Alexandro Pelaez: “Londoners and their Environments” A New Solo Show Opens in Piccadilly Late May
Alexandro Pelaez, a Venezuelan photographer based in London, has developed two new series of work based on Londoners: be it as their professional environments surrounded by the tools used on their trade; be it as locations they may cross on their way to work as landmarks. Alexandro, within the Magic Realism narrative, like the Literature Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, invites the viewer to discover the magic, the unique, the unparalleled beauty, that reveals itself on our daily lives when we pause and look closer. A cornucopia of nationalities, and talent, unravels a journey that shows that London is a city, the Rome of today, like no other. A place that deserved a Biography, written by Peter Ackroyd, as a fearless animal constantly on the move. Alexandro achieves to reflect that special feeling when you inhabit this hub of ideas.
The exhibition will take place at the Herrick Gallery, Mayfair branch, 93 Piccadilly, W1J 7NQ, from the 29th of May to the 10th of June. For those who cannot wait, this is the digital version of the catalogue here. An exhibition that I highly recommend because it represents what it is being a Londoner in the current times. A series of narratives that document a city one of a kind.
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Recently, Alexandro received the Finalist Award by the Fine Art Photography Awards for both categories of People and Street Photography; two Honourable Mentions by International Photographer of the Year for both categories of Fine Art: Conceptual and People: Portrait; An Honourable Mention by Density Neutral Photography Awards for the category Fine Art: Conceptual. In 2017, Alexandro received the Highly Commended Award with the “LONDONERS” series at the ACCI in California and by the London Photographic Association in 2014 for his “HEROES & VILLAINS”.
As Mara Alves, the curator of this exhibition, says:
“Alexandro Pelaez’s body of works, presented for the first time at this solo exhibition, captures the distinctive environments, and its inhabitants, that are unique to London. The artist reveals the fascination of a city that is constantly breathing from its changing layers of multicultural rhythms”.
Claire Meadows, editor in chief and founder of After Nyne, adds:
“Alexandro Pelaez’s work offers a rich and vibrant view of London as a 24-hour city that never sleeps”.
You can listen to the podcast interview conducted by Meadows on Pelaez and Alves here.
Alexandro responds to the following questions:
1.Where did you get the inspiration to develop the series based on London and its inhabitants?
I got the inspiration for the “Londoners” series after working for 5 years on one of my projects called: “Heroes & Villains” (won the Highly Commended Award by the “London Photographic Association” in 2014 and was also published in the “London Independent Photography” Magazine and in the “Artefacto” Magazine in Venezuela) which was a series of portraits of the heroes and villains I grew up reading on comic books and watching at the cinema and in television series. Keep in mind that my models back then where action figures and collective models, so I wanted to challenge myself and do the same but only this time with real people or the “real heroes”. In this case for me are the Londoners who live and work in one of the most if not the most cosmopolitan and challenging city in the world.
The inspiration for the city pictures came actually in a very natural way. Since the cameras and lenses that I use in the studio are big and heavy I wanted to get a small camera and easy to carry with me for my everyday and take pictures of my whereabouts or surroundings. So I got a small 35mm film camera which I could also apply the multiple exposure technique that I was already using on my portrait series. After shooting everyday for a couple of years with my film camera, I started noticing the develop of a series of street photos that related very much with my “Londoners” series… after all, I am also a Londoner.
2. Your photographs consist of layers of information. What is your process when deciding what to include and what to leave out?
With my “Londoners” series, before I take the portrait of someone I like to get to know a bit of the person before, so I research what it is that they do for work. That way I can ask some of them to bring their working tools with them when they come to the studio. I also like to chat with them 20–30 minutes when they arrive to the studio just to have a good overall idea about them. This then helps me to get ideas of what images I would like to use on their portraits. Since my portraits are very technical and consist of a series of layers, is very important for me to use the key tools and images that are related to their profession. Each profession is a challenge to portrait, for example from an actor that doesn’t uses working tools to a jewellery designer that uses various tools. For some it can be two frames in one, for others it can even be five frames in one. Each profession is a challenge to portrait but the important thing is to keep it simple but not too obvious of course.
As for the city series, I only have two frame in one so what I do is to try to get the essence of that specific area of the city or in some of my pictures I even mix two different zones of the city. I like to capture the traffic, the red double decker buses, the black cabs, the cyclists, the Londoners on their way to and leaving from work, the tourists, the overall energy and colour that this great metropolis city gives everyday. London might be known around the world as a very cold and grey city because of it’s weather but is the people… the Londoners that warms and colours it.
For more information about the exhibition, please visit the Herrick Gallery’s website on http://www.herrickgallery.com/alexandro-pelaez-1
After Nyne Magazine in Conversation with Alexandro Pelaez & Mara Alves will take place at the Herrick Gallery on June the 6th at 6.45pm. The event is free, but ticketed. You can book your space via eventbrite here.
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