An Interview With: Alex Stapleton
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Alex Stapleton, and I am currently doing an Photo Editing Internship at Monocle Magazine, in London. As well as my internship, I am looking into a Master's degree in Photography, that commences this September.
How did you get into what you do?
Well my project originally seemed from the idea of processing, unprocessed film and revealing that element of unknowing and exclusivity within photography. However it quickly progressed into notions and researching into the archive and specifically domestic archives. I emerged myself into ideas around publicising the private, and the whole project was fuelled around my appreciation and interest around old photographic processes.
How do you work?
I am a big researcher, so I love to spend a lot of the primary stages of the work looking into certain characteristics of my thoughts and how they relate to other practitioners. From then, I will start to photograph and think about what I need to communicated, and so on. But with this project I had to structure my work flow very differently, as the photographs had already been taken.
How would you describe your work?
Thats quite a difficult question, as I think its hard to put my work specifically into one genre. I'd like to think that my work creates a space for the spectator to create their own, private, notions around the work and that it creates opportunities for independent thinking.
What is your background?
I am originally from a small town in Devon and I have always possessed a love for Art and Photography, and a love for living in London. When I left school I was very practically driven, however from studying at university I managed to gain some foundation skills to research and theory in art practice.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Other practitioners mainly. I like to understand how people come to the ideas they come to, however I am open to knowing that my ideas could stem from anything. It is important to be open minded, and know that anything from a piece of music, or a passage in a book, or even a a story that someone tells you could kindle a strong project or way of thinking.
I don't like to express that my only medium is photography, as I am open to all creative mediums. Although, every since a young age I have naturally been drawn to a camera, and using it to be creative and communicate successfully.
What are you goals after University?
I graduated last July, and since then I have started an internship at Monocle, as I mentioned above. I would like to start a MA in Photographic Studies so I can continue researching into photography.
Is there any specific equipment you use?
The Nikon D700 is the camera I feel most comfortable with, and the results, with the right lenses, can be very positive. But for me the camera is just a machine to record ad control what I'm communicating. I may not be the best person to ask this, as I am not very 'techy', and more into older photographic equipment.
Whats the best piece of advice you could give the readers of The Pupil Sphere?
Without saying things that they may have heard countless times, firstly I'd say listen to your lectures and use them whilst you can to make contacts. I was always quite reluctant to contact people in the industry, but if you was to know something, or you are curious about something, just ask! This can also set the foundations for contacts when you leave university.
Secondly, I would say always pursue your ideas! I can often start an idea and then become negative about it because its 'not good enough'. But mostly its not a bad idea, its just not developed enough, so stick at it!
But Lastly, and maybe the most importantly, I'd say apply for as many competitions, student awards and portfolio reviews as you can, as they are good for your CV and for after you graduate.
All images copyright of Alex Stapleton