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Interview with Alter-View Photographer Vitaliy Raskalov

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Interview with Alter-View Photographer Vitaliy Raskalov

Vitaly Raskalov is a photographer, traveler, co-founder of On The Roofs and internet sensation, whose climb on the 650-meter-high Shanghai Tower gathered over 60 million views on YouTube. The young daredevil travels the world, scales head-spinning heights and recommends everyone to ditch “ your brilliant career and start living”. Vitaly talked to us about his start in photography, relativity of risk and his favorite cities.

Describe your path to becoming a photographer?

I got into photography 8 years ago. It all started when I bought my first camera and was curious about what photography was. This whole climbing thing came up later. At the beginning I would photograph pretty simple things, you know, what most people usually photograph. Then one day my friends brought me up to a roof and off I went.

When did photography cease being just a hobby and became something you’re doing for a living?

I don't really know, I think it’s been something I do for a living this whole time. I used to have occasional day jobs but never stopped making photographs. Maybe now I don’t focus on photography as much as I used to, but it’s still not only part of my job, bot my main hobby too.

Were there any photographers who influenced you?

There were people who inspired me, but none of them actually shaped my artistic views, meaning no one really gave advice of any kind. I’ve been on my own in my artistic journey.

What was your first photo-related job?

I can’t remember. I remember selling my photos for the first time. Then they started hiring me to do photo shoots, also I worked for different agencies, shooting things like architecture and factories. I even got invited to Kazan during the 2013 Summer Universiade to photograph the city from above. I think this was the first time someone paid me to do that.

What does it feel like to risk your life every time you climb on a roof?

It’s not like I particularly feel anything. It’s all part of my work routine. There are other risky situations in my life, which aren't in any way related to roof climbing.

How do your friends and family feel about what you do?

They are cool about it. I’ve been doing it for a while already and managed to explain that it’s just a job, like any other. Also, I’m not some sort of a reckless nutcase, I use my head while I’m there. It seems much more dangerous from the outside. Riding a motorbike brings much more danger, because during one day on a motorbike I encounter twice as many risky situations as I do during a year of roof climbing.

Where’s home?

Home is wherever my mom is. But if you’re talking about a particular location - I don’t think I have one.

What’s your favourite city?

There are a few cities I like: Hong Kong, New York, Moscow, Paris and Vienna. Hong Kong is the city I’m always happy to come back to; Moscow is pretty neat too, however, there’s no one particular city I can call my favourite.

What do you like about the cities?

I love their energy, that peculiar atmosphere and the way people live there.

How would you describe your style?

I don't think about it that much. I guess, like an impressionist painter, I just try to express something I feel through photography. There’s no hidden meaning in my works.

When you climb on a roof, do you have your shots planned out or does it just come to you?

Photography is not the first thing on my mind, because often just getting where we want to is a big deal. Images come later when I see the shot I want to take. I don't consider myself a great photographer, I simply do what I like.

Your advice to someone starting out?

Don’t listen to what others say, do what you like even if someone says your photos are bad, just keep going if that's what you like.

Why did you join Alter-View?

Micha Stroyev, who I knew prior to joining, invited me to join a great project, so I took it on board. For me, everything in life is as simple as that. When I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t, I do it.


To see more of Vitaliy's work go here:


To find out how the Alter-View team and Vitaliy can make your brand or product stand out with unique photos, contact us!

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Interview with Alter-View Photographer German Kholmov

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Interview with Alter-View Photographer German Kholmov

You’ve already seen his beautiful images, now it’s time to learn more about yet another member of Alter-View's stellar team. German Kholmov is a freelance photographer, traveler and digital marketer, who found photography by accident. Now he’s moving from one place to another in search of the perfect scenery to capture. When not chasing adventure German is based in Moscow, Russia.

Describe your path to becoming a photographer?

It all started because of my ex-girlfriend, who had a very peculiar taste in photography. She always managed to find a new perspective, saw the city in a way that was completely unfamiliar for me. It was fun to watch how she photographed architecture or did street photography, how she caught the right balance of light and shadow or how she played with colors. She’s the one who introduced me to mobile photography, after that I started treating Instagram differently and began using VSCO. I started by doing simple lifestyle photography and making photos of city architecture, but gradually, as I began to travel more, I moved to outdoor and landscape photography and that’s what I’m doing now.

