Rebecca Alejandra was featured in September of this year. Her photography is dreamlike and fantastic. Her interview is down to earth and interesting. Check it out.
What part of Mexico are you from? How does it differ from the desert southwest? What prompted you to make the move?
I’m from Monterrey, Mexico. Northern Mexico is very similar to the US southwest because it’s a hot, dry desert. Although New Mexico is a lot colder! I moved to the US because of the current situation in Mexico. Couldn’t stand gunfire every night by my window anymore.
How long have you been a photographer? When did you realize that was what you wanted to do?
Officially, I have been a photographer for about 5 years. But I started using motion cameras (16mm) 15 years ago.
I realized I wanted to do only still photography the moment I started obsessing about it. I never really obsessed about motion pictures really, which is what I studied in college. I always wondered about people who were really passionate about their careers, I thought I would never find that passion but it sort of found me, and all slowly fell into place!
For your series ‘The Search for Extrasolar Planets’ your subjects are stark white, against desert and sand. Do you think that the human race will irreparably damage the planet? Do you believe that is possible? At one point in the earth’s history the oxygen level was so high humans would have died of oxygen poisoning, some have argued that climate change is just another step in such a progression, what would you say to this?
I believe we already did! But then, even chaos and destruction are part of evolution. The Universe is intelligent, so I guess there is a higher purpose to all this madness. But I strongly believe that our planet is toast… Just look at The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or what inspired my series ‘The Search for Extrasolar Planets’, the Fukushima disaster. It’s not even mentioned in mainstream news anymore, we all act as if it’s gone, we swept it under the rug.
The rhetoric of collapse has been increasingly prevalent in today’s culture, Metric, the Arcade Fire are two bands that come to mind easily when thinking of the subject. Why do you think there has been such an increase in the prevalence of this idea? Do you think it echoes in your work?
I can speak for myself, I grew up at the height of the Space Age when sci-fi and doomsday movies were big, and read Huxley, Bradbury, Orwell, and such when growing up. That should be enough to make you feel that we’re all doomed! 😉 Of course all these experiences have molded the way I see things, therefore it has echoed in my work, most definitely.
Tell us about the emotion you were feeling when you saw the wildfire devastated area in As the Spirit of the Forest Dies Away. Where have you been that inspired the opposite emotion? Where is the most beautiful place that you have ever been?
First I felt like crying, it was truly horrific to see how a forest that I had visited a couple of days before was completely consumed by fire. I had never seen anything like it. But there’s something hauntingly beautiful about it, too.
Most of the places that have inspired the opposite in me are possibly in Mexico, it’s such a beautiful country and its nature is majestic.
The most beautiful place I’ve ever been? Hands down French Polynesia!
Are you spiritual? If yes, how are you spiritual, how do you meditate? How do you seek peace?
Very. I don’t go to a group or yoga class to meditate, though. I find inner peace and awe in nature. The best moments in my life I’ve spent in silence in nature.
Do you listen to music while you work? What do you do to get into the mood for a certain piece? What do you do to increase the emotion you feel for a series or to help maintain your inspiration?
No, I can’t concentrate! So… hours and hours of editing in complete silence (Besides a few coyotes howling in the distance)!
I usually drink about 3 espressos(!), and also recently I discovered a supplement called Sharp Thought, they have it in health food stores, and it makes you concentrate and see… things! Very useful when seeking inspiration! If you take one before going to sleep be prepared for the craziest dreams.
How have you been affected by the drug wars in Mexico? Overpass is a particularly emotionally charged and striking piece, the way the subjects feet look, they hang limply, it’s totally real. How were you feeling when you took the photograph? What do you hope people to feel, how do you hope them to react when they see the piece?
I have been directly affected, since I moved to live in another country because of the violence. My whole life was affected by it. Many people I know are dead or missing.
I actually made that piece when memories of the things I saw were still fresh. Now I try to make other things, things that I would normally do even in Mexico before the ‘war’. First I was trying to make pictures that made a political statement so that other people would see and react to it in a political way. But my true self, thankfully, finally came out and it wants to make just art, and beautiful things… I see enough sad stuff in the news already.
What are you currently working on? What is the newest idea for a series you have?
I’m working on a series of pictures that I shot with 4 models, inspired by dolls, circus, pantomime and Marie-Antoinette. A make up artist, Hannah Morrow, and I worked on the concept to create a very high-fashion look. I have spent hours editing to the pixel, this has been more of a retouching project than anything else. Little to do with the stuff that I normally create, but still with my unique style.
For the new series, I will do more sci-fi inspired images in collaboration with my brother, Kenneth, who is a very talented CGI artist. Working with my brother and incorporating CGI elements into my work will be exciting!
What are you addicted to right now? Why?
The photography of Eugenio Recuenco. I can’t get enough of it. With credit to Paz Otero, the retoucher behind him. Everything Recuenco does is pure genius, I’m madly in love with his art. Why? Go see for yourselves!