An Interview With: Alex Gale
Who are you and where did you study?
Hello, I'm Alex and I am a recent photography graduate from Falmouth University.
What is your artist statement for this body of work?
'Nothing here's set in stone' seeks to question our understanding of photography as a visual medium of representation. I believe as viewers we are conditioned into how to perceive and understand imagery. Using digital manipulation as a creative tool, this series aims to exploit our reliance on the photographic medium as a representation of reality. In turn it presents the viewer with a level of uncertainty when observing the work. Once we view the work and struggle to understand, this prompts a self reflective process in which the viewer can then see what they expect and want to see when looking at imagery. This reflection on the conditioned process needs to be questioned and I aim to provide the audience with a refreshing and curious viewing experience.
Where did the idea for this project develop from?
Well during my studies at Falmouth, I began wanting more from photography than just taking images. I started to really feel as if I had to be more experimental with my process - push myself further than just going to a location and shooting. With this in mind, I began developing my practice by shooting installations I created in the locations I would usually be drawn to. I then expanded on this idea by digitally manipulating the locations I would usually shoot.
Was there any photographer that inspired this style?
There are many photographers that really influenced me to push the shooting/post-production process, but I would say the main photographers that I really love are Andreas Gursky, Bas Princen, Josef Schulz and the land artists Christo and Jean Claude. All of these practitioners really push the boundaries set for the their visual mediums and I think questioning these artistic boundaries is crucial for any practitioner.
How do you think the project would be affected if shot in black and white?
For me I really do love colour and it’s something that comes into play when choosing locations to shoot and the post production each image goes through. I see black and white as quite limiting at least for my own practice, as I really wanted to question the way we understand imagery and I think colour is one of many ways we can analyse and relate to an image. If I were to have shot in black and white I think I would have removed the really important creative control I have when using colour in my images.
How do you shoot a project like this?
So I shot this project on medium format film (Kodak Portra 400) and what I consider to the one of the best, if not the best camera, the Mamiya 7.
The images are very considered what was the technical side to this project?
When shooting with digital manipulation in mind I really enjoyed this becoming a two part process. Before I would just go to a location, shoot and then make minor colour/lighting changes after. But shooting for this project was only half the creative fun, when I got to a location I would either see specific parts of where ever I was that I wanted to manipulate or I would just feel as if the location had potential to be something interesting. Then when it got to post production, I could really experiment and change each location in multiple ways, until I felt I had really unlocked the potential of each image it was just a really enjoyable process!
Why did you shoot film rather than digital?
Film just really works for me with my aesthetic style, I love the grain and the amount of potential/control I have with each negative after being scanned at a really high PPI. I also think colour film and the fine grain that comes with it just looks so much better than digital images. Of course digital is great for many things and I still love the technical/digital side of shooting but for me I will always love medium format, colour film.
What are your plans for the future?
I have just moved to Amsterdam to work in a Creative Agency as I really wanted to experience a more team based working environment, as well as learning design skills.
What is the best piece of advice you could give the viewers of The Pupil Sphere?
I think to really allow yourself to develop and refine what is that influences you to create. For me, I spent a lot of time getting everything out of my head to fully understand what I wanted to say and then to work out exactly how to say it through photography.