ALEX COLSON - ON FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY IN ORLANDO, INSPIRATIONS AND CHALLENGES
Alex Colson or Lexx as we call him, is a prominent Fashion Photographer based in Orlando and his company - PBL has been instrumental in covering the glamour scene in and around Central Florida for quite some years now. Lexx has shot some of the best Forziani campaigns and we sat down with him to talk about fashion photography in Orlando and what inspires his creativity.
Forziani Style: How long have you been doing Photography
Lexx: I have been an artist all my life. I started out as a graphic artist in high school and I would say around 2007 is when the shift towards photography came in. From 2007 upto 2009 was a learning period and most of it was self taught with camera and lighting techniques.
Did you attend any school or specialized courses in photography
I am a self made person. Most of my work is self-taught with help from online tutorials and reading about photography in general. Specialized photography like fashion, portrait, glamour etc. came in later with more practice and exposure.
Would you recommend self-taught courses for budding photographers
Yes, but we need to understand that just reading or just practicing are often not enough. If you just read but do not grasp the reality of a setting or if you just practice in the blind, without thought to the actual outcome, you may miss the mark in actual photoshoots. For example, you need to understand that the picture that you are taking, is an interplay of light exposure and a contrast between deepness and darkness. These learnings come slow with practice and faster with a course. Either way is good. But you can go out for professional photo shoots only after you understand those concepts and can apply and adapt for different kinds of photography, from a model to life or landscape.
How would you describe your own personal style and approach
My intention is always to look for the best shot in any situation. Looking back I have been one key light and one umbrella kind of a guy. But these days my style is evolving with more clients preferring natural sunlight shots with no flash and no strobe lighting. Given a choice I would still do a photoshoot with one solid key light, adding a pop of light and burst to highlight the body. I believe it gives a good depth and dimension to the photo, especially when it comes on the contrast side.
Is it difficult when you're working with clients who ask you to work within their set parameters
What I try to do is try and understand the concept and the look they're going for. Most of the times, my clients hire me because they like my style and my eye for the end product. They just give me the basics and pretty much leave the rest to me. But sometimes, if they are very specific, I work with them to accomplish the goal. I might not like something internally, but hey if you're client is happy - you're happy.
Where does your inspiration come from, in terms of past or current photographers, visual styles or photography field in general
When I first started, there was this guy really famous in the Swimsuit photograph industry, named Onyx. He's passed away now but he was my inspiration. I learnt a lot from his style, how he positioned the light, the angles on models and especially how he worked on raw images. More recently I've been admiring the work of Marcus Klinko and Indrani. They have an amazing depth and style of work and has created some of our culture's greatest shots when it comes to commercial photography - right from makeup, music artists and models to movies.
How would you describe the photography atmosphere in Orlando
Orlando has a very diverse and large photography community. Specially with so many theme parks and nightlife venues in Orlando, life as with photography is constantly evolving and changing. I do know a few photographers here in the city and like rest of of the community in Orlando, they all are pretty helpful, especially when it comes to convening ideas and to help each other.
How would you describe your own fashion and accessory style
I am a very simple guy. I go for good comfort wear with style which would take me through long work days. For apparel H&M clothing is more my style and for jewelry I just love to rock the Forziani designs. If I was to choose a single accessory I would go by the chains and hip hop style designs they have. And of course an ear stud is my standard jewel.
Since you cover so much of fashion photography in Orlando, what are the some of new emerging trends that you see coming up in 2017
I see a lot of retro styles coming back. There seems to be a trend of the eighty's and ninety's retro stuff coming back. Even in music I see a lot of artists coming out with a sampling of retro type music. Fashion always does keep coming back, no matter what and we might see a retro style hitting the markets soon.
What specific accessory styles do you see coming up for men
I see a lot of men sporting bracelets these days. Not only for models but also with my friends etc and in casual settings. So I see the bracelet trend for men on the rise.
What are your next goals
I want to learn and get into aerial photography, especially shots through helicopters etc. I also am looking into shooting a film and open a production house. I have a few avenues open up for that recently and we'll see how it all goes.
How can one get in touch with you
Best is on social media - any medium with a handle @photosbylexx is me. My regular e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Compilation: Diego Pinedo | Narration: Antonio Battaglia
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