Anna Alexander, Director of Photography at WIRED

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Anna Alexander: As a teenager, I had a magazine obsession like anyone else, but I was not the girl who thumbed through every monthly fashion magazine of her mother’s. I know that’s a shock for anybody who knows me now (that’s sarcasm if you don’t know me). Fashion is not what drove me to loving magazines. I liked portraiture.  I loved portraiture. Beautiful, black and white editorial portraiture.

My aunt JoJo had a gigantic collection of Interview magazines dating back to when it was first released. Whenever I went over to visit, I would dive into them. I started to visit her just for the Interview magazines and she caught on. Aunt JoJo gave me every single issue of her entire stash. Should I keep them precious and in plastic sleeves forever? Hell no. I ripped them all up and plastered them all over my wall (see below). Other teens had The Sex Pistols & U2 on their wall but I had Greg Gorman and Barry McKinley.

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SPD: What year?

SPD:What were you up to?
[I was a] teen artist sulking & hating the world most likely.

SPD: What magazine?

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SPD: What was it that so enthralled you?
My reasons for loving Interview were not because of its famous pop-art creator, but because it was strictly Q&A’s and the only editorial art that came with each story was a portrait.  I knew back then that I had to have a career in photography but I knew that I did not want to be a photographer. I had to be involved with making magazines and making portraiture.

SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were?
AA: Andy Warhol
(though Publisher) and Richard Bernstein (did the iconic painted on photo covers), also the photographers who they used.


SPD: How does that inform your creative now?
Having had a love for Interview magazine helps me now because I strive to commission artists who want to make an iconic photograph. Not just a close-up black & white headshot, but something that is meaningful on its own, without the support of a hed & dek or caption. It’s quite difficult to get that kind of result with WIRED subjects, but you always have to believe that a meaningful portrait can be accomplished under any situation.

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