Out of this world photography by Alexandra Lethbridge who takes the next spot as Cone’s Artist Spotlight
I was first introduced to Alexandra’s work whilst wandering around the new Photographers’ Gallery one day in London, as my eye was drawn in by the clear colours and aesthetically pleasing presentation. The exhibition she was a part of (Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed) showcases the cutting edge talent of graduates around the UK and celebrates the variety of different practices within the photography field.
At first glance the work is wonderfully enjoyable on the eyes, both laid out for the exhibition and in book form, however Alexandra’s photo series entitled ‘The Meteorite Hunter’ has a serious and well thought out basis. Her work forces the onlooking audience to question the idea of what is real and what can be deemed ‘terrestrial‘. Using the alien rocks as a catalyst Alexandra is pushing her audience to “reconsider the collection and what is deemed to be exotic and celestial and what is mundane and terrestrial”. In a way the use of meteorites are there as a metaphor for other exotic and wonderfully-strange occurrences or objects that are overlooked in everyday life.
“One of my projects included an image inspired by a weathered billboard. I find those kinds of sources to be the most interesting for inspiring new ideas and techniques in my image making.”
The photo series features a range of different photography skills. Alexandra uses bright colour backgrounds, juxtaposing to the colours of the meteorite rocks allowing them to really stand out. No background or other objects takes away the sense of scale from the rocks, meaning they can be interpreted freely. The series also features some black and white moon-like photography and a small amount of collage all put together perfectly in a hand bound book which was shortlisted for the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation First Photo Book Award, 2014.
With an already impressive display of work under her belt and a number of awards, Alexandra looks to the future allowing her work to advance progressively from one project to the next and even considering the idea of branching her professional skills outwards to collaborate on projects with illustrators and painters. So to put it bluntly- watch this space!
What inspires you in day-to-day life before creating a piece of work or a series of works?
It can be a number of things, usually some small detail that would go unnoticed but that sparks an idea. One of my projects included an image inspired by a weathered billboard. I find those kinds of sources to be the most interesting for inspiring new ideas and techniques in my image making.
What was the aim behind the meteorite series and how did you go about capturing the photos?
The aim behind the work was to explore the idea of the exotic and how that’s over looked in the everyday. I offer a set of artifacts presented in equal measure without any indication as to their sources. One of the images is a meteorite, but this isn’t revealed at first glance so the viewer is asked to reconsider the collection and what is deemed to be exotic and celestial and what is mundane and terrestrial.
The images were collected in a variety of ways. Some were images I took of rocks and minerals I collected or bought in gift shops, others were collage images I created through physical layering and some are images sourced from online archives such as NASA’s.
You’ve worked a lot in landscape and even in collage, is there any other type of medium you are interesting in trying out in the future?
My approach to my work is very experimental and I try to stay playful in how I make images. I try not to limit myself in how I do that so anything could be used to make images if it speaks to the ideas behind the work. For my next project, I’ll continue to work with collage but I’d like to try experimenting with perspective and layering.
Where can you see your work going in the future, any artists you want to collaborate with or galleries you want to show in?
I would hope that my work would continue to expand and I’ll continue to investigate the ideas I’m exploring further. Each project informs the next so it’s exciting to think what the next project, or the one after that will look like. I would love to collaborate with other artists – I would actually really love to work with an illustrator or a painter, to combine their skill set with my own and see what we could produce.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
There’s lots of things I’d like to try if I weren’t a photographer… I’d be an astronaut or a scientist. When I was growing up I wanted to be a archeologist and used to dig for fossils in my garden. I think I’m interested in discovering – or rediscovering – the new. All themes that run through my work funnily enough!