Can we say your ex-girlfriend was the one who mentored you?

She’s definitely the one who inspired me and showed me how you can see the world through the eyes of the camera: no matter if it’s a professional camera or the one on your phone. It was all very intriguing, even though I’d never been that much into photography before - I mean, I always noticed beauty around me, but did nothing to capture it. So when she showed me that you can take your phone out of your pocket, take a snap and it would be something only you’ve just noticed, it blew my mind.

Are you a full-time photographer?

I have a day job and normally I photograph whenever I have time, meaning I don’t always carry a professional camera with me. But my iPhone is always with me and it really comes in handy when I need to capture the right moment.

Are there other photographers who inspire you?

There's Chris Burkard, who is from California. Chris owns a photography and production studio, and is constantly travelling. He’s literary always somewhere shooting magnificent outdoors, often on a commission by big brands. I love the way he sees nature and I like the way he edits his work. I think his entire crew works on the content:  he makes mind-blowing photos, then communicates his vision to his team and they together create those beautiful images we see. There’s also Alex Strohl, yet another amazing person with outdoor-focused photography. He travels with his girlfriend and collaborates with Land Rover and sport brands. Needless to say, the places he explores and the content he creates is very inspiring.

Travel photography may be risky, how do you deal with that?

Yes, it gets risky at times: you may have to get to places people normally don’t go to, climb a mountain, photograph with your feet dangling off a cliff. Sometimes you have to sacrifice comfort for the sake of a great image, as all those self-planned trips are quite unpredictable - you might have to sleep in a car or take an ice-cold shower outside. But this is all part of an adventure and you just accept it, although some people might call them health and safety hazards. But I try to rely on my gut feeling, know when to push my limits and do some crazy things when I have to.

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

Yes they are, especially my sister, my mom just says that pictures are beautiful. But my sister really likes what I do, and so are my friends.

How would you describe your photography?

My photography is all about the outdoors: lesser-known and difficult to reach places. I’m inspired by the picture I see at the present moment, so I just take whatever camera I have on me and capture it.

So how do you photograph popular and much photographed places?

It all depends on a place: there are certain angles most people use to photograph popular places. For example the Neuschwanstein Castle is mostly photographed from the suspension bridge, but if you go a little further there is a narrow mountain path, that you basically have to climb on, and from there you can get a fantastic view.  So I’d rather do that, than make the same pictures everyone else does. I always research the location beforehand, walk around there for some time to choose the right angle and find the best perspective.

Your advice to a beginner photographer?

Try everything: do as many pictures as you can. This is the only way to find your style and develop your artistic taste. Don’t focus on existing patterns or popular styles and try to find your own voice.

Why did you join Alter-View?

I think it’s a very promising project. I like this whole community story - photographers working in a group, creating content, driven by individual uniqueness of every member. Created in this manner, content will be more comprehensive and informative, because you can make the most of such projects, unlike when you travel alone.  Even if you look at our project with Osprey, you’ll see that we all made different photographs: everyone sees the same things in a unique way - other angles, light, compositions - we’re all different even though we’re in the same community. I think it gives this fantastic opportunity to tell better stories that customers can relate to.

To see more of German's work go here:


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Interview with Alter-View Photographer James E Harvey-Kelly

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Interview with Alter-View Photographer James E Harvey-Kelly

The Alter-View team is growing with wickedly talented people and today we are psyched to welcome a new photographer to our team: James E Harvey-Kelly, a London-based photographer and fashion designer. Although photography has been his lifelong passion, James started out in fashion as a designer and creative director for menswear brands. In 2015 he decided to ditch his fashion career to follow his dreams of being a full-time photographer, and it worked.

