“As a Texan living in London I could easily say that it was the fabulous characteristically cold and wet weather that brought me to the United Kingdom,” laughs photographer Alejandro Herrera. “While that bit is true to an extent–especially when you’ve grown up in a place that is 38c+ degrees all year round–it was the world of Fashion that made me make the move in the fall of 2021. London to me is the new Fashion capital of the world and I wanted to live in that world.”
Alejandro, as you may have guessed is an American photographer living in London. He is also a gentleman, with a flair for fashion, who was enticed to the UK, by the glamour of the big smoke to move to the UK. For him, London is a city that has offered a natural transition into the world of fashion and editorial photography where he now spends most of his time collaborating with talented creatives around the world. Alejandro’s affinity to help new talent build a portfolio has been one of his signature differentiators in the industry.
He also happens to have a penchant for street photography and is rarely without one of his beloved Leica’s. He is attracted by the emotive and creative side of photography and believes that is exactly what makes it so powerful as an art form. And the key to learning photography? “Be open about it and connect with people who can help you get better – shoot, shoot and shoot.”
It was a pleasure to sit down with Alejandro as we spoke about his style of photography, why he is searching for his very own Kate Moss, and what inspired him to become a photographer.
this emotional and creative state of mind is what makes photography so powerful
I’ve always been interested in motion pictures and more specifically in the way principal photography works. I am the type of person that could watch a movie and focus only on the technicalities instead of the plot: colour grading; scene lightning; props; camera angles and movement – and the emotions these created. It was this creative interest–using the pandemic as a catalyst–that inspired me to become a full-time photographer in 2019.
I believe that photography forces you to intently observe the world around you. Let me illustrate with an example. Imagine that you were to travel somewhere you have never been before; you go from landing in this new exciting destination to now standing in the most visually-busy spot in the city: let’s say a market or the city centre. Without a camera in hand you are most likely to immediately start scanning your surroundings–to look around–ingesting as much visual information as possible; basically, you would enjoy the moment and the view.
Conversely, if you had a camera in hand–let’s pretend you are a photographer for the purpose of this example –you would undoubtedly scan the area quicker in order to start observing: who is doing what, where is the best light, who’s wearing something memorable, are there repetition patterns available, what could happen that might never happen again – to me, this emotional and creative state of mind is what makes photography so powerful.
I remain truthful to my style: minimum base to no make-up at all, I want to photograph who you really are
I love realness and natural beauty – in all of its definitions. I believe that people deserve to be represented, photographed and empowered in their own natural beauty. Therefore in a world filled with photography filters and AI alterations, I remain truthful to my style: minimum base to no make-up at all, I want to photograph who you really are.
I have been using Leica cameras for a couple of years now. I started with a Leica Q2 which I mainly used for street photography but I recently switched to the new M11. The M11 is always with me, it has become my default camera for street and for travel; I appreciate the way in which the range-finder of the model M makes me work for my shots.
I think it’s important to remind your audience who might not be familiar with the Leica M cameras that these are cameras with manual focus – there is no “auto-focus” which could be a bit more complex for people new to photography. For all my studio work I use a Leica SL2-S with a variety of creative lenses: 28mm, 50mm, 90mm.
maybe someone out there is looking for her ‘Mario Testino’
My biggest challenge is that I haven’t made the Vogue roster yet! One of my most recent highlights is that I’ve moved into a new studio near Battersea Park, one with more space for creative productions and editorial work. Another personal milestone is that I recently received a Fashion Journalism certificate from the Condé Nast School of Fashion (no, I won’t become a writer.)
Photographers like Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh, and Joel Meyerowitz are a big source of inspiration. From fashion photography to street photography they have all influenced my decisions, style, and my ever-evolving approach to photography as a medium. Not long ago I made a post on my Instagram, something along the lines of “I’d like to find my Kate Moss just like Mario Testino did in the early 90s” and who knows, maybe someone out there is looking for her “Mario Testino” and serendipity might connect us both!
I am someone who is driven by intuition. I like to follow organic connections or emotional shutter snaps
Art is subjective and photography is Art. There will always be people who like or appreciate your work but also people who’re simply not into it: this is expected and it is OK. Shoot for you, for your customers, for the talent you work with, but most importantly shoot for your soul. If you want to learn photography, be open about it and connect with people who can help you get better – shoot, shoot and shoot.
When it comes to street photography, for me it works this way: grab your camera, go out on the streets, capture something candidly (or not) and you are officially a street photographer. Some respectable photographers believe that you must have a “project” – for example, you are looking for people wearing red hats; or perhaps you are looking for green buildings; whatever the case you only photograph subjects related to your project.
I just can’t follow this boxed structure. I am someone who is driven by intuition. I like to follow organic connections or emotional shutter snaps. For me a good street photography day starts early with a clear mind and the excitement of the unknown surprises of the day, but not before stopping for a delicious flat white.
Thank you very much to the gentleman that is Alejandro Herrera.
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