Most of us would enjoy a personal invitation from Buddha asking us to sit with him. So does Elliott Alexander, cover photographer for our eighth issue: TRANSIENCE. Read on to find out how he feels about being temporary, taking photos and Dragon Ball Z.
Why do you take photos?
I take photos to relay a certain essence happening before me that I have brought to fruition, be its beauty, comedy, play, mystery, strange, or exotic. I am also working on some fine art works that comment on society, consumerism, and the social media age. I believe [that] art is supposed to reflect society and evoke a critical response instead of being beautiful all the time. That’s something I am working on in order to balance these contrasting ideals I have so one does not overshadow the other. Plus, I take certain pictures because I can’t get an idea out of my head until it is created!
As you know, the theme for our upcoming issue is Transience. Can you tell us what this means to you?
This is funny to me because with a camera we are able to immortalize the moment which is the exact opposite of the definition of transience. So for me as an artist transience means to take hold of this brief moment of life and give it all you’ve got and knowing that you’ve done so, so as not to look back and have any regrets.
And how does this make you feel?
Well, I am going through a breakup right now and it’s kind of relevant for me because it was to say the least transient in nature, though it lasted two years. So, it makes me feel like I am addressing this sad/ pivotal moment of my life in a way I never have before by bringing it up in this interview. I am grateful for this reason because I can share this sadness with a larger audience than just my friends and I think it’s helping me recover, at least I hope so.
At some point in your life, have you ever been hit by the fact that we are all temporary? How do you deal with this feeling?
Oh wow, ok, this is another relevant question on regards to our breakup because we were discussing the issue that nothing lasts forever and I simply refused that it is not true to me because I wouldn’t allow such a grim idea to have merit, so I said to her [that] everything isn’t temporary because in the amazing workings of our mind, we can easily bring forward moments that have come to pass by thinking about them and in that sense the word temporary becomes irrelevant. What is temporary is the physicality of a moment, but the essence of the moment remains adrift in the ether. And in conclusion she decided to get a tattoo of the word temporary which I thought was a great idea, I hope she still does.
What do you want readers to take from your work in issue 8? Does the shoot have a name?
The shoot does have a name it is Shinjuku Lights. My friend Monica took a trip to Japan and was inspired by the night lights in Shinjuku and when she got back we started this collaboration for her site theacidness.com. When the readers see this work I want them to feel a calming relaxation due to the saturated but tranquil colors, the form and patterns of the clothing, and the graceful poses from our model Nida. To me in that moment then; that was an essence of beauty forever immortalized.
When you are out shooting, how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
I’d say I start start shooting with a general idea and then let the rest fall into place. So it is 20 percent planned and then 80 percent instinctual. I’ve learned to let go of control when shooting which then opens the door to a kind of freestyle between the subjects and myself. I’ve learned that if there’s too much control I’ll never get the results I want and in contrast if there’s less control then you actually find what you want! I just have to let things flow and change it up bit by bit if something isn’t working until it does.
What is one question which nobody has asked you that you wish they had?
The one question which nobody has asked me that I wish they had is- I don’t know really. That is the question! No, it’s hey will you shoot our ad campaign? Or will you perform for us here? Will you like to have a gallery showing at our spot? Will you take me back? Haha ugh or uhm sorry I know this isn’t just one but its just so damn hard to think of a good one so I’ll just blurt out my stream of consciousness thought… don’t you love dragon ball Z?! Will you shoot our magazine cover ?(Awesome frekkn mag) or would you like to fly the cosmos? Would you sit with me? (buddha asking me) . Ok that’s it.