How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

My father was always very passionate about photography. In our family house where I grew up there was a dark room, and he had lots of amazing cameras and he taught me from a very young age. When I was 8 he bought me an Olympus OM10, which is a little manual 35mm SLR with no automatic functions and he told me that I had to work out how to use it before he let me use any of the big electronic cameras he had. Because of this from a young age I had a real fascination with photography. I was always really interested in fashion and I was always really interested in photography, those were always my two passions.

When I left school I went and studied theology at university but really I was into photography. So I was in London and I was working a lot with photographers as an assistant and stuff like that and doing almost no university work. At the same time I was quite social so I met a lot of people, who were already working in the industry. I had the opportunity to work in fashion photography with a couple of really amazing photographers, to assist them and learn from them. But it became clear to me that, although I was really passionate about fashion and about photography, those two passions weren’t really connected. The photography I liked was more reportage or art photography, and so I started to realise it wasn’t possible for me to express what I wanted to in terms of photography by doing fashion photography. When I left university I kept assisting and then I ended up working as a photographer and doing more landscapes and reportage, but not really doing proper jobs, just kind of messing around, building up my personal work, assisting people a bit. But I couldn’t work out how to make any money doing it. And I suppose also I didn’t have the confidence to know whether my work was good or not or how to use my work.

So I ended up having an opportunity to go into doing fashion as a tailor and designer. I worked as a menswear designer and then I ended up moving to Paris, to work for a menswear brand there. Then I came back to London as a creative director and worked for a while in that space and I didn’t touch a camera for about 7 years at all. But I was working a lot with photographers, I was the guy who was producing and art-directing the stories, or the campaigns, or the lookbooks. I was the one who was saying “ok this is what we want”  and then I picked photographers and worked with them to create what we needed. And because I had a background in photography I understood the language of it and could have very useful conversations with photographers which was a really important part of my job. After a while I quit my job in fashion and I didn’t know what to do next so I took a year out. I started doing freelance work, producing and art-directing photo shoots for fashion brands and then I got the opportunity very randomly to shoot a couple of them, because photographers became unavailable. Even though I wasn't confident about doing this, I thought I should give it a try. I think because I’d spent the last 7 years before that, being the person who was in a position of authority working with photographers, suddenly I had the confidence and the insight to apply that same authority to my own work. Even though technically I was less good, because I hadn’t photographed in such a long time, I had a much more clear idea of what good photography was. Then I got more and more opportunities until I hit a point where I decided that's all I wanted to do. So since then I’ve been working as a photographer in the fashion industry, but also in art-photography, portraits and landscapes and that’s the journey so far.

Have you had any mentors along the way? Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

I’ve had a lot of mentors, although I’m not sure they have always been aware of it. The first was my father, who was really passionate about photography. He has never worked as a photographer, but he’s always been someone that’s been really passionate about it and this  shared passion has always been a big part of our relationship. He taught me the basics of how photography works and when I was young he introduced me to all these great classical black and white photographers, like Jeanloup Sieff, Norman Parkinson and the old Magnum photographers like Cartier-Bresson or Robert Capa. When I was a kid I really understood photography as being about that, those guys represented what photography was to me . So he gave me a great grounding in this classical framework of photography.

I’ve been really lucky over the past 10 years to have been able to work really closely with some amazing fashion photographers and I have learned something from every single one of them. They’ve had some wildly different perspectives and I think that’s one of the main things I learnt while working as an art-director and as a producer rather than photographer, that it's not that meaningful to categorise people as good or bad photographers, rather it's about having your own vision and sticking with it - it’s as simple as that. It was really cool being able to work with all these super talented people and get inside their aesthetics and understand where their approach was coming from.

Also because I mostly shoot on film, a lot of my process involves working with printers in darkrooms in the labs. Over my career I’ve used a few different labs and I’ve been really privileged to develop some very close relationship with printers. When I was 20 I used to work with a guy who printed a lot of the Magnum photographers’ stuff. Every morning I would get up, cycle to his lab and stay there for 2 to 3 hours. He’d just show me all the things we could do or he’d do all my prints or we’d just talk. He taught me so much about what was possible with photography and gave me so much confidence. And he’s just one of them. All of these guys have become mentors to me in different ways, because I didn’t have a classical education in photography and these people know their stuff and are super patient.

Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

That’s a funny question, because a lot of people in my life around me maybe see me as someone who takes quite bold moves. Often I’ve taken jobs, which I was completely unqualified for, but for me they never felt like risks. They’ve always felt like the only thing I could possibly do at that moment. I think I’ve always been someone who’s passionate and I’ve been extremely lucky that my entire life so far I’ve only ever done jobs I’m really passionate about. In that sense I’ve never had to do a single bit of work in my entire life, it’s always been natural. For example when I left my last job with a brand in London a year or two ago, it was probably quite risky. But again - it felt inevitable. There’s a saying “ fortune favours the bold” and maybe that's a bit true.  Before I decided that photography was all I wanted to do six months ago, I’d been quite reserved showing people my work, because I felt I had a lot to learn still, which I do. So I thought I’d just work quietly in the background, build a body of work and when I’m really proud of it, then I’ll push it. But then I realised - you’re always improving, you’re always changing, your work from a year ago never looks good to you - so you might as well put yourself out there now. And as soon as I put myself out there, I had so much positive feedback and so many opportunities and it’s still seems to be happening and I’m still learning which is amazing. I’ve been lucky.

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

I think when people see you doing something which is really authentic to you, then of course they are 100 % supportive. Also photography is a cool job, because it gives you good stories to tell. You’re a bit of an explorer: you’re exploring places or other people’s lives and you get to go and sit with interesting people and photograph them, understand the world better and be aware and alive, so I think that's only going to enrich the lives of those around you.

What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?

I’m not sure. I think I’m most interested in quite simple things, when things feel really natural and true.  I’m interested in empathy, although that sounds pious. That’s why I love portrait photography, although the same thing extends throughout the disciplines, because you get to sit down, you get to look at someone, you get to talk, you get to know them a little and you get to slowly find moments of commonality and hopefully through that create something meaningful. There’s nothing more specific than that. I like it when a photo looks authentic and real, and doesn’t feel contrived or overly directed. In a more practical sense I’m always inspired by other photographers. I love those early colour great american landscape, road trip kind of photographers like Joel Sternfeld, Stephen Shore, William Eggleston. I can look at their photographs for hours - they have such a wonderful relationship with light and this very composed, but also throw-away kind of aesthetic. And it always feels so honest.  That’s something that influenced me hugely and I find that style very fascinating.

How would you describe your style?

Whats’ funny is even when I was working as a designer, I always seemed to gravitate towards a rich, bold colour profile in everything I do and that’s something people often identify in my work. I suppose also there’s kind of the looseness I go for, I generally don’t like things looking like they are too deliberate, too composed and I like something that has an emotive hook to it. Ultimately everything I do - even fashion and landscapes - comes from reportage standpoint.

Do you have a routine?

I get up at 7.30 pretty much always, then I meditate for 20 minutes, have an egg white omelette with spinach and an espresso and then I spend maybe an hour doing emails. I keep in touch with people, talk to my lab, arrange production of photoshoots, That’s always a good way to begin the day, it gets your head straight in terms of what you want to achieve. Then I usually cycle to my l lab, where I look at prints we’re doing to make sure they are ready or take the printers through what we need to do. And then I’ll usually come back to the studio and either I’ll be shooting, or I’ll be working on retouching or production for whatever’s happening the next week or two.  I’ll find some time to socialise and have dinner sometimes but now days mostly I work into the evening - usually until 11 or so - creating mood boards, making references , and that’s my life pretty much every day.

What do you see yourself doing in a few years?

I hope the same thing I’m doing now, but just more. I love to travel - that’s a really important part of my life and something I’ve not been doing so much recently. At some point I would like not to be based as much in London. London is a very important city for me to be in right now, because it has that creative energy and I have a really good network here, but at some point I’d like to live someplace more sunny and by the sea. I spent a lot of extended periods of time staying abroad by the sea and it always improves your life so immeasurably. I’d like to be travelling more, shooting more, just doing the same work really. I’d like to shoot a mixture of occasional fashion campaigns, occasional reportage, work on exhibitions - variety keeps you fresh and you keep on learning the whole time. As long as I’m taking photographs, I’m happy.

