Heavily influenced by the simple squares – bold colors and patterns of Modernism – with artists such as Piet Mondrian for inspiration – Alejandro Montaño has learned to trust his eye and discovered how to express his view of the spaces – shapes – Light and shadows around him. Often exploring for hours before capturing the image or feel he set out for.
Ryan: How did you discover Photography?
Alejandro: As a child I was always trying to snag the camcorders at family gatherings and record with them. My early fascination with recording developed into a minor obsession with disposable cameras. My mother, although always supportive, would get upset because I was constantly asking for another camera. It got a little expensive.
[He said with a smile. I could see it was a fond memory for him.]
Did you go to school for Photography?
I did, yeah. Actually, I didn’t know at the time but I was learning a lot of basic techniques with the disposables. My first official class was as a senior in high school. It was a graphics arts course where I learned the process of developing and rolling my own film. It was cool. Then in 2012 I graduated from Sacramento State with a Bachelor’s degree in photography.
Let’s talk about your upcoming show “Shapes and Shadows” your first solo exhibition. What was your inspiration?
My motivation to do this show actually grew out of my last series “Summer Days”. My wife, Mollee, bought me a Holga lens attachment for my digital camera. I went day in and day out all summer – shooting and experimenting. I wanted to see how much was possible with that lens in a digital format.
Can you explain the Holga lens?
It’s a plastic lens. I actually had a 2000 Holga 120 camera when Mollee bought me the attachment but the camera is limiting because you only get 12 shots per $8.00 roll. You can shoot a whole roll and be lucky to get one useable shot. When I put the lens on my Digital camera I was able to get the same effect of light aberration and aging with the added benefit of knowing immediately if I got the shot I wanted.
Would you say “Shapes and Shadows” has been a common thread throughout your work?
Yeah. I’ve always been into the way light falls onto everything –affecting it and changing moods. I feel I’m always rediscovering it. How it moves… How it manipulates.
Do you remember when you started referring to yourself as a photographer? Was it weird at first?
Definitely weird at first. In college I remember thinking; ‘Am I a photographer? I don’t Know’.
After I graduated I spent six months shooting my bathroom. Every day, around three, sunlight would cascade through the window creating great feel and shadows. I shoot that bathroom for six months and at the end of it I thought; ‘Ok. I’m still with this. I’m a photographer.’
I loved the shot of the bathtub from your “Bathroom” series – a modern room with a timeless feel. It’s a great shot – Nice work! [Image 5]
When Alejandro isn’t teaching history or raising the baby He and Mollee are expecting in July he can be found behind the lens – Capturing Memories and relaying how he sees the world around us.
For purchasing, commissions, or assignment information – Email Alejandro Montaño