Featured: Fashion & Urbanscape Photographer, Alexander Rocco
Miki Cheung: Looking at your photographs, I clearly see that you are wildly talented. Instead of photographing the outfits on the runway, I noticed very angular and artistic side to your work of models walking the runway. What are you trying to capture when you photograph models on the runway?
Alexander Rocco: I do take the standard straight on shot that vendors are looking for, but I also look for something different. I need to deconstruct what I am looking at and take different angles. This process makes my work grow and help me learn to see something when it seems like there is nothing to see. The back of the dress sometimes may be more beautiful than the front of the dress. The dress curvature on the side view may fall beautifully on the woman making her look more feminine. These are just little details but they all happen so fast on the runway.
MC: Your portfolio includes landscapes to urbanscapes to fashion photography. It seems like such a range. Where did you start and how did you get into fashion photography?
AR: I started taking landscapes and that was very easy to me. I was taught to paint and draw at an early age by my dear grandmother, and that helps greatly when it comes to composition. Landscapes are easy to take because the subject doesn’t move, but there are challenges with lighting and other elements, such as weather. I always found people to be unpredictable, making photographs more difficult to take. This led me to challenge myself and take architectural images. Fashion has always been around me and it was the natural next step to shoot fashion. I look at footage that a Chilean videographer took with Jenny baker in the 80’s and studied past photographers like Lillian Bassman, Edward Steichen and Avedon for inspiration.
MC: How did you first get involved in the Artist Project? Can you give us a preview of what people can expect to see from you at this show?
AR: I found out about the Artist Project 3 years ago when I attended Art Toronto. I am always looking to see what other artist are doing and how they are using the medium or introducing new materials to produce art. At this year’s Toronto Artist Project (TAP) you will see new color fashion pieces along with a close up of a dress. This study showcases the delicate work of the dress designer and the curves of the human form. I am also introducing two pieces that were printed on steel. This process gives the image a nostalgic look mimicking the cross processing development of the film era.
AR: Fully charged batteries, lots of memory cards and the hope that magic happens. I mean it may be in the form of a broken light, lighting that is not working properly – this may sound silly, but sometimes accidents do produce great results! I am always up to the challenge and pushing myself to create images that will make me smile. Look at everything that is in front of you, analyze the walk, shoes, dress, hair location, earing’s, etc.
AR: The images were taken during fashion week between the period of 2009-2014. This collection of images are a study of the human form and the dynamics of fabric. Each of these images have the left shoulder exposed with a hint of movement. The back is open and in some cases showing the curvature of the spine. I particular enjoy Mode Shape – Plate 4 as the light shows the lines of her arm muscle moving towards her earring. The construction of chains by the designer around her body enhances the shape of her body.
AR: Not really, I am very picky with my images and my own worst critic. I have hundreds of images that I have not posted that other people love, but I am not happy with. It all starts with the state of mind that I am in and sometimes the type of music that I am listening to. This will drive my creativity and direction of the processing.
MC: What is the craziest or wildest photoshoot you’ve ever been asked to do?
AR: : I have not had many, but I was shooting Mac DeMarco at Tatto last summer and it was fun. I was right at the front of the stage and the crowd was going crazy, jumping, pushing, Mac have us some kind of drink to sip. We had crowd surfers and I saw the bottom of the boot just touch the side of my camera.
AR: The one person that I would photograph would be Greta Garbo. There is beauty, style, vulnerability, mystery and aura of persona that would translate into my black and white images. The sessions that I would be looking for would be the start of her career and the years spent in New York City.