Half Spanish, half Argentine, Alexandra Diez de Rivera was brought up in Britain. A St. Martins graduate, she shifted her focus from graphic design to photography when moving to Shanghai, China, in May 2007. Her "Alternative Portrait Project", made up of private commissions featuring real families in tailored scenarios, was an immediate success in the East and soon started raising interest in the West. Alexandra has had various exhibitions in Shanghai and was selected alongside Araki, Martin Parr, William Wegman, and other established photographers for the live ARSEP auction at Christie's Paris last year. Your greatest inspirations or influences? Stanley Kubrick: For his perfectionism, aesthetics, and unique use of light. Egon Schiele: For the raw beauty of his art. Stefan Sagmeister: For his humour and altruism. James Turrell: For the genius and simplicity of his work. Dana Wyse: For her pill art which cracks me up every time, could do with more than one of those little packets!
Favorite subjects or shoots so far ? I have to admit my favourite subjects are my friends and my favourite shoots the ones I do spontaneously, eg. "Alexandra & Hadrien" in the "Couples" section of my website, or "Lucia, Isabella, Alexandra & Caroline" in "Other". I also had a lot of fun with the girls in "Sophie, Agathe, Aure, Trixie, Marie & Agnes", drinking wine and dancing through the shoot. On a more serious note, I like shooting couples as the character content is more concentrated than with bigger families. Portrait themes can have more of an edge and it's always interesting to play on the relationship between two people, eg. "Benjamin and Laila" or "Nicolas and Tina". http://www.alexddr.com/
Other favorite photographers you love? Erwin Olaf: For the subtly disturbing nature of his work and flawless compositions. David Lachapelle: For his fantastic imagination, "in your face-ness", and flashy, glitzy signature style. Tim Walker: For sharing his beautifully romantic world with us and revolutionising fashion photography. Loretta Lux: For the art-like quality of her work and spooky effect of those children! Maleonn: For his quirky and poetic imagery.
Other websites you love?I get hooked onto different websites all the time but the only one I keep going back to is http://www.whokilledbambi.co.uk/ - always inspired by their edgy selection of art, illustration and photography... even though it's quite a dark collection!
Challenges of what you do? Photographing children can be a challenge and if I didn't have two of my own I'm not sure I'd be able to do what I do at all! Getting kids to stand in a precise place and take on a precise attitude isn't always easy. Some portraits are made up of many different photographs which means every person has a determined spot in the picture, it can get quite technical and I have to make sure that never interferes with the end result looking natural. Coming up with a different scenario for each portrait every time can also be a challenge but strangely I'm finding the more portraits I do, the more ideas I have!
Plans for 2010? I have an exhibition at the Agatha Ruiz de la Prada store in Paris opening February 16th and a fun solo show at the Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center in Shanghai with a live performance later in the year. I also hope to travel to New York and Tokyo for some new commissions this year.
What would be a dream project for you? To use the cloning theme for photographing an artist "inside" his art. eg. Kusama amongst her pumpkins, or Ron Muek climbing one of his sculptures, or James Turrell in a landscape of light... I love the idea of bringing my own art in to highlight somebody else's, I would be so honored to work on a project like this. Damien, you reading this? Quick one next to the shark?
Anything else you'd like to share with our audience? I'm shooting in Paris and London mid-February, please feel free to get in touch if you'd like more information: firstname.lastname@example.org