The Lancaster-based photographer snaps iconic images from the American terrain along Route 66 and the Hollywood Hills
Lancaster PA native Alexandra Hartman has a true spirit for adventure and a passion for photography. Recently she embarked on a wild roadtrip across the US ranging to Yellowstone National Park to Bonnaroo to Route 66 and the Hollywood Hills. She has a very natural and smooth style and she goes with the flow, wherever it leads. Her stunning nature photography reminds you of Ansel Adams mixed with Alexander Supertramp, and in this interview we talk about LA vampires, art school, Holga cameras and travelling the world.
Dazed Digital: How was that roadtrip? Where did you go?
Alexandra Hartman: The trip was insane, it was a month of driving from PA to the West Coast and back... went to national parks, bonnaroo, castles in the Hollywood Hills. It was crazy.
DD: How was Bonnaroo?
Alexandra Hartman: Like a different world. there's good vibes everywhere, and non stop music and parties. The shows were incredible, and I somehow managed to make it through the whole time sober, just being there was euphoric though. There people running around with feathers in there hair and paint on their faces, girls without shirts, old hippies dancing around. The first day I saw some girl collapse next to me, that was pretty scary. There was also this gnarly mushroom water fountain that was so gross by the second day, dirt and mud and sweat, but everyone was dying to get under it and get away from the heat.
DD: What are you planning on doing in the future as a photographer?
Alexandra Hartman: I'm really excited to start learning alternative developing techniques. I'd love to merge photography and fine arts to come up with some mixed media creation. A lot of experimenting. I also want to start photographing people more often, my photography teacher last year said I could be really good but I have to "grow some balls first"... so I'm going to work on that.
DD: What did your photography teacher mean "grow some balls?"
Alexandra Hartman: I'm not entirely sure, but I think she means in the choices I make about what to shoot... I get kind of reserved with a camera instead of using it to my advantage. Everyone loves to have their picture taken but I get shy about doing it, I think she just wants me to overcome that and go for things.
DD: What's your camera set-up like?
Alexandra Hartman: I've got a Nikon N65 that i've had since my freshman year in high school. It's my main film camera and probably my favourite. I just got an Olympus Evolt 410 this summer that i'm in love with, I wasn't too sure about digital photography before this camera. I also have a Holga that i play around with, some of my favourite photos are from that little guy. It's super unpredictable, which is bad a lot of the time but when it's good, it's really great. All the photos have a really unique quality to them.
DD: What other visual artists are you into?
Alexandra Hartman: As far as photographers go, I love Ryan McGinley and Alison Scarpulla, and this past year I fell in love with Egon Schiele and Tracy Emin's drawings. I've always had a thing for impressionist artists too, who doesn't love a good Van Gogh though.
DD: Do you have any gallery exhibitions coming up?
Alexandra Hartman: I believe I'll be showing a few photos in the september first friday show at Splinter, the pop up gallery in Lancaster. That will be my first exhibition though.
DD: What can you tell me about those photos?
Alexandra Hartman: The photos are a collection of my life everyday. I have yet to have a real photo shoot, but I prefer it that way. I really enjoy documentary photography, because it allows you to change your viewers perspective and make them look at a real situation differently. Some of the photos have a sort of vintage quality to them, I'm a huge fan of the muted colours you get from old film photography, but while I wait for my film to expire, I have to fake it on Photoshop.
DD: Okay, where would you like to travel to next?
Alexandra Hartman: I want to go to South America and Africa! There is so much culture and life there. I really just want to vagabond around the world though. You should read this book - it's got so much good advice on how to go about doing it, and the realities of it all.
DD: Finally, what words of advice do you have for other photographers?
Alexandra Hartman: I'm in no position to be giving advice, ha, get back at me in a few years, then I'll see if I have any. For now I'm just trying to learn as much as I can, I guess the only thing I'd say is use all your resources to their full potential and take pictures as often as possible.