Why did you join Alter-View?

Misha Stroyev, the founder of Alter-View, is a good friend of mine and much of my work has been based around my personal relationships. Which is really important, because you end up with a positive natural energy around your work. I’ve also been interested because it’s an agency with more of a reportage, documentary focus. In London I find my work gravitating more towards fashion, because that’s where most of my network is, but I was really interested to work with an agency, that has this reportage/landscape outlook. It's something I’m excited to explore more.

To see more of James's work go here:


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Interview with Alter-View Photographer Raul Cabrera

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Interview with Alter-View Photographer Raul Cabrera

Born in Venezuela, Raul Alejandro Cabrera Ruiz studied architecture in the university. Now a Paris-based full-time photographer, Raul builds his style on his experience in building design and his impressive client list includes Mcdonald's, Marriott International, EDF France and DS Automobiles among others.

1. How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it for a living?

My interest in photography started when I was a kid. I had a compact camera that I used for fun. My mom used to photograph, so she taught me the basics. Later she gave me one of her cameras as a gift. During my years in architecture school I started to explore more with photos. For me it was always a hobby and a way to express my creativity. I enjoyed sharing my images and I started getting a positive reaction. As soon as I moved to France I saw that response increased. Brands boarded me to collaborate with them. That gave me more confidence to create and propose my ideas until I got to the point where photography was absorbing a big part of my time. That’s when I decided to give it a try. It took me a long time to consider myself a photographer. I always thought I still had a lot to learn (I still do). At the end I understood that you are never completely ready to do something, you have you try, fail, learn and that’s what makes it exciting and makes you grow

2. Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

I have my favorites photographers but I learned by myself. When I started taking photos I was still in architecture school, so I like to think that my eye was trained by modern architects like Mies, Le Corbusier, Kahn, Niemeyer and Carlos Raul Villanueva. Composition, repetition, scale, space and order were concepts that I learned to design buildings and now I use to create images. That has a big influence in what I do in general.

3. What was your first photo-related job?

I think my first photo-related job was a documentary work for a friend who was doing street art in Caracas. It wasn't even a paid job but those photos were later published in a national magazine and newspaper, so I was really happy about that. Then, my first big official job as a photographer was being part of the Instacorps, a group of five photographers selected by the UN Foundation to shoot the backstage of one of the events for the COP21 in Paris. It was a great experience.

4. Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

Yes, moving to Paris has been definitely my biggest risk. Leaving my country, my family, my friends, my job and everything I had to start from zero has been a learning experience.

5. Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

Yes, my family has always been very supportive no matter what. They like what I do and they always support my decisions. My friends are also very supportive. Most of my friends work in creatives areas so it’s always good to have a feedback from them or ask them for advices.

6. Where’s home and how living there influences you?

I’m from Venezuela but Paris is where I live now. Latin American culture is very different to the European. It’s been a little bit more than 2 years since I live here but 2 years is nothing compared to my others 27 years, so I’m still enjoying the “surprise” factor which the new place brings. This city has a big influence in what I do and the way I see everything.

7. Do you have a routine?

Not really. I try to avoid routines because I get bored. I think I have a routine only for basic stuffs like, waking up, drink coffee and check my emails, then it depends of how busy I am that day in particular. Another habit that I haven't been able to change, and I think I never will, is working at least until midnight. I work better at night.

8. How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as minimalist. I like to show my ideas with the least amount of elements. The composition is very important to me. I see a photo as a paint, where every element has to be well place.

9. What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?

I think the city is my principal source of inspiration. I’m a completely visual person. I try to frame everything I see. I can be easily distracted if I see something that catches my attention. It could be a film, a graphic design or others photographers’ work. Being exposed to this kind of images makes me want to create.

10. Why did you join Alter-View?

Being represented by an agency is a good opportunity to get my work promoted. I also liked the idea of being part of a community of photographers with different backgrounds. Every photographer in the team has a particular style so I think I can learn a lot from them.

