I met Alex Bowler through a mutual friend (A.S) some time ago, I was very much impressed with the images he was creating and I kept an eye on his Facebook uploads. I find His work walks a thin line between genres. Simply executed, his photographs seem to offer something more then just disposable moments. Almost all of his images are taken using film, so of course when Alex had some spare time I jumped at the chance to ask him a few quick questions for WECC
21, Male, Brisbane. I study engineering and biotechnology at UQ and work as an orderly at the Mater Hospital to pay the bills, it’s all alright.
What is the biggest challenge you currently face with your photography?
I think I’m stuck at something fairly basic and that’s purpose. When you can’t make something your main focus it’s difficult to fit it into some grand scheme, to have a central controlling idea. As much as I love it, photography has taken a backseat in my life in terms of overall priorities and as a result is more opportunistic than planned and calculated.
How would you describe your work now? Would you say it is a reflection of your character?
I’m not sure. Some people may personally identify with their work but I don’t think I’m one of them. Photography for me is a way to connect with the world around me so maybe my work is more of a window into what I’m doing and where I’m at.
Yes... I think. Going on from above, the work I produce is largely opportunistic; nothing is designed and nothing is altered. At the start of the year I decided to see more greenery in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales - rainforests, rivers, trees - and I think that’s echoed through. There are so many awesome places around us, once you place yourself there nice pictures tend to generate themselves.
Do you have any upcoming projects or new pieces that you would like to share ?
Oh sure. I’m working on a little photo book about my trip to India, something you can just pick up and flip through at any point. It’s a lot of fun to do and learning how to use Indesign has been interesting. I’m thinking about getting a few printed and perhaps hawking them at The Box gallery in West End or around town somewhere. Not too sure if it’d be something people would actually want to spend money on though.
Is there any main reason you shoot a fair amount of your work with film ?
Yeah, I like the way it renders light and I like the cameras. I’m sure you get that. There are so many different approaches to making a camera and they can all be had for cheap online. It’s exciting. I also like not having the pressure to edit the photos after capture, the film (and I also suspect the staff at Big W) determine the outcome. I like that.
Do you shoot any digital at all ?
Yeah, as much as I love film, digital has it’s obvious advantages. Its cheaper to operate and more versatile. The D700 I shoot with knows no limits and if you do your post right the finished product can be just as ‘appealing’ as a film image - it just takes a little more work.
Where would you like to see your photography develop in the future?
I’ve just splashed out on some chemicals and paper to get developing and printing again. There’s a shed in the backyard where I live that’s just waiting for me to get organised. In the past I’ve found messing around in a darkroom is much more gratifying than pushing sliders in Lightroom so this is something I’m looking forward to in the near future. Otherwise I’m just going to go on keeping on doing what I like doing and take what opportunities come my way.
by Simon Johnson
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