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Robyn Alexandra interview

(September 01, 2011)

Interview with Robyn Alexandra

Robyn Alexandra is a freelance photographer, specialising in fashion and portraiture. Originally, she obsessed about becoming a fashion designer, until she discovered the work of Tim Walker and Richard Avedon - influencing her ambitions towards fashion photography. Her body of work can feel dramatically contradictory, as she loves creating photographs of a romantic, vintage reverie feel as well as images that show elements symbolising death, the afterlife and the supernatural. Robyn took some time out to discuss her work …

Robyn 1

CC … How long have you been interested in photography?

RA …  I've been interested in it for around 3 years now. I've only been working with clients and collaborating with other creatives for about a year though, so everything is still really new to me.

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CC … What first ignited your interest in this medium?

RA …  I've always been interested in fashion, style and art, and originally hoped to be a fashion designer. But then I noticed Tim Walker's work in British Vogue and was completely blown away. Before that, I really didn't see photography as an art form, and I didn't appreciate how much work goes into a shoot. After starting my photography A level and researching other photographers, I realised that I was far better suited to fashion photography than design.

Robyn 3

CC …Are there any particular styles or other photographers which influence your work/style of photography?

RA …  Tim Walker, Richard Avedon, Mert & Marcus, Lara Jade, Kirsty Mitchell, Norman Parkinson ... I really love the music videos and overall style of musician Fever Ray - she's very dark, and seems to make a lot of references to the supernatural and voodoo. I am also influenced by fairytales, music, prose, poems. Half of me s very light, and romantic, and the other is very dark and emotional ... and maybe even sinister.

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 CC … Your work seems to have a strong ethereal quality … 

RA … Definitely. I use art to escape reality. I want to create a sort of magic with my photographs - although the reality is that my archive is half white magic (The Reverie), half black magic (The Dolls). I hope that people can look through my images and get immersed in the stories; a form of escapism - I'd love that.

Robyn 5

CC … Much of your work features outside locations. Are you inspired by nature and locations, rather than by studio settings?

RA …  I've never been inspired by studios. I haven't learnt about studio lighting and technique properly yet, which is something I need to do sometime in the future. But for now, I'm really happy with nature, and I probably won't ever be as happy in a studio as outside. I feed off the natural light, the atmosphere, how the models and the clothes respond to the environment. Locations have a real energy. Rivers, at the moment, are my favourite. I love working with water. Urban areas can be amazing to work in too, especially empty shells and cities at night.

Robyn 6

CC … Is there a particular person or celebrity that you would love to photograph, either past or present?

RA … Anja Rubik, Fever Ray ... Cleopatra.

CC … Getting your work known is one of the keys to success. What initiatives have you undertaken to publicize your work? Have you received any help/guidance in this regard from others?

RA …  I've networked online, mainly. I have a Facebook fanpage (Robyn Alexandra Photography) and am in the middle of designing a website. I get a lot of referrals from friends and clients. I'm aiming to participate in more networking events once I have my business cards made in line with my website, and maybe doing some exhibitions. There's lots of advice on the internet! When I was in college I used to get advice from my tutor as well of course.

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CC … What advice would you give to someone who is interested in taking up photography?

RA … Winston Churchill: "The maxim 'Nothing avails but perfection' may be spelled 'Paralysis'." - Don't try to be perfect, it'll never happen. Embrace and learn from your mistakes. I need to take my own advice though, as I suffer from being a perfectionist! 

Confucius: "It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop." - Don't concern yourself with becoming successful quickly. Don't worry that other people are more successful than you. 

Oscar Wilde: "A man who does not think for himself does not think at all." - Take inspiration from others but don't copy outright. Always be yourself - your work is YOUR vision, so it should portray your loves, hates, emotions, ideas, personality. Not someone else's. 

Scott Adams: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Practise a lot, and have fun with it. Try new things!

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CC … People often assume that to achieve a stunning image involves very expensive equipment; not just cameras, but also editing/manipulation software. Is that true in your case?

RA … No. I don't have expensive equipment, but people still like my work. That's like saying you need the most expensive pencil to be talented at drawing. Being able to use your equipment is the most important thing, and it's a never ending learning-curve too. Expensive gear can only take you so far!

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CC … What are your plans for the future?

RA … Learn lots about studio techniques and equipment! Fulfil more shoot ideas. Collaborate with more amazing individuals. Move to London for a degree after my art foundation. Be happy and continue to find inspiration and magic everywhere!

CC … Robyn Alexandra, thank you.


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