For thousands, New York City is called “home” by creatives who have flocked to the unofficial capital of the world just to get a chance at fulfilling their dreams. For Mexican-born, California-bred photographer Alejandro Garcia, this pilgrimage holds true. After completing his BA in Photography at the San Francisco Academy of Art University, Garcia made his way to the Big Apple to fulfill his “want for more.” For the past four years, the 29-year-old photographer has been honing in his craft as a freelancer in the concrete jungle while exploring his creativity to accomplish his goals. Possibly even that one aspiration of his that includes breaking into Gwen Stefani’s house to get the perfect shot.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to get a shot?
Well, it’s not really crazy; it was just that I had to wait a really long time, pretty much all day, to get a shot. After I got the shot, it was all worth it. It was when Miley Cyrus and Mike Will Made It were shooting a music video and I was the behind-the-scenes photographer. At the video shoot, there were just so many people around her and my job was to get shots of her. It was so hard. Later on in the day, I was hanging out in Mike Will’s dressing room and I guess he saw I was trying to get a photo of her and he was like, “Just hang out here and I’ll get Miley to come in.” It was just crazy because I had to wait all day.
Most memorable shoot?
Every shoot that I’ve done has always been good. I’ve never had a bad shoot. You know, there will be things that stick out like little details. Like, oh the clothing was really cool, the models and stylists were so much fun to work with, or there was crazy music, but it’s just little things that make everything stand out to me. I don’t really have a top favorite.
Where have we seen your work?
Fashion blogs, online magazines, Inked magazine, The Source. If you’re a fan of my work and you’re keeping up to date with what I’m doing, you can follow my work on Instagram (@thec00l) and see what I’m up to and see where my work is headed towards.
Who are some photographers that you admire?
David LaChapelle. I love his work. Much more his older stuff, not so much what he’s doing now. I love Cindy Sherman. She’s amazing at just taking pictures of her and making a career out of it. It’s like she’s the queen of selfies. Michael Thompson is amazing, as well. Richard Avedon. I feel like they are so good at creating a world and that world they’re going to capture though a photo…among all this chaos that they’ve created just to get this particular shot is amazing because you get so many different emotions and feelings. People look at art in so many different ways, but in their world, they’re creating something that they themselves came up with. For other people to interpret it as something else is pretty cool because…they wanted to create chaos within this space. So, thinking like that has helped me, in a sense, kind of create my own atmosphere, my own world in the space that I was able to work with.
What’s your ideal soundtrack for a shoot (to keep you moving)?
It would definitely have to be something upbeat. I feel like for any photo shoot, the music keeps the vibe going. It keeps you in the zone. Sometimes when I’m shooting, I love to listen to The Weekend because I just feel like his music is the same throughout the whole album. The mood doesn’t really change so you can work at a pace where you know you’re good. I want the make-up artist to do her thing, I want the stylist to take his time and do a good job, and when I’m shooting, I want to do a good job so I don’t want to rush anybody.
Top 5 dead, alive, or fictional: Who do you want to shoot?
Gwen Stefani is my number one. I love Gwen Stefani. James Dean. I love me some James Dean. And then, Cleo from Set It Off, Clint Eastwood, and Quentin Tarintino.
What would make you turn down a million dollar shoot?
I don’t want to turn down a million dollars! (Laughs) I guess, if I had a vision that I wanted to do with a huge publication and everything was great; we have a date, we have makeup, we have the whole crew. If the day of the shoot we have everything and something happens with the art director and he comes up to me saying, “Oh, so-and-so doesn’t like the idea. We want to change the whole thing.” If they tried to make it their own, I feel like I would feel some type of way because I would feel like I was being molded into what they want me to be. It’s like, I was supposedly hired because you guys liked my vision.
If it was guaranteed you would get it, which shot would you be willing to go to jail for?
Probably sneaking into Gwen Stefani’s mansion and photographing her while she’s sleeping. I just feel like if I’m going to sneak into her house, she would have to be sleeping so she doesn’t know I’m there and doesn’t call the cops. And then that photo could end up in Vanity Fair. It will be high fashion. But I’ll probably end up in jail and won’t get credit for the photo.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
The rawness of my work. It’s not make-believe. If I see somebody walking down the street and I take a photo of them, when I show it to people, I want them to be like, “Wow! You took this? You made them look so good!” Yeah, because that’s how they look. I’m not emphasizing anything. This is just me capturing a simple photo. Everyone is walking by this person, but nobody stops and focuses on just one subject. Everyone is so busy going to Point A and Point B. I feel like with my photos, I want people to take away the simplicity, but at the same time, the beauty of it.
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