Behind the Camera: Alexander Mourant

Conversation with Alexander Mourant

We asked five emerging photographers around the world to share their vision with us. Meet Alexander Mourant.

Raised on the small Channel Island of Jersey, London-based artist Alexander Mourant (b. 1994, UK) is drawn to the friction between interior and exterior worlds, as well as photography’s power to represent existential ideas.

For his recent Aomori series, Mourant captured the blue depths of Japan’s ancestral forests with a lens filter developed specifically for the project.

 

Why do you photograph?

I’m interested in the process of photography to understand, visualize and explain my ideas. My practice is concerned with the metaphysical nature of photography. With a somewhat autobiographical impetus, the work is created to process and examine our relationship to experience. Although my photographs are saturated with time – organics, rock strata, waterfalls, rivers – there is a certain atmosphere, an aura around the image, which actively presents a psychological space, devoid of any linear notion of time. This intangible enigma envelops, engages and almost demands contemplation. By referring to metaphysical writing, art history, and the imagination, it is the ambition of these photographs to defy their restraints, bringing us into a reality of a perpetual experience.

 

How important is it for a photographer to « connect » with his subjects to bring out their true self?

This is a difficult one to answer, it depends whether you believe ‘true self’ can be portrayed in a photograph. To approach this from another position, I’d say it’s incredibly important for a photographer to deeply understand how and why they are photographing. Photographs are in abundance and connection with subjects is rare. It is very apparent when a photographer does truly connect.

 

What motivates u to continue taking pictures politically, intellectually & emotionally?

I am motivated intellectually and emotionally. However, I do appreciate politically engaged work. I am fascinated by pictures that suggest, reveal or elude to another way of seeing. I hope the pictures I make convey this curiosity. There is also a catharsis to photography. I believe a photographer is lying if they say otherwise. The act of photographing is itself paradoxical; simultaneously you contain a moment of time, whilst continuing, internally, with your own ideas and self-belief. Daidō Moriyama has expressed this idea better than anyone: “By the existence of the camera, I try to burn myself, and by burning myself I have to change myself. I think that’s it.”

 

 

Among your works, which one is your favorite? why?

I don’t have an overall favorite image. I tend to have one image from a project which initially triggers or represents my idea successfully, in a visceral way, which I would consider a favorite for just that reason. They are often the first embodiment of an idea. In Aomori, my favorite would be Blue Tree.

Do u find yourself always looking at the world wondering how it would look as a photograph?

Yes, it is innate. We live in an image world. We consume images insatiably, often without realizing. When this content coalesces inside a mind with a proclivity to create, we cannot help but see the possibilities which surround us. 

 

@alexandermourant