To see more photos by Raul, click here:


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5 Tips for Lifestyle Photography from Maïder Oyarzabal

5 Tips for Lifestyle Photography from Maïder Oyarzabal

Lifestyle photography is arguably today’s most in-demand genre. While it might seem pretty effortless from the outside, there’s much more to lifestyle photography than simply taking impromptu shots. We asked Alter-View photographer Maïder Oyarzabal to share some tips, that’ll help you get that lifestyle feel.

1. Always Have a Camera with You

You never know, what’ll happen in a second  and you don’t want to miss something worth shooting. Sometimes you’ll have that great light or a very inspiring moment that you’ll want to to capture, so bring your camera with or at least have your phone with a camera feature out and handy.

2. Zoom In

While you might be tempted to literary look at the big picture, sometimes it really pays off  to focus on little details. I have nothing against wider shots - they tell their own story, but very often it’s the little things, that make a photograph special.

3. Look for the Light

The right light is what makes the main difference between a good image and a very special one. Try to let things unfold organically as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to change your shooting position or angle of your camera.

4. Stay Weird

Stay true to your weird side - that’s what makes your picture unique and personal. Don’t limit yourself, because you never know how things will unfold. Connect with you inner child, it will give sensitivity to your work and special style to your images.

5. Always be Ready

The key to great lifestyles is avoiding posed pictures, and to do that you should always be alert. If you want to take a great portrait you need to be spontaneous and capture the right expression without imposing anything. Also, if you manage to build a connection with the person you’re shooting, your photos will come out great.

To see Maïder's work click here!

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Interview with Andrew Semark

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Interview with Andrew Semark

Andrew Semark is a freelance photographer living in Vasse,Western Australia. Andrew spoke to us about being a creative entrepreneur in a small town, the everyday risks of making ocean art and the importance of living in the moment. When Andrew isn’t on his jet-ski shooting waves, he’s home with his wife and two children.

Describe your path to becoming a photographer: How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

I was raised by my Mum and Dad who don’t really have a creative side to them and was always told to work with my hands. I knew I had to provide for my family, so I when grew up I started working in a workshop – spent my days covered in dirt. But I always enjoyed photography and it all started as a hobby years and years ago, when I began making landscape shots. It took me so long to learn and find what I really wanted to do. I grew up surfing and eventually I just combined my love of photography and my love of the ocean, but it was a slow realization. I remember the first time I shot waves then got home, opened the files on my computer and that’s when all the pieces just fell into place, because I fell in love with what I saw. Gradually photography was taking over so much of my time and eventually just bounced itself to the point when it consumed everything I do. I haven’t reached where I want to be as a photographer yet, but I’m super-blessed to be doing that now. Being in the ocean for me is an escape and then I go home, see everything on my computer, and get to relive those moments and see so many little details that I missed when I was there. When people see my work and say “well, I didn't know ocean could do that” – that’s precious.

Have you had any mentors along the way? Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

Where I live there’s a guy Christian Fletcher who shot landscapes of the area, and I would look at them and thought to myself: “these are incredible” and so I started shooting landscapes too. Then I met this guy named Russell Ord, he is the person I admire very much: from his amazing work to his outlook on life. I’ve been lucky enough to work with him and he’s the one who mentored me. He’s the kind of person, who’d tell you if your work was crap. I learnt so much from him: from photography to doing business, to people management, to handling situations.

What was your first photo-related job?

My first photo-related job was a wedding - a good friend told me he’d love me to shoot his wedding. Personally, I love weddings - spending this day with a newly married couple is really precious and you can’t help being happy at a wedding.  So I took it on board, did the day,  got a super-good response from them and that really kind of pushed me to the next level. I had been avoiding it, because with photography - put your work out there and there’s a lot of potential for disappointment, but then it worked and I realized I’m going to find people who love what I do and people who don’t but I’m loving what I’m creating and that pushed me further to keep doing work as a photographer.

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

My wife is my rock, she’s behind everything I do. I spend a lot of time in my head and she helps me get out of there and produce everything I’m thinking on my camera. She’s always been so supportive for me throughout my journey and she’s always been amazing, and my kids – just as well. I grew up learning to work with my hands, to make money for my family and support them. I’d like to think that my kids look at me believe that they can accomplish whatever their passion is and You don’t have to work any job but do what you love.

Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

Every time I’m in the ocean is a risk, if you think about it. Moving from working in a workshop to full-time photography career was also a risk and it still is. I live in a small country town and it's crazy here in summer. Then comes winter and it’s like a ghost town. During summer time I’m so busy with the business, in the ocean or doing wedding shoots. So I love it here in winter, because I get to spend time in the ocean and can focus on the creative side of my craft.

Where’s home and how living there influences you?

Living here dictates everything: winter months are hard on the business side of things, but it’s the time when you can build the portfolio. Also winter makes landscape so much better - a lot of people don’t get it, they just see the blue skies and blue water during summer but it is just as beautiful during the winter months. Sometimes there are really tough times, but I’m always trying to stay in the moment.

Do you have a routine?

I do and I don’t have a routine.  I like getting up early, so in the early hours of the morning you’ll probably see me shooting and creating. Vasse being a small town, I rely on local business to continue to work and spend a lot of time connecting with the community around me. During the day I might have a coffee and chat with a potential client to see if I can work something out for them. In the evening I’m usually back at my computer, learning new techniques, getting inspiration and staying in touch with what I’m doing.

What are your plans for the future?

I have long-term goals , which I might never reach them, but that’s what I have in mind. I’d love to have my own little gallery, showcasing area, and a little coffee-shop, where people can have their coffee, look at photographs and hang out.  That’s the dream. But for now I’d love to keep building my brand as a photographer, and be able to produce what I thinking in my head into my camera and never stop learning.

Why did you join Alter-View?

Joining a community on the other side of the world is pretty exciting. This could take me anywhere – I see other photographers do incredible work, that’s very inspiring.

Your advice to someone just starting out?

The biggest one is your vision will evolve, as you go through photography. What you might start doing initially will eventually change and won’t be where you end up at all, and you might find at times that you’re falling in love with different aspects of photography. Enjoy your journey, enjoy every moment as it comes, don’t take it too seriously, because otherwise it will consume your craft.

To see Andrew's work click here!

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Alter-View Documentaries: The Start of a New Project

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Alter-View Documentaries: The Start of a New Project

Guys, we’ve got a huge announcement to make! Alter-View is starting a new series of projects devoted to all the amazing photographers in our community. You’ve seen their works, read their interviews and enjoyed their awesome tips, so we think it’s high time we put into the spotlight those, who are always behind the camera. Soon we’re going to start publishing beautiful documentaries about Alter-View photographers, which will showcase their work on a much more personal level. Prepare to spend time with these incredibly talented people, watch them at work and discover secrets behind their great imagery. 


Today we’re embarking on our first adventure to the southwest of France, where we’re going to film documentaries about Maïder Oyarzabal and German Kholmov, while working on an existing client project. Our itinerary is pretty spectacular too: Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz, The Pyrenees Mountains with Lake Gentau and the Spanish Bardenas Reales desert - these are all awesome locations that we're going to visit and shoot.

Make sure to follow all the backstage content that we will be posting on Facebook and Instagram! 

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Interview with Misha Stroyev, Founder & CEO of Alter-View

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Interview with Misha Stroyev, Founder & CEO of Alter-View

Today we're gonna open up about the person behind Alter-View and its creative community. Micha Stroyev, Paris-based photographer and Founder & CEO of Alter-View, embraced photography at an early age, got a stellar business education and lucrative management career, then left it to disrupt the photography industry. The former corporate executive turned photographer turned entrepreneur, recalls his path into the world of photography, and risks he took to build a business he believes in.

