This summer, Alesha Christian won the 2017 Emerging Photography competition in partnership with the 508 Kings Road Chelsea gallery. Lucy Pike, head of photography at WeTransfer, selected Alesha’s piece, ‘Hidden Wonders’, to feature on their website this November. Read their interview below…
Head of Photography @ WeTransfer
It sounds like you love taking photographs of wildlife or landscapes, do you have a particular reason why that appeals to you so much?
Wildlife and landscapes vary greatly depending on the country you are in. I think I enjoy photographing these so much because it is all so different to what I am used to at home. It can be so beautiful and I believe that each person perceives it uniquely: capturing the beauty of wildlife or landscapes allows me to share the way I see with my friends and family.
What started your interest in photography?
I have always enjoyed taking pictures however I started to take it seriously during a safari in the Masaai Mara in October 2015. Thanks to our incredible guide my family and I were able to see the big 5 every day as well as so many other species that amaze me. Both the animals and the scenery fascinated me and taking pictures was the only way to share it with my friends and family back home. During the trip I talked to a photographer who encouraged me to be more involved with photography and I think that the tips and the compliments he gave me pushed me to continue and practise my photography.
When you first got your camera how did you try and practise/find your style?
My first camera was given to me as a present. It was a Canon SX60 and I still use it today. In fact, it was the camera I used to capture ‘Hidden Wonders’. I use my camera weekly as I have to combine studies, riding and photography. I have not yet found at 100% my style however I particularly enjoy equine photography and aspire to be like photographers such as Stephano Grasso and Jessica Rodriguez. I got into equine photography as I began to take pictures for my friends who also ride and compete: it became almost a daily activity as I lived within walking distance to the stables and took my camera with me for training and shortly after to competitions as well. I was recently hired to photograph the yard’s annual competition. Finding my style still is a challenge as I try to experience as much as I can with my camera: I was recently introduced to urbex and modelling photography. Landscape and wildlife photography is something I particularly enjoy, especially when I travel.
Can you tell me a bit more about equestrian photography? It's a topic I don't know much about - what kind of techniques do you have to use? What would be the ideal shot?
I don’t think there exists an ideal shot for equestrian photography as there are so many different disciplines that one can photograph. Each photographer also searches for different things in a shot, it’s hard to determine what an ideal shot would look like. Personally, as show jumping is my discipline, a good shot would be getting both the horse and the rider mid jump and one that shows how determined and focused the athletes are along with the energy projected whilst jumping the fences. The angle in which the picture is taken is really important and the height and width of the jump too as they also play an important role: the bigger the jump is, the more impressive it is. Of course, the surroundings are important to valorise the athletes. Horses are big, unpredictable animals, constantly moving around, so if you want to get a good shot you always have to be aware and ready to photograph them. You are going to want to work on the timing of the photograph and plan the shutter speed in advance if you want action shots, however if you want portraits or any other creative shot of the horse this won’t be vital and you can usually work with what you have.
What's the next step for you with photography?
Still being quite new to photography, there is still so much I need to learn. I intend to practise my photography skills alongside my university studies, and hopefully in a few years’ time I will have a clearer idea as to what I want to do. I have many dreams regarding photography, however my ultimate goal would either be to be an equine photographer for international show jumping events or to become a National Geographic photographer. Both will require so much time, money and effort that I am prepared to put in in order to achieve my goals.