Alex – Part One

Jake Saxman Modeling

This is post is going to be a little different in format.

Since I haven't shot with Alex recently, I decided to make a sort of appreciation post that recounts our story and includes work from throughout our time knowing each other. It's a fun idea for me, as I'm required to dig through old work and shock and surprise myself with it's quality. I'm not one to toot my own horn, but god damn has my work improved since we met. I don't know if that's a testament to it's caliber now or if it was simply just that bad then. But regardless of the state of my work, she's been killin' it the whole time.

So without further adue, I give you The Adventures of Jake & Alex.

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It all began a long, long time ago in a galaxy near Monument Ave. One of us decided to follow the other on Instagram. A like here, a like there, and we decided to meet up and shoot some photos. According the EXIF data from the images, the year was 2014.

Upon meeting Alex, I was instantly enamored with her quirky attitude and quick wit. I became instantly comfortable in her presence and knew I could be myself. This simple fact makes miles of difference when shooting with someone. If I'm noticeably comfortable it generally does the same for the other party, allowing for natural and honest expressions in portraits. It's extremely easy to tell if a model is uncomfortable in a photograph. If you look at someone's work and see this often, I'd consider reevaluating collaborating with that person. Might have a blog post on that fact in the future. Now I'm off topic.

Back to Alex and our story. So back then I had little idea what I was doing shooting with people. I had only started the previous year and all of my work was literally a white backdrop with straight on the nose flash. Very original. Someone awful and very famous only shoots in this style too (take a guess). My first shoot with Alex I decided to do something drastically different, so I moved my flash over to the side a little bit. Who knew this would change the world? I'm fairly certain she was the first person I tried this with and it turned out leagues ahead of my previous work. It was either my genius or Alex's effortless talent in front of the camera that achieved this. I reckon we'll go with her on that one. 

Needless to say, the shots we came up with that first meeting were my absolute favorite at the time. Below are a few of them. 

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So we clicked pretty well. I liked the photos. She liked the photos. Naturally we ended up working together again. In fact, it was only a few months later. By this point we were completely cool around each other which made me comfortable with experimenting with new styles.

Our second shoot was once again in my living room studio, but this time I really broke through the mold by shooting natural light indoors. Alex was the first model I tried this with. Notice a trend? Here's some from that day.

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Now that I had discovered this beautiful new thing called natural light, I wanted to sample it in new and unexplored places! Who better to explore this with than Alex? Easy. No one.

A month passes and we decided to shoot again. This time we made use of the rest of the house. Alex sat on a washing machine, laid on bare wood floors, and ventured bravely into the decrepit basement. 

At this point I began to notice that Alex had a magical way of adapting her pose and expressions to match the environment. She perfectly embodies the mood I strive for in the majority of my work without any direction on my end.

Here's shoot three.

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I'm going back through all these images as I'm writing this and beginning to realize both the extensive catalogue of work we have and the profound influence she's had on my photography as a whole. Makes me wonder if my knowledge and style would have progressed differently had we not met three years back. Also makes me think this should be a two part post or this is going to be stupid long.

So yeah, I'm going to stop it here for now. Part two to come soon: Alex Strikes Back.

TL;DR - Alex rules. My work would still suck without her. 

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