Jared Alexander, born and raised in Philadelphia, is a multidisciplinary artist and graphic designer taking an innovative approach to editorial photography. The university graduate has contributed to fan favorites such as BET and British GC all while building an eye-grabbing portfolio of his own.
Pushing the agenda for Black cultures and making a way for photographers to strive in his city, Jared Alexander owns one of the only creative studios in West Philadelphia. It’s an 1100 square foot open space equipped with soft natural lighting and clean white walls for any project. One of his proudest projects thus far, Jared Alexander continues to build a distinct environment for creative professionals and business owners alike.
In our latest interview for Behind The Lens, Jared Alexander discusses what it takes to grow in creative spaces such as his own, attention to detail, 2021 goals, and more! Check it out below.
When did the idea of doing photography and design come full spectrum?
When I started doing graphic design, I kind of got tired of it. So I wanted to step into a medium that I could get a little more creative in and have some interaction with people. After I realized that I could get the best of both worlds, it became something that drew my attention. After a minute of doing photography for quite a while, I started implimenting video into my workflow and I did mini ad campaigns after my shoots. It brought more people to my work so just to be able to have all these outlets, I felt like it was a lot of longevity in it for me.
What are a few traits that you would deem necessary to thrive in those spaces?
One thing I would say is don’t compare your work to what another creative is doing. You have to stay authentic and be in your creative field for the right reasons. I feel like a lot of people, when they see that money coming, forget why they started. I always make sure to stay grounded in the art aspect of it and say what I’m trying to capture or the story I’m trying to tell in my work.
Other than that, continuing to hone and invest in your craft. Definitely, stay inspired and rest when needed. We’re always trying to keep up with the next post or the next content.
I really like the recent shoot you did with Arriana Breakley — can you tell me what all goes into creating content like that?
For most of my most recent shoots, I’ve been doing a lot of vision boards. With the addition of the stylist, Talyse’ Anir, we’ve been able to create some really dope concepts. Pulling from different shoots and other photographers then trying to make something new and innovative. Having a stylist has definitely helped with bringing my ideas full circle.
What are the conversations typically like with you and your muses?
Really just how we can think outside of the box. I think there’s been this theme in the photography field where there’s this really sexy feel. While I understand the need for that, I kind of feel like it’s a bit lazy on my part to only shoot in that way. We really try to bring editorial to that field and merge it with creative ideas.
Editorial more so has to do with how your work can be incorporated in magazines. It also has a lot to do with the wardrobe that the model or muse is wearing. So high fashion type of stuff, but bringing it back to the creative photoshoot is what makes it editorial.
Something that stands out in your work is the way you use lighting and shadows to represent your subjects in a phenomenal way—tell me more about it.
When I first started, I was really against using shadows in my work. I really liked the solid, flat backdrop. Then I got inspired by other photographers and how they would play with composition and shadow to create depth in their photos. That’s when I started shooting with hard light to create more emotion in my photos. I like where it’s been going so far so that’s been my reason behind using shadows and lighting in some of my recent works.
You’ve also done mock-up campaigns for Nike and Calvin Klein, what is your favorite part about doing things in that line of work?
It came about from shoots I did with people I was collaborating with. When we finished the actual shoots, it was like “well you’re wearing Balenciaga or you’re wearing Nike so let’s try to make it a mock ad and see what kind of response we get.” From there, I kept making them because I got a lot of good feedback.
Whether it be creating content or reaching a new landmark, what are your goals for the rest of 2021?
Well now that I have a studio that I’ve been running for about a year, I want to work on making this a creative hub in the city. I’ve had some people come through and rent out the space but now that COVID is dying down, I want to throw some events out here.
If you enjoyed our interview Jared Alexander, check out our chat with Nick Nogueira!