Alexander Just is an active contributing photographer for The Show Last Night. But if you ask him what he photographs, he would call himself a portrait photographer. For this segment of Behind TSLN, I sat down with Alex to ask him a few questions about his venture with his own photography.
What motivated you to start shooting photos, and what urged you to want to do it for a living?
Initially I wasn’t into photography. I was originally into painting and drawing. I didn’t pick up a camera until high school. And when I did, I started enjoying it immediately. I was interested in the creative aspect, and how you can mix that with the technical portion to create an image. Photography is actually really technical. I actually got inspired by another professional to make it into a career. He came into one of my classes and spoke about the lifestyle he lived as a photographer. I’ve always taken away something from him. I now will only to do something I love for a living; and I found that in photography.
What have been your biggest challenges along the way?
Financial challenges have been the biggest. At one point I’ve actually been homeless while shooting photos and working. When I was into digital photography, it was still relatively new. A computer was required along with other equipment that wasn’t needed before. The other biggest challenges were gaining confidence in myself and what I was doing; along with realizing that if I wanted something enough, I could do it no matter what.
Have you experienced failure?
I experience failure every time I pick up a camera. I don’t use every photo that I take. Every photo that I don’t use in my mind is essentially a failure. Up until I get that one photo I need with a certain subject or client, everything before that is useless. After getting the image that I know I needed, I still try to improve and potentially take more to get even better photos. It’s all a part of the photography process.
What is some advise you would give to someone interested in photography, and who would potentially want to turn that into a career?
Dont expect it to just happen. It takes a lot of time to figure out what exactly you want to do. It’s hard to find your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to photography. When you start shooting photos, you may want to change your ideas of what you as you mature with your career. When I first started shooting photos, I wanted to be a wedding photographer. Now after I’ve shot over 100 weddings, I now know that I fucking hate it. Dabble in everything. Don’t focus on just one aspect.
What’s something you do now, that you wish you would have done sooner?
I wish I would have saved my money and bought exactly what I wanted. When I was starting, I couldn’t afford to purchase the camera equipment that I really wanted, so I just bought cheap alternatives. If I saved earlier, I would have had the equipment I have now, years ago. I just wish I wasn’t a foolish spender.
His work for The Show Last Night can be viewed here.