There is something about the surreal world of photography that feels like you are in a dream, one of those strange ones your mind makes up that you can’t really figure out and nothing seems to make logical sense. Alex Stoddard, a surreal photographer, makes those dreams come to life with his amazing photography.
He started out at the young age of 16 shooting, after experimenting with different forms of art like drawing and painting. Art never really clicked with him until he met photography. This one stuck. He started by taking self portraits in his bedroom or in the woods behind his house because he was too shy and embarrassed about photography to ask anyone to pose for him, let alone to admit he was taking photographs at all. He said “I would sneak around and make up lies about where I was going, because I didn’t think my friends or family would understand. Ironically, they are actually the most supportive people of my photography now.”
Eventually, he did feel brave enough to share his art with others, and his friends and sisters would become his models. As time passes on, he continues to use friends, but more often than not, he reaches out to an agency or to freelance models to help his dreams come to life.
To create these dreamy photographs, he begins with an idea in his head. He says “I very rarely sketch anything out, for two reasons: one that I can’t draw to save my life, the other that I never fully know how the composition needs to look until I am on set and in the moment.” He then directs the models towards a pose, acting it out himself, and then gives his subjects the option to move around and pose as they feel comfortable. The freedom of movement gives his models an organic, comfortable feel in the final result.
He will sometimes use stylists to help out with his work if he is doing a more fashion forward piece. However, more often than not, he finds himself styling his model and shopping for clothes at antique and thrift stores.
Alex draws inspiration from experimenting with various art forms, but also from other photographers. Some of his top choices are: Eugenio Recuenco, with his larger than life objects; Jeff Bark, with his mysterious qualities; Tim Walker, and his creative fashion work; and lastly, Oleg Oprisco and his unique surrealism.
His favorite image to date features a young girl holding a giant egg being swarmed by a flock of birds. “This piece is my favorite because I feel that it has a strong narrative and fully encapsulates the dramatic sort of darkness that I strive to achieve with my work.”
And lastly his advice to photographers, “Remain authentic to your own vision instead of bending to trends. Viewers respond to originality and fresh perspective, and everyone’s voice is different.”
CREDITS: All photographs by Alex Stoddard are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.