Alex Lake


Alex Strohl
Los Angeles, CA | Vancouver, BC
Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Bronica RF45

You obviously travel quite extensively. Which place would you say has inspired you to develop your point of view as a visual story teller?

It was a trip to Iceland in 2012 that really made me realize that there was just too much out there to see and experience. We just rented a 4x4 and spent 10 days wandering about the island without a precise itinerary. Back then our trips where more spontaneous but I always try to leave a few aspects of travel to just “luck".

Please tell us a bit about your involvement in the Alberta 1×1 campaign for Travel Alberta? How did this come about and where has this taken you as a photographer?

We wanted it to feel authentic and organic, like a week-long trip with friends. Another thing we had to keep in mind was the attitude and character of each individual, since we were going to be traveling together for eight days! We also looked closely at the quality, consistency, and tone of their photographs, plus their aptitude to travel and be part of a group. As for the itinerary, we closely worked with ExploreCanada and Travel Alberta to create a flexible road map that would generate a large number of photo opportunities.

At the outset, we were all a little worried about ending up with the same shots at each location, but as the trip unfolded, we all relaxed and everyone did their thing. There was also a strong creative energy that kept us inspired throughout the trip. There were many moments when someone would literally jump out of their seat after seeing something they liked, excitedly asking the driver to stop for a few snaps. It was also fun to share knowledge between us — we all have different methods of scouting, shooting and editing. We all picked up some new tricks and techniques, simply by watching each other work.

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In the current issue of Q Magazine you’ll find my portrait of Professor Brian Cox.

This was such a satisfying shoot to do. I thrashed out the concept of Brian sat at a table looking at a space shuttle mid-launch with Russ, Q Magazines Picture Director the day before the shoot. The thought of doing this as a digital comp just felt naff to us so as ever I suggested and promised to pull of an idea that I had no real clue how best to achieve. (Russ is used to this…)

All we were certain of was that we wanted this shot to all happen in camera. No digital trickery or retouching and apart from having to retouch out the Magic Arm that was holding the model shuttle aloft (the small room wouldn’t allow me to position it in such a way as to hide it) we achieved our objective.

Everything was done in camera.

I built and painted the model shuttle through the night and heart in mouth made the ‘take-off’ smoke cloud in the morning before the shoot drawing on my complete ignorance of basic electrical wiring and hoping my death trap of a setup didn’t electrocute Brian halfway through the shoot. When I switched on the smoke model for the first time I was so pleased and had high hopes it was going to be a good one.

Anyway, after about 18 hours of solid work to build it we had the shot nailed in about ten minutes. Brian enjoyed it and for my part, in recent years this portrait is a personal highlight.

(behind-the-scene photo © Russ O'Connell)