Photography / Rising Photographers

Confidence shoots: decoding body image one click at a time

"I am fascinated by people, so if I can capture even a little bit of who they really are, or an authentic moment then I think I’m on the right track."

Alex Cameron fell in love with photography after a rough time at University. “My time at uni was always a little frustrating, all I wanted to do was create and I thought that was the best part of going to university, to be surrounded by likeminded people, but I found I wasn’t.

“In my final year I bought my first DSLR and started to take photos and became immersed in the online photography community, it was my own way of being about to create with others that were passionate too,” she explains.

Thanks to social media, she has been able to capture many people who she admires, including Russell Brand and First Aid Kit but, as Alex explains, it’s not about fame or who you shoot. “Photographers and artists and poets and writers… If they have reached me or touched me in some way, then all I want to do is capture them.”

Get to know Alex as she talks to us through her photography style, the power of social media and the impact her confidence shoots have had so far…

How did you get started and what led you to photography?

I studied film at college and University but during my final year at uni I became obsessed with websites like Flickr and Deviant Art, I just loved the way these photographers I followed would capture a scene. My time at uni was always a little frustrating, all I wanted to do was create and I thought that was the best part of going to university, to be surrounded by likeminded people, but I found I wasn’t. So, in my final year I bought my first DSLR and started to take photos and became immersed in the online photography community, it was my own way of being about to create with others that were passionate too.

How would you describe your photography?

For a long time, I didn’t think I had a definitive style, I think now I have developed one, there is a rawness and dustiness to my photos. I’m not entirely in love with the fact I have a style because I actually adore so many genres and different styles of photography, I don’t like the idea of putting myself in a box. I like playing with strength, fragility and vulnerability. I think showing our vulnerable side is our biggest strength. Ultimately, I am fascinated by people, so if I can capture even a little bit of who they really are, or an authentic moment then I think I’m on the right track.

Some of my favourite photos you took are from your confidence shoots. How did the idea come about?

About 5 years ago a friend approached me asking if I would take photo of her naked, she had been on a journey with her body and wanted to capture where she was and who she was now… I jumped at the chance. I really love skin, when you strip back the frills, the clothes and jewellery, the person remains, and I think, especially for women, that baring your naked self is beautiful and raw and powerful. It’s not about displaying yourself for sexual interest or being provocative, it’s about being vulnerable.

What sort of response did the confidence shoots get both online and offline?

The semi steady stream of emails I get from women who want to book a confidence shoots speaks volumes, it really shows that we live in a time when the world says we’re not enough, and I’m just out here to help as many women as I can know that they absolutely are enough. The social media age doesn’t help in a lot of ways because of this need to promote a perfect life and show our best selves, but I also think the online world is shifting and there is a lot more acceptance out there when you look for it.

What do you hope to communicate to people through your work?

Now that Instagram is my main social media sharing platform, I have tried to remind myself that it is mine. It’s hard to navigate in the online world on not feel an urge to conform, to show the best bits and feel the pressure to post and keep relevant, but last year I decided that my Instagram was my little place on the internet, and I wanted to make it mine, to feel freedom to post what I wanted and to share my thoughts… So I did! So, I take photos with messages behind them and I accompany those photos with my words. I want to share, it’s in my nature, and it’s also in my nature to be truthful, so I try and do that, both through my photography and with my words.

How has social media affected or changed photography for you?

Social media is a mind field, the pressure of posting and pleasing people is a tough thing to ignore, but the biggest things social media had done for me is, one, connect me with amazing people and two, helped me get work. I’ve had some truly bizarre moments online, and I guess a big goal of mine in photography is purely just to capture people I admire, which fortunately social media has done for me. I found myself being able to shoot Russell Brand and First Aid Kit, as well as so many other people who may not be as known but thrilled me to be able to connect to and capture. As damaging as social media can be in ways, it has also been a place of safety, of therapy, of connecting and wild opportunity. I think if you use social media your way, then it can change the game, both personally and professionally.

Are there any people you’d love to shoot?

Dangerous question to ask any photographer, because the answer is absolutely yes! Photographers and artists and poets and writers… If they have reached me or touched me in some way, then all I want to do is capture them. I’m not fame hungry, it’s more than that, so much more. It’s not about being around someone ‘famous’, it’s about the urge to say, ‘your art said something to me and I really want you to know.’

What are you working on at the moment? Any upcoming project?

Nothing specific, I’m not really a goal-oriented person, I just love to take photos, so wherever that may take me, I’m just happy to follow. I am hoping for some more confidence workshops though so watch this space.

Any final words?

That’s a tough one, I am a woman with many (maybe way too many) words. But I might as well leave you with my favourite quote… ‘decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.’

Follow Alex on Instagram here and check out more of her work on www.alexandracameron.co.uk

31 July 2019