Interview-Ingrid Alice: Fashion photographer creates a wonderland of her own
-Do you agree that you are challenged everyday to create something that has never been created?
Constantly. The sheer number of images that get uploaded to Instagram alone every day (on average 60 million photos per day) creates enormous pressure and an expectation to continuously create images that stand out in a crowd, of well 60 million.
I do however try my very best to entirely focus on what I am doing and what projects we have on at any given time. Ultimately, I believe in monitoring success by happy clients, successful campaigns, and bookings. As amazing it is to get social media recognition - I see this more of a gentle indication that we are on the right path as opposed to a sign of success.
-Can you describe your creative process? What do you look for when creating a shoot and do?
My process begins at 3am in the morning, when the world is quiet, I can think clearly and my creative brain kicks in. I often send messages to my team, by daybreak, we have great excitement over our air waves.
Creative conversations will start flying around 5am.
I look for concept and story line, I am often inspired by poetry, books, music, myths and legends. I look for the “make-believe”, seeing an image in my minds eye, and then creating the visual representatives of that - the story will then transform and develop from there.
I don’t shoot real life, I’m not an enormous fan of real life. Photography is my escape into a world of wonder and magic. A world of enchantment… where stories are always grand.
My Team. The people I work with are creative powerhouses. We are a very small team of focused creatives. Mostly however, I look for like-minded people, creatives who share my design aesthetics. People from my tribe who can take an idea and concept and transform it into something BIG. I never work in large teams.
I look for very strong character driven women for models. Women that are beautiful but fierce. I like strength in my images.
-You have to have a favorite artist in mind that drives your creativity or inspires you, who is it?
Jack Vettriano. His work feeds my soul. I can spend hours searching though his paintings, imagining stories and subtexts in the overall mood of his work. You can feel tension, emotion, love, hate, sadness, seduction, loneliness, youth. I feel like his narratives tell 10 000 stories, each of them different from the viewers perspective and life experiences.
-How would you describe yourself as a person & artist?
A little peculiar perhaps. Upside down in Wonderland comes to mind. As a person, quiet and reserved, a little too serious at times - most times really. I tend to have strong opinions. A dreamer, a boho flower child with a rock n roll soul with a constant urge to travel the word with my camera and a backpack.
As an artist, constantly striving, a fierce workaholic. I do not lead anything that resembles a “normal” life.
-How did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
The short answer is, I didn’t. This creative craft came to me later in my career. I have been a Creative Director for most of my life. A few years ago, I was working on a print publication, where we had to produce a fashion shoot. I took one look at this cool photographer, who spent his days outdoors, creating amazing images, and thought that this looked like a very good way to spend my time.
Initially I was only going to be more of a hobbyist. However through a series of life changing events, my Photography took on a whole energy of its own. In hindsight I feel so strongly that I could never produce the work my team and I create, had I not had those years working as a Creative Director, and the work experiences that I was lucky enough to enjoy over that time. I believe photography came to me at the right point in my career.
I do however feel I am at the beginning of this journey and cannot wait to see how my work changes and expands over the next years.
-Do you have a favorite photographers who inspire you? Why is that?
I am totally and completely obsessed with the work of Sarah Moon and Paolo Roversi. Their use of color and the images they create are hauntingly beautiful and stay with you forever. Tim Burton’s story-telling narrative, simply takes my breath away.
-In the artistic world of photographers, do you see yourself not only trying to achieve your perfect shoot but also being known for your work?
All I honestly want in this life - is to create amazing images, work with talented people, and have happy nice clients who I love. With regards to the world of photographers, it is extraordinary to be recognized for what you do, but again as mentioned before - this is perhaps more of an indication that we are“on the right path”. I do not work for anyone else other than my clients, my team and myself. We focus strictly on what we are doing and creating.
-If you could shoot an editorial anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why is that?
Eze on the French Riviera. The entanglement of the cobbled streets which lead down secret alleyways into hidden squares, with an internal vista of blue ocean skies, makes for a striking backdrop. I can almost imagine walking at night, lantern in hand, down candle lit enchanted pathways, passing Nietzsche, Yeats, Monet, Picasso, Fitzgerald or Hemingway laughing loudly after an evening in one of the small pubs, winding their way merrily down the hill back to their residence. All of whom have spent time in this extraordinary place.
-What was the main reason that you decided to become a photographer?
After working behind a computer for 16 years, getting up at 3 am and watching the sunrise, while balanced on 6ft ladders, seemed like a very good way to spend time. I can honestly say now, that in fact it is the perfect way to spend time. I feel like I have finally found my way in this world, and it was up a ladder!
-Tell me about your latest shoot. What was your vision when you created it?
We have the most amazingly exciting shoots coming up and in production. One of them is a series call Sirens, which is re-imagined Neptune's wooden angels, figureheads in the front of shipwrecked ships, that have come to life and continue to stand guard over their long forgotten vessel.
A project with a mix of digital and 8x10 polaroid. A beauty shoot inspired by the original Grimms fairytales.
-To be a photographer, you had to undergo a lot of struggles. What was the most difficult obstacle for you when putting together a shoot?
The barrier to entry was getting people to work with me and to trust my vision. This was a totally different industry for me, and not one person was even remotely interested in what I had to offer. I was lucky enough to convince one stylist to work with me on a project - only under the proviso that if she hated my work, I would get another photographer to shoot it. Fortunately it went well - and then I simply went out to work with the best people I possible could. Winning them over one by one on each given shoot. In South Africa, this is a very closed industry - competition is unforgiving. You need to be on your A game all the time.
-Does your personal life ever effect how you compose your shoots or do you have a set schedule/ formula that you follow? What is it exactly?
Currently my schedule is a 7 days a week and min 12-16 hour days. There is no milk in the house, and I’m living a little too much off spoonfull's of peanut butter at midnight. I am hoping to try and find more balance this year.
Yoga is helping.
-Who excites you the most (Celebrity) & why?
Audrey Tautou and Kat Von D. Both these women are interesting in a very non traditional sense. The rolls they have chosen to play in life is so undeniably inspiring. I feel they walk the line between strength, femininity, success, humbleness and just downright take no prisoners. It’s wonderful to see women who are unapologetically non-traditional.
-If you had to pass on a suggestion for someone starting out in photography, what would you tell them?
Focus on your own work. Put your nose to the grindstone and work. Work harder, and harder and then work even harder than anyone else. Find your tribe, collaborate with like minded souls. Experiment and most importantly work on client relationships. Relationships are what build careers. Always be nice and support other photographers. There is so much work in this world. There is enough for everyone.
Always, always be kind!
-How is your style of photography different from any other photographers?
My style is ever evolving and changing. I tend to use a lot of color in my photography at the moment. But perhaps that will change with different projects. I do love colour though :)
-What are your world-dominating goal.
To continue to work in Photography, get paid for doing something I love so much, and of course travel the world and live an adventurous life - with nice, amazing clients and a creative team that is insanely cool.
What more could one ask for…. Perhaps to work in NYC or Paris would also be amazing. For a photographer hailing from Africa, working in NYC or Paris is most certainly the definition of world domination. :)