How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

Photography was part of my life since childhood, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I started taking it more seriously. But an aha moment happened ten years ago, when I went on my first Bali vacation, coincidentally that was shortly after I‘d got my first DSLR and started toying with all those editing tools that were coming out at the time. When I got back from my vacation I saw that some of my shots were pretty good - one is still among my favorites. That’s when I realized, I wanted to shoot more beautiful pictures and maybe occasionally sell them to galleries, but never thought it would amount to anything more than a hobby. After that for about 7 years I took pictures but never published my work – there was a certain belief among photographers that once a photo was published on the Internet it lost its value. So I had been in this mode till 2014, but eventually I started publishing my pics, gradually built up an online portfolio and started socializing as a photographer, but still it was no more than a hobby. Only a year ago I realized, I wanted to do something that drives me every day, which is photography.

Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

Alter-View was and still is the biggest risk: before I started it I’d worked in IT and Oil & Gas industries. The job I quit to found the agency was the General Manager for a new branch of an Oil & Gas company, which I supervised from scratch. Personally I love business development, love starting new projects and growing new businesses from scratch, but when I was done building the structure and got deeper into details of the Oil & Gas industry, I realized that wasn’t where I saw myself. That’s when I quit and fully channeled my energy into building Alter-view - it wasn’t an easy decision to make and it took some time, lots of thought and conversations with people whose opinion I value. So since September 2016, I’ve been fully focusing on Alter-View and photography.

What was your first photo-related job?

I guess the first was in 2004 - I was working as a reporter for a French photography website. But as for me, work is whenever I take a camera into my hands, but I was never looking for jobs on purpose and did what came to me naturally - got hired as a photographer for a variety of projects, curated exhibitions and when someone was willing to buy my work, I gladly sold it. But I never pursued clients.

Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

People, who influenced me creatively are mostly Americans, since I consider them trailblazers and not only in photography. As for those that inspired me to go further in my work, that would be lifestyle photography by Chris Ozer and architecture shots by trashhand.

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

My family and friends are very supportive – they know I’ve been into photography from an early age, and when I decided to focus on Alter-View and photography, I heard things like “Finally! What you’ve been doing before was so not you!”

Where’s home and how living there influences you?

Home is definitely in Paris although I’ve lived in the USA, England, Russia and Switzerland. Paris is great for architecture and lifestyle photography, because it’s - you know - Paris. But another great thing about it is that a two-hour drive from Paris will take you to fantastic-looking nature.

How would you describe your style?

My photography style has been changing a lot over the years. When I just started shooting, I focused on lifestyle photography –  people vs. nature, people within nature, moving people - that kind of thing. Gradually I moved to architecture and it had been the focal point of my art for some time. Then I graduated to landscapes, and now you can say that I’m back to lifestyles, but I think photographer shouldn't limit himself to just a couple of genres, as many people do. If you make great photos, you'd better try and apply yourself to as many genres as possible, otherwise it’s a waste of talent. That the principle I live by.

What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?

I’m inspired by many things – it all depends on time, place, environment, company and my mood at the moment. If you’ve been in photography for as long as I have, your creative vision evolves, and looking through the lense of a camera is just as natural as seeing with your own eyes. I don’t look for inspiration - it comes to me.  If I see something I’d like to shoot and don’t have a camera with me, I get really frustrated. I love life, I love the world I live in, and I want my pictures to inspire others.

Why did you start Alter-View?

It all started when I realized that the photo industry is facing some sort of curatorial crisis. Most of works exhibited today are very 2007 and way out of touch with the current situation on the market and demands of customers – people see works of photographers online, but they cannot find them in galleries. Even though the European market is highly competitive, it’s nearly impossible to find photographs worth buying. At the same time there are lots of talented photographers that never get a show with galleries – only because there are unspoken rules in the industry and if you go against the flow, you’ll never make it. So I decided to create a gallery where photographers, can get the visibility and recognition they deserve. Another idea was to help talented photographers meet brands, that want to elevate their content marketing. Both initiatives were supposed to commence at the same time, but then I thought that strategically it’s better to start the agency first, as gallery opening requires much more preparation and talent recruitment.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans are mostly around the agency and the gallery, which are now two standalone projects: we’re already working with brands for photo and video production while growing our community of photographers to showcase at the gallery, which is set to open in 2018. But most of all I’d like to move the photo-industry forward and to make and sell art of the present and future, looking to the years 2020 or even 2030.

To see Misha's work click here.

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