London based photographer Alex De Mora latest shoot involved over 60-year-old models, tracksuits and a lot of bling. His editorial and commercial work is extensive in publications like VICE and i-D. We talked to Alex about what inspires him and found out that he loves cats and the Chelsea Football Club.
How did you end up being a photographer?
Since my early teens, all I wanted to do was play drums and as everyone does, I moved to London to chase my dream. For various reasons, music didn’t really work out, so I had a rethink. At the time, I studied in Bristol and had done a module in photography, so I thought why not give that a go. Then, I took a camera along to some VICE parties and it all went from there.
Any photographer you draw inspiration from?
Juergen Teller is a big inspiration to me, and his work drew me towards fashion photography. I love the sense of humor in his photos. He made me realize that fashion doesn’t have to be stuck up and glossy, but can be fun and honest.
On another subject, why do you love cats so much?
I love cats and live with four of them. My cat Lenny is the coolest and cutest cat you’ll ever see. Cats are free spirits and their simple lives help to keep me sane. I used to take so many cat photos that I ran a cat photo-blog called Cat Party with over 100 contributors, then I realized I should probably spend more time trying to earn some money.
That’s true love for cats! And now, on your latest shoot you decided to go for models over 60 in tracksuits. How did you come up with this idea?
The original inspiration of that shoot came from taking personal photos of my 92-year-old grandma. She showed such a strong personality in the photos, that I thought why not pitch an editorial idea using models that were all over 60 years old.
How were they different from a professional model?
I guess the main difference was that for most of them, taking part in the photo shoot was a way of discovering new things about themselves. It felt more personal although each person couldn’t have been any more professional and friendly.
They do seem really comfortable. So, what’s a good line to break the ice with your subjects?
Every situation is so different that there can’t be a specific line. If someone seems like they are going to shy or difficult, then I’ll probably just tell bad jokes and try to make people smile – immaturity is a great icebreaker.
Are you the kind of photographer that carries his camera everywhere?
I always have a little 35mm point and shoot on me, although that’s more for personal stuff. The busier I’ve become with photography, the more I’ve got used to carrying a heavy bag of equipment as part my daily life.
What’s a place you always like shooting in nature?
I grew up in Wiltshire (UK) and did a lot of exploring in Grovely Wood as a kid, so I guess I’m immediately drawn back to there. It’s a beautiful but quite eerie place. Also, the desert in Joshua Tree, California always blows me away. I’ve been there twice and I’m going back later this year. It’s the complete opposite of what I am used to – it feels like being on the moon, a really hot moon. As much as I love the energy of big cities, escaping to open spaces can really help regain perspective.
Film or digital?
I shoot both depending on which suits the job best – I’m no purist. I feel like there’s some people out there that only shoot film because it’s “cool”, but they are actually terrible photographers. Sometimes you can't beat the colors and tones that you get with film, but other times you can’t beat the editing capabilities and accessibility of digital.
Apart from photography, what else do you like doing?
If I’m not at home listening to techno with my cat, then I love to travel with my girlfriend. I also have a pretty unhealthy obsession with Chelsea Football Club.
Article by: Laura Rodriguez Castro