Dear Internet, meet Alex Currie. Ok, so many of you have already heard of this young man, because he's a flippin' genius photography protégé who's been making us all look bad since he was old enough to push the shutter button. Seriously people, this Alex character has some mad skills and he's been creating a truly whimsical, gorgeous, story-rich, and fantastically artsy portfolio for years now and he's still only 17. In the world of art I don't think age really makes a difference; talent is talent no matter what.
I met Alex at the Silver Lake Flickr Gathering I went to in October, and even though he was by far the youngest in the group, it made zero difference - he fit right in. Basically, he is a rather splendid person to be around and is just as polite, hilarious, genuine, and fun as he is talented and imaginative. This kid is going places. He was even named one of Flickr's 20 under 20! So what I'm trying to say is that he is kind of big deal and a super rad dude that I was lucky enough to meet, become friends with, and turn into a tree.
Some photo shoots take me quite a long time in the planning stages, because I can't seem to picture them just right in my head, or I'm simply not excited enough about the idea and feel the need to flesh it out more. As you may recall, a few of my images were not really planned out at all, and took FOREVER to figure out in post. This image, however, was not one of those. The preplanning went a little something like this...
Alex: Hey Robert, can you make me into a tree?
Me: Uhhh yeah.
End of discussion.
That's seriously all that occurred as far as preparation for this photo went. Not only was it quite possibly the quickest planning period ever, but the shoot itself took all of...8 minutes maybe? I believe this is because Alex is such a brilliant self portrait artist. Once you've put yourself in front of the camera 42 bazillion times, you really start to examine your own body language. You notice things like what kind of posture is needed, how to shape your shoulders, how best to hold your face, and possibly most importantly, what the crap to do with your hands! The shoot went very much like...
Me: Stand here and be a lonely tree person.
Then he absolutely nailed it.
It worked so well so quickly that I feel like my brain was confused, but when you've got the shot you've got the shot. So I took a few captures and released Alex back into the wild (literally since we were in the woods), snapped some pictures of trees, branches, and bark to edit with, and I was done.
Normally one of my edits can take most of a week (or much longer), but not this one - It was done in a weekend. It came together so easily and I loved it right away. Often times I'm not super happy with my edits until about halfway through when I hit a groove and start making all the right decisions. I always know I'll get there eventually and just keep going, but this one just worked....it was quite refreshing.
So if you ever have the chance to meet and shoot with Alex (or any self portrait artist for that matter), I highly recommend you do so. Also, if you haven't dabbled much with self portraiture yet, you should definitely get on that. Even if you're embarrassed and don't ever plan on sharing them with the world, it's a great exercise to help you grow as a photographer. Here is a fantastically-crafted article my friend Sarah Allegra wrote with 5 reasons why creating self portraiture will make you an epic photographer.