This week’s blog post is all about one of our clients of theprintspace! Alex Poll recently printed with us for his upcoming group exhibition Fix Photo. Read more below to find out about Alex and his work.
First of all, please introduce yourself: who are you, where do you come from, where are you based now, and what do you do? What are you up to today?
Ahoy hoy, I am Alex Poll. I’m an Englishman from Derbyshire, now based in London. And I work in all things photography. I have my own fine art based photography practice, I’m also a lighting and digital technician on large commercial shoots and I hang (and sometimes) curate a lot of exhibitions, normally photographic; plus I do a bit of teaching too, also, of course, in photography.
Today I have at last found my sofa at 7pm! But the day began at a somewhat unsociable 5am, all for that morning light. It was beautiful though, I was actually modelling for a friend of mine shooting for “cactus tongue” bike racks. I basically got to ride a nice bike around shoreditch for a few hours. Then I had an Italian lesson, then I dropped on a friend hanging Polly Penrose’s show at Hoxton Gallery; I wanted to check it out as I can’t make it tonight. Then home!.. to spend some time organising a small portfolio to have in the show next week. There’s even a happy ending of a BBQ in the sunshine.
How did you get into photography?
My Dad was the one who started it all off really. With his olympus om-1. I can’t remember the exact age I started taking pictures but I was pretty young. I really got involved when I was in the photography society at Leeds university (which I ended up president of for a year), which eventually pushed me on to changing my degree from bio chemistry to photography.
What was the concept and inspiration behind the work, and how did the project come about?
I had wanted to go to Iceland for a very very long time. When I finally got the opportunity last summer I couldn’t wait. There are probably two main themes in this work. One is, like a lot of my work, the exploration into the duplicity of humans interaction with nature. The way it’s both harmonious and destructive. How the two are one and the same but have become so phenomenally different and trying to find ways of exemplifying this. “A tale from the land of fire and ice” is an allegory of this dichotomy of symbiosis and antibiosis. The second is a personal portrait of a place, an exploration through the beauty in form, pattern and the aesthetics of the world around me.
Tell us more about the exhibition!
So the exhibition is called “Fix Photo” it’s been created by LANG Director Laura Noble, a very old friend of mine and generally amazing woman. Here’s a quick rundown – “L A Noble Gallery (LANG) is proud to present FIX Photo – an annual celebration of exemplary photography in all its forms. FIX Photo is produced and curated by LANG Director Laura Noble. With events and workshops throughout and artworks and publications for sale there is something for everyone to discover. This free exhibition of photography includes works by a vast array of domestic and international talent from LANG and invited artists. FIX Photo explores many facets of the photographic medium.” – link to the web page here
What inspires you?
Oh what a question! Let me start with artists then. One of my initial inspirations has to be Nadav Kander, but not his portraiture work but his landscapes and specifically his series on Pripriat (home of the Chernobyl disaster), in all it’s aching beauty. Also anything he shot at night is phenomenal. There’s Ed Burtynsky’s series “Oil” which I find at once so epically beautiful and utterly depressing, also specifically I love they way he constructs his diptychs. Mitch Epstein with his series “American Power”, following a similar theme to Burtynsky, the whole series is amazing (which he won the prix pixtet for) but one image “Ocean Warwick Oil Platform, Dauphin Island, Alabama 2005” always springs to mind as it nearly makes me cry every time I see it. I take a lot from Paul Graham’s series “A shimmer of possibility” and the incredibly abstract exploration of shape and form of the world around us. And finally for photography there’s Saul Leiter’s “Colour” with it’s amazing non-conformist compositions and breathtaking colours. I’d like to mention Alexander Calder too, with his revolutionary methods of exploring form, shape and movement.
As far as literature and publications go there are again many, but as I feel I’m going on a bit I’d like to mention two that particularly hit home to me. Foam magazine has always inspired me, not just for the highly contemporary (and often abstract) work it presents, but also the mode of presentation, it’s just beautiful, everything has been thought about from the layout to the paper type. The other is the book “Camera Lucida” by Roland Barthes. His philosophical and very personal exploration into the photograph and what it means and can show really opened my mind and helped me to “see” the photograph.
And in conclusion I feel like I have to say this (and sorry it’s a little cheesy)… there is nothing I find more inspiring than the world around me and specifically the inanimate one. I feel it’s so full of hidden beauty, the interplay of light, shape and space goes unseen all around us. All I want to do is try and bring that to the fore and try and show it to everyone.
What paper type did you print your exhibition on, and why?
I used c-type gloss for my project, a paper I often prefer and one that others (sadly) seem to dismiss these days. I feel the colour reproduction is second to none but the big one for me is the blacks. I don’t care what anyone says, you will never get a black as deep or as rich on any other paper. Yes it’s shiny (clues in the name), but it’s a price I’m willing to pay, I’ve also splashed out anti-reflective glass which helps a little with this.
What’s your next step? Are there any new projects in the works?
Who knows! I have to say I do just like to see where life takes me most of the time. I have a long running project I’m currently trying to compile about where I live, which is the old studio and house of RA artists Mary Feddon and Julian Terevlyan, the place is so imbued with inspiration and history. I also have a series of triptychs where each image lies in stark contrast to the other but they (hopefully) promote more abstract ideas around shape and form of the world around us (as previously mentioned) and create new narratives of their own.
See more of Alex’s work here: behance.net/alexpoll