Like Valerie Chiang or Kalie Garrett, Alex Stoddard is one of those talented teenage photographers who knows how to express themselves. His self-portraits are all incredibly unique and after viewing them you're left wondering where he's going to take you next.
What I enjoy most is that you can almost feel his passion come through. His commitment to not only executing on an idea but doing it well, is apparent to anyone who sees his photos.
I got in touch with Alex to ask him a few questions, including how his style evolved while taking on the 365 project. (That is, to shoot and share one picture each day.) Read that interview below after enjoying his very creative self-portraits.
What have you learned from your 365 project? How did your style evolve?
A better question would be what haven't I learned from my 365 project. Starting off, I hadn't a clue how to operate my camera outside of 'Auto' mode. Focus was a nightmare, and interesting concepts never occurred to me. Basically, I have learned everything about photography that I know now in the 229 days of my 365 that I have under my belt. And it isn't even just photographically that I've evolved. I have become more in touch with my emotions, more willing to accept and build upon my internal frustrations and glees. I think my 'style' has changed a lot as well, but I like to think that overall it is just an open variety of blending the real with the imaginary in a manner that doesn't call for any kind of manipulation. I like to take what is there and mold it into what I want to be there instead.
Your photos are all beautifully artistic. Do you try to tell stories or are you thinking about portraying a character in them?
Each photo tells a story of its own whether I am aware of it or not. I think it's just how things fall into place when I organize a shoot. Sometimes I'm subconsciously bringing in little details, a certain shirt, prop, location, and I don't even know that there is a story there until it's there. I consider myself boring, so I wouldn't dream of shooting only photos of myself in regular clothes in boring places. Instead, I try to become someone else, somewhere else, because anything is better than being just me.
I see that you're friends with Rosie Hardy. Does she influence you?
Definitely! Like so many others, Rosie was the reason that I started the 365 project in the first place. Her incredible compositions and concepts made me feel like it was okay to dream and shoot something outside of regular portraits. And even more so to do it every day!
How has Flickr helped you develop your style?
I basically owe everything to Flickr. When I first joined, I would read different posts that people would make in regard to Flickr's community, how everyone is so warm and encouraging, and I never believed any of it. But it's true. If it weren't for the kind words of my followers and them simply.. being there.. I wouldn't continue to push myself so incredibly hard in an effort to improve. Some may say that I shouldn't do such a thing.. that I should be shooting photos that I want at whatever degree of difficulty that I choose, whatever makes me happy. In a way, I agree, but I think that only comes after one has completed the 365. It's a project of growth, not of comfort.
Are there any quotes you live by?
I read something in Tim Walker's book that I can't recall exactly, but he explained that originality doesn't exist within a person, it never has, but instead we take everything we have ever seen, felt, experienced from everyone else and make it our own. I think that is a completely valid statement.
Thanks for the interview, Alex. Completely mesmerized by your photos...
Check out more of Alex's incredible photos on his Flickr page.