Words and Interview by Eva Davidová
The people who make up today’s thriving photographic community are our eyes to the world. Our eyes to other people. Whether established artists and journalists or passionate emerging voices, they inform us, they inspire us, they amaze us, they put our world in the broader context.
Alex Grace Jones is one of them. The way she speaks about photography and being a photographer radiates from her soul and her passion for her craft is intoxicating. She’s a busy bee that truly loves what she does. With her mother being an early influence, she has become an educator herself, obsessed with capturing life on 35mm film and teaching others the art of photography.
We asked her a couple questions:
How did you discover photography? What was your first photo shoot like?
My mum was a photographer whilst I was growing up and I use to assist her at weddings, she’d shoot the whole day on rolls on black and white 35mm and then we’d go home and develop them in our at-home darkroom. At the time I took little interest as I was set on being an actor and singer but whilst I was completing my final year of drama school I started shooting my housemates and friends in Birmingham and it went from there.
I had a blog when I was at drama school and one day asked my friend Nicole if we could go out and take some photos of me for my site. We did so but I was having one of those days where you feel shit about yourself and so I gave up trying to pose and we swapped so I was taking photos of her. I had taken photos before but on that day it was so clear to me I felt better on this side of the lens that that evening I started a photography Instagram account and turned it into my full-time job a couple of months later.
What camera do you currently love using?
The digital camera I use is the Canon 5D mark IV and 90% of my work is shot on a 24mm
- 70mm f2.8 lens. Then for my film work, I shoot on a Nikon F90X or my F4 with either a 50mm f1.8 or an 85mm lens f 1.8.
Describe a dream photoshoot you wish to have one day?
So to start with I’d be shooting the whole thing on film, and I’d be with either a single person or a couple who just wanted to capture this moment in time. I love working through briefs with clients and getting particular shots ticked off, but nowhere near as much as I enjoy just messing around and seeing what we create. Oh, and if we’re talking dream shoot, take all that and put us on a white sand beach with clear blue water at sunset.
“I’d like photography to go back to how it used to be when people took more time over having their image captured and it was seen as a rare and exciting occasion.”
What does nature mean to you and how does it inspire you?
I grew up in Sheffield right next to the Peak District and my family and I have always been pretty outdoorsy. I don’t think I realised how much nature-inspired me until I moved to London and had a real lack of vast open space. I like the freedom and flexibility that being immersed in nature allows. It’s so much less restrictive than shooting in the city centre between houses and shops.
In what ways do you bring out sensuality and the divine feminine in your work?
I’ve always been incredibly comfortable around sensuality and nudity, I grew up in the performing arts world so any sort of modesty soon disappears. I find it a massive compliment when people reach out to me wanting to do lingerie or nude shoots, firstly because I love capturing the female form and secondly because I get the opportunity to help someone feel great in their skin. I feel honoured when people trust me as an artist to capture them in a way that can aid empowerment for them and those who see the images.
When you search for inspiration where do you look?
I mean like everyone else I’m a massive Pinterest fan and have used it for years to find inspiration or ideas for shoots. However, I have a pretty hefty photography book collection and so I often just flick through their pages if I’m feeling stuck for inspiration.
Favourite book at the moment:
I’ll follow this on from the previous question and say my all-time favourite photography book is ‘A Different Vision on Fashion Photography’ By Peter Lindbergh.
If you were to describe yourself in three words, what would they be:
Driven, loving and positive.
“Whether or not someone is pretty doesn’t particularly translate to a photo, what translates is a person’s charisma, the way they hold themselves, the way they laugh.”
You work with many influencers…how would you describe a successful influencer in the current digital world?
I think the whole point of being a blogger or influencer is that you can grow a following around anything you want. Whatever you’re into there are people that are into the same stuff. I’ve worked with a vast range of influencers and I think the ones that are the most successful are the ones that know their niche and know what they’re strengths are and focus on that. That way people know when they click on their profiles what they’re going to get. I also think taking yourself and your business seriously. It’s still a very new thing making money from Instagram stories and a lot of people don’t understand the industry but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. If you don’t take yourself seriously how do you expect anyone else to?
How would you like photography to evolve in the future?
I’d actually like us to regress, I’d like photography to go back to how it used to be when people took more time over having their image captured and it was seen as a rare and exciting occasion. I’d like things and people to slow down and take the time to really assess how images make them feel and not just scroll on past without a second thought.
Whose work has influenced you the most?
Peter Lindbergh and David Bailey are my obvious go to’s. But I also love the work of Brydie Mack for the way she captures the female form. Phil Sharp for his incredible use of lighting in his portraits and Tom Mitchell for his 35mm work, and for the relaxed and effortless style he has across all his images.
What does beauty mean to you and how would you define it?
To me beauty is boring, it’s attraction I’m bothered about. There are plenty of pretty people and things out there, but are they interesting? Do you want to know more? Whether or not someone is pretty doesn’t particularly translate to a photo, what translates is a person’s charisma, the way they hold themselves, the way they laugh, the way they feel in front of a camera, that’s what makes a photo beautiful to look at.
Thank you Alex,