ALEX BRYAN

AGE: 24

Hiram College Alumni

BIRTHPLACE: Akron

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Q: When did you know you were creative?

A: I have to continuously work at being creative.

Q: What does being an artist mean to you?

A: For me, I think being an artist means learning how to pay extremely close attention to myself and the world. Learning to be increasingly loyal to myself too.

Q: What inspires your photography?

A: Although I don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like, reading is the only thing that consistently inspires me to make stuff. It puts my mind in the right mode. But a lot can inspire me. With my work though, I find it crucial to try to let my own everyday life inspire me. I think there’s a lot to be uncovered in the mundane. Friends are inspiring too! I’m lucky to have talented friends who make great stuff. Seeing how otHers express themselves is definitely inspiring.

Q: How would you describe your point of view (style of photo)? Now describe it in 3 food flavors.

A: I think most of my work can be described broadly as conceptual or abstract. I try to de-familiarize things often in my photography. If my work was edible it would be savory like red meat, fermented like kimchi, and cold like milk.

Q: Do you feel like it is harder or easier to express one’s creative self in 2019?

A: In many ways, yes, it’s easier to express yourself today. It continues to get easier as our societies grow more tolerant of ideas and more technologically advanced to allow more time to be creative and more ways to express our ideas and so on. At the same time, continuing social and technological progress can be paralyzing for expression.

In addition to the huge factor of having pretty much grown up with the internet, our generation have spent our whole lives a in world that has told us from the beginning to “express yourself,” “be unique,” “be you” and, while those sentiments are beautiful and important, they’ve contributed to building this society where we have to express ourselves in order to just exist practically. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but maybe not as much as we’d hope. So everyone’s expressing themselves all the time. Great! But now there’s so much noise, and to express yourself can sometimes feel like a whisper to no one in a room filled with conversation. I will say, though, that I believe that pretty much anything worthwhile isn’t easy, so the fact that new and unforeseen obstacles to creativity seem to keep evolving is probably a good thing: it forces art to evolve.      

Q: Which place in the universe do you feel reflects your work the most?

A: Earth.

Q: What is your favorite subject matter to shoot and why?

A: Hard to say honestly, but I’m fascinated by houses, buildings, stairwells, etc. Anything built by humans where we spend lots of time. No matter how advanced our species gets, we’ll always need to build places with our physical, bipedal bodies in mind, so the structures we build, to me, become these very intimate things. Intimate in the sense that they provide something primal and fundamental like shelter. Without the basic need of four walls and a roof met, we wouldn’t be able to evolve into the kind of species we are today. So all buildings, especially houses, are incredible expressions of humanity.

Q: Are there any repetitive themes and patterns in your work? If so, what are they and what do they mean?

A: I’d say self-projection, synthesis and psychological space are recurring themes in my work. I’m not sure I can speak about what they mean though, and I certainly don’t expect those things to be in the mind of someone viewing my work necessarily. Those are just big topics and themes I find interesting, so they play a large role in motivating the stuff I make.  

Q: Do you have any favorite photographers or artists? Who are they and why?

A: There are so many. From photography, of course, I love classics like Diane Arbus, and Robert Mapplethorpe; both produce these brutal and vulnerable black and white portraits. Lastly, You can’t deny Ansel Adams was a master of composition. He could imbue landscapes with so much drama. Not all the photographers I like are dead. Trine Søndergaard is a working photographer who makes abstract portraits and has great series on attics and cellars. Lately, I’ve been really digging the stuff by this guy Kyle Berger who I discovered through Instagram. His work is just goofy, but there’s often a lot of substance in his photos too. I love all kinds of art though, not just photography. I couldn’t answer this question without mentioning David Lynch. His films have made profound impressions on me. There’s too many people to list so I should stop.

Q: Do you have a favorite project you have completed?

A: I don’t think I do. Completed projects are odd things. My favorite stuff is always the stuff that I’m currently engaged in.

Q: What do you wish you could do with a camera that you can’t?

A: Detect wavelengths beyond the visible light spectrum. Capturing a room with a visible wifi signal would awesome. Or a landscape with radio waves passing through it.

Q: What 3 songs best describes your photography?

A: The introduction to “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss

“Solo” by Frank Ocean

The Seinfeld theme

Q: What are some of your future goals and aspirations?

A: To get an artist’s residency. Use a camera for a living. Own a dog and take it for a walk everyday.

Q: Would you say that art has had an impact on you? How?

A: Definitely. I think when we’re affected by great art, it inhabits us. I think great art has secrets to tell.

Q: Tell us a something that you do not portray in your photography that still means alot to you.

A: I think shooting extreme sports would be interesting and fun. Because it’s winter, snowboarding comes to mind.

INSTAGRAM: @imalexbryan


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View of the Moon Through the Kitchen Window

Everyday Kinda Search

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