At 500px amazing photography is at our core, but these photos would not be possible without the talented people behind the lens. The 500px Spotlight series highlights the global and diverse photographers that are part of the 500px Community.
This week we are excited to introduce you to portrait photographer, Alex Gracia.
Hi Alex, please introduce yourself!
Hi! My name is Alex Gracia, and I´m a portrait photographer from Zaragoza, Spain. I love art, and from a young age I started trying to create things. Music was my first choice, but life made me change everything when I bought my first camera. I love to share what’s happening in the world with my point of view, talking about society, sadness, and technology.
We love to start these interviews off with the “how it all started” story. As a musician turned photographer, you have clearly always gravitated towards creating. What made you decide to take photography more seriously?
When I bought my first camera, I was struggling with creating music because I didn’t know how I could create something personal. I found the answer recently.
When I was creating music, I always imagined a visual story. When I decided to convert a song into a photoshoot, I realized the power of the camera. Since then, photography is what I have used to express what I feel, but I´ve never really stopped creating music, because it helps me to understand what I want to talk about.
I´d say that photography is closer to how I think, and that’s why I decided to give it a try.
You’ve stated that you want your images to take the viewer to another place. How do you plan for this, and what methods do you use to transport your audience through the photo?
For me, it’s always about empathy and trying to connect with people. I usually talk about very human feelings, like sadness or feeling alone, and I realized that it’s easier to connect with these feelings, more than a lot of people think.
When it comes to planning what I’m creating, it’s about connecting with your team, building a mood with light, and telling a story.
One of the recurring motifs in your work is sadness and loneliness, topics that many people find hard to address. Instead, your images give it a cinematic and romantic feel.
Do you have a strategy for framing shots to keep them engaging and evoke emotions?
It’s a bit weird, but I´d say that my main idea is to pair sad concepts with beautiful places.
I’ll try to explain it with a typical music idea. It’s like when you hear a dance song and love what is happening with the music. You dance to it, and then you realize that the lyrics are talking about a breakup. Suddenly, you are shouting and dancing to the song because you feel the lyrics, but you´re enjoying the music too. For me, it’s a very powerful way to let it all out.
I’m always creating sad concepts, but I fill them with a beautiful atmosphere that gives hope, and makes a nice image even if the character is crying. I have discovered that people love it.
A lot of your images have a solo subject, but for those with more than one person within the frame, how do you adjust your shooting strategy?
For me, it’s the same as when I’m shooting with one person. When I´m thinking about the idea and how to bring it to life, I always think about the concept, not the people. For me, photoshoots are about a mood.
Obviously, I change how I do most of the shots. I try to adjust and do more general compositions, because two people take up more space than one, but normally, I follow the same workflow that I follow when I’m working with only one person.
Where do you look for inspiration to get the creative juices flowing?
I know it´s a bit classic, but I look for inspiration in my daily life. My main source it’s what’s happening around me, but I also get inspiration from music, books, films, paintings, or tv shows.
A lot of creatives can get so caught up in needing to produce a constant body of work and can feel impeded by this pressure. What are your tips for getting past a creative block?
Sadly, we are in a world that does not understand artists and how difficult it is to create many pieces. From my perspective, the way to get past a creative block is to stop trying to create and live—spend time with the people you love and accept that you need time, the inspiration will come!
Defining one’s style can take years, but you have honed your edits to a very specific style that’s moody and employs a consistent color palette. How did you discover what works for you when editing?
I guess I´m not different from other artists, because my method was trying too many times, and getting results I didn’t like. This resulted in understanding how light and color worked.
I have always loved blue tones, and I knew that whatever I´ll be doing has to be moody and dreamy. So, it was about trying and failing until I got what I wanted.
In 2020, you became more serious about photography, we would love to know how you were able to turn what was such a difficult time due to a global pandemic into captivating art.
I had a difficult time being at home, and like everyone, I didn’t know what to do. Creating stories about what I was feeling helped me a lot, and stopped me from being sad and feeling alone.
I´d say that art saved me.
What is your favorite image on your 500px profile, and why?
This is a difficult one. I love a lot of my images, but I will say that it’s this picture (below) for what it meant to me.
At this time, I didn’t believe in myself as a photographer, and this picture was a change in how I approached photography. It was my first photoshoot with a real concept behind it. I also worked with one of the people that I admired, so you can imagine why this image is so special for me.
Do you have any exciting new projects in the works that you feel comfortable sharing with the 500px community?
Yes!!! I´m so excited to start a new journey in which I´m doing a whole photography project about a couple. It’s so romantic and I’m very excited about it. I can’t wait to share it, because it’s different and I think that a lot of people will connect with that. For now, I´m still publishing old pictures.
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