Alexandra Valenti is more than just a photographer, she’s a visionary. She lends a generously artistic hand to her work, creating sinuous psychedelic images with her hand-painted illustrations that mimic the natural shapes of her photos. The creative mind behind the photography and art of our Sun Baked summer editorial took some time to tell us about her crazy on-set shenanigans and her first time behind the lens.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Alexandra Valenti and I’m from Austin, Texas.
East Coast Vs. West Coast?
Well, that’s a tough one. I have lived on both coasts. Now that I live in the middle [in Austin], I can love them both equally (although I spend more time in working in California). I spent some very, special formative balls-to-the-wall years in New York & Washington DC. So the East Coast holds a poignant place in my heart. But I love shooting in California; it’s hard to beat those landscapes. It’s endlessly inspiring. What can I say? I can’t choose.
Tell us about your very first encounter with a camera.
It was a Polaroid sx-70 when I was a kid. I still have my very first self-portrait. I’m wearing denim and holding a dog; I swear, not much has changed.
Craziest on-set moment to date?
Oh shoot, there are a few-- one of which is not that appropriate. But, suffice to say, we were shooting in Texas, outside of Fredericksburg at a place called Enchanted Rock. And well, I wasn’t feeling well.
So I had to find a place to, you know, relieve myself, on the side of this giant open rock with limited shade, if you catch my drift. When 300 school kids on a school trip start hauling ass up the mountain… yeah, that was humbling.
Who is your current muse?
Oh, I have so many. It’s like choosing between children; I love them all and they all inspire me. That may sound too diplomatic. but it’s really the truth.
Favorite scenic views on the West Coast?
Avenue of the Giants, Big Sur, and the streets of San Francisco.
What is currently inspiring your aesthetic?
Textiles, wallpaper and stoneware pottery from all eras. I kind of want to become a textiles designer or a potter.
What are you most looking forward to this Summer?
A trip to upstate New York with my man over July 4th. I’m scheming a trip to Iceland, Sweden and Norway.