“I never actually considered using any other medium. Photography just seemed to stick,” explains British photographer Alex Lockett. Initially using the camera as a teenager to document the tricks his friends were doing on their skateboards, Alex soon progressed to taking the same friends’ portraits, from which “more elaborate ideas” began to develop. Now, having recently moved back to London after a five-year stint in New York City, Alex’s portfolio has evolved into one packed with narrative, each series constructing a world entirely different from the last.
Whether working on documentary or fictional work, storytelling is at the heart of Alex’s work, a fact that’s evident across his two series An Evening With and Arizona Moments. “Both were essentially exploring the theme of the family experience in some way,” Alex tells It’s Nice That of a concept with has provided a visual motif for much of his work. “I’ve always been fascinated by formal religious families that exist in communities on the fringes of contemporary life,” he adds.
In An Evening With he explored this premise by creating his own, fictitious family that exist in their own composed and obsessively ordered space. “It’s like a day in the life of this family, as they prepare for an evening together,” he explains. Incredibly stylised and with a consistent palette of blue, red and brown, the images are convincing in their portrayal of Alex’s constructed scenario. Tranquil to the point of being almost sinister, the series also demonstrates his love of artist Agnes Martin’s work. “Over the last few years, I have become fascinated by [her] work. I find it very calming and feel like I end up bringing some of that into what I do,” he adds.
Although An Evening With exhibits Alex’s use of storyboarding and planning, Arizona Moments is exemplary of the other side of his practice. “When it comes to more documentary driven work like Arizona Moments, I approach it a bit differently,” he remarks, “I still stage some shots, but I will also go out with a specific sentiment in the back of my mind and try and allow my eye to hone in on the feeling I’m looking for.”
Shot in the US state best known for the Grand Canyon, it explores Alex’s fascination with family dynamics on a more direct and emotional level. “The project came about after many years of visiting my mum who moved there when I was a teenager,” he outlines. “Though Arizona has been a second home to me, its otherworldly landscape has always been an unfamiliar contrast to the industrial British town I grew up in, and I wanted to explore this notion organically.” As a result, the series straddles both familiarity and the unknown, Alex’s position as a photographer feeling both distant and included.
Whatever the context, Alex “leans towards finding a sense of order in my images; either through a very considered use of colour, or by using lots of empty with a centrally composed focus,” he explains, adding that, “For some reason, I feel like I am always centrally composing things.”
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