.

 

 

7. Why do you think people are drawn to self portraits and what is your impression of the people that think it's just narcissistic 

 

It’s totally accessible. Anybody can take a photo of himself, but I think it is those that can learn to shape themselves around the photograph instead of shaping the photograph around themselves that are the ones who really get it. It’s understandable for some to see it as people who just love to look at themselves. I mean, you can’t hate them for thinking it, because it sort of is first impression what with things like Facebook around these days and people constantly taking snaps of themselves in mirrors and such.

 

 

8. On your Flickr it seems like you focus on one shot at a time, do you do series and not put them up or do you prefer to focus on one fashion shot at a time? 

 

I generally will just focus on one shot. That’s really all you can do in a 365 project. I look at mine like I want to capture one specific image per day. I don’t want a million different photos of the same scene floating around. That one photo should mark that one day, and the next should be different, and that’s it.

 

 

9. Who are some other photographers you admire? 

 

There are tons. Mike Bailey-Gates, Gregory Crewdson, Kirsty Mitchell, Brooke Shaden, Karrah Kobus Karrah is such a remarkable photographer and person. I recently got Tim Walker’s book as a Christmas gift, and it’s such a thrill to flip through and get a peek into his mind. He’s a genius.

 

 

10. What is your best tip to taking a striking photo? 

 

Get naked!!! Hahah, nah. Generally, I think when you step outside your comfort zone, you can usually find yourself with some pretty stellar results. It’s all a game of improvement, and if you stick with what you already know, you’ll never get any better. Whether it be swimming in some snake-infested creek, shedding all of your clothes, or shooting in a bare, white-washed room, new experiences usually expose the rawness of surprise and fear that cameras capture brilliantly.

 

 

11. Your photos seem to incorporate your surroundings and the elements, is this a big part of your style? 

 

Absolutely. Locations can instantly change the mood and entire idea of a photograph. I particularly like to show a human connection to nature and the primal, stripped-down way in which we all rely on and interact with it.

 

 

12. What is you favourate photo taken by another photographer? (Link and describe why) 

 

That’s such a difficult question to answer! This was the first photo that I had ever ‘favorited’ on flickr, and I still love it as much.

 

www.flickr.com/photos/lenaah/3522656810/in/faves-alex-stoddard/

 

Eleanor’s work is just so whimsical and light.

 

13. What is your favourite photo you have taken? (Link and describe why) 

 

 

It was the first and only photo that really ever turned out just like I had envisioned it. 

 

14. What are some of your favourite films, books and musicians? 

 

Across the Universe, The Mist, and Scary Movie 3. Such a variety, but I’m not picky. I like to give everything a chance. I loved The Lovely Bones, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the His Dark Materials series. Regina Spektor will be my wife one day, Mumford and Sons will sing at our wedding, and we’ll fall asleep every night to Noah and the Whale.

 

 

15. What has been your biggest achievement so far with your photography? 

 

Besides garnering the support of thousands of people I don’t even know, I’d say maybe having Rosie Hardy contact me about doing a photo collaboration – Rosie Hardy – the one to whom I owe everything photographically. Also, Karrah Kobus and I are planning to teach an upcoming ‘workshop’-type event, and just knowing that there are people that want to learn from me I consider a pretty big achievement. 

 

 

16. Do you think it’s hard to be original in photography? How do you keep your ideas original and fresh? 

 

Completely. So many people are spewing out so many of the same ideas and photos, with only the person in them being the differing factor. I don’t consider myself original or fresh whatsoever. Everything I have created is a result of everything I’ve ever seen or experienced, and I can’t tell you how many photos of mine have a tagline “Inspired by…” I don’t yet think I am at the point of being original, but reaching that point will be a big time for me.

 

 

17. Which photographer do you think I should interview next and why? 

 

Mike Bailey-Gates, because he’s a master of both self-portraiture and fashion photography, and I’ve been revisiting all of his photographs so much lately. 

 

 

18. Do you often change a lot of the original photo in photoshop? 

 

Unless the photo absolutely calls for manipulation, I usually just stick to editing colors and contrast and brightness and junk.

 

 

19. Do you think you have an original style that is you own? 

 

Somewhat regretfully, yes. I know creating an original style is something that most artists deem most important, but I think of it kind of like a ball and chain. I want to be able to flit about, freely creating dramatically different photographs with every day. I want my ‘style’ to be my ability to create wondrously dissimilar photographs on every go.

 

 

20. What pushed you to start a 365? 

 

I’ve never really done anything worthwhile in my life, and even if my 365 turns out being worthless in the end, at least I’ll be able to say that I accomplished –something-. I wanted to prove to myself that I can do something without quitting on it, and so here we are.

 

 

21. What gives you the strength to follow through and keep going when everything feels so hard? 

 

The kind words I receive from everyone – both online and in real life. Knowing that complete strangers believe in me more than I believe in myself is both incredibly sad and inspiring, and I think I feed on emotion of any kind, and that’s what keeps me going.

 

 

22. Give us the skinny, what's the next big project you've got coming up? 

 

I have two different shoots with four girls coming up this week. One will be with horses, and the other will be with lots of white: fog, dresses, and lots and lots of pillow filling!

 

 

23. Which actor would play you in the film of your life? 

 

Antoine Dodson. I don’t care that he’s not an actor. We’re the same person.

 

 

24. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid? 

 

I’m still a kid! But I’d usually spout out something about being an anesthesiologist or something pretentious like that.

 

 

Alex you not only have an awesome name but are an awesome and talented person!!!

 

 

If you'd like to see more of Alex's work go to his Flickr 


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Alexandra Cameron

alexandracameronphotography.blogspot.com

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