Artists can be tough to nail down. Questions are many times returned with multiple answers. And while it could come off as ambiguity or indecisiveness, to me it seems more like fluidity and malleability. The ability to see multiple meanings in objects or scenarios and interpret them before an audience is what makes artists interesting to me, which is what strikes so well with Shreveport-native Alex Hester, a photographer who works with multiple exposures.
Most of her ghost-like frames are monochromatic – much like one of her inspirations, David Lynch. When she does use color, she uses red. And while some may see off-the-cuff artistic creations as lazy, I see it as a seriously unfair talent worthy of envy. Alex’s favorite photographs are the accidental ones.
“I’m a photographer that makes a lot of mistakes and hopes for the best,” she told Heliopolis.
She also took the time to recall the first photograph she was truly proud of, even if it doesn’t pass her muster today.
“When I was about eight years old, I had a Barbie themed Polaroid camera and I used to go around the neighborhood and take pictures of absolutely random things. I was so fascinated with that camera and I wish I still had it. I took a picture of my fish, Sir Poopy, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I still have that picture, actually. It looks terrible, but I really love it.”
When not creating her art, Alex spends her time at the local favorite Day Old Blues Records or vinyl shops in other cities working on her record collection, especially anything Depeche Mode or Jack White. Probably while eating a vegan avocado burger, dreaming of a day when she can have her own studio to work in. She thinks she can have that here, and is a believer in the direction Shreveport is going, an improvement on the way it was when she was growing up.
“It has honestly changed a lot. I like it so much more now than I used to. I’ve met so many great people and they’ve helped me out a lot. Being more involved with the scene has been fantastic. The scene is getting bigger and more noticed than before and I really love that. There are so many talented people here and I’m lucky to be a part of it,” she shared.
Hester has no fear of her chosen lifestyle. She grew up with people supporting her choice to take on the life of an artistic professional, and to pursue a style that some may find odd. Her mother is a tattoo artist, and has been exposing her to art from a very young age, but she understands that not everyone has that luxury.
“Being an artist means creating anything that has some kind of meaning to you,” she explained. “Seriously, do not let anyone tell you that pursuing art is a waste of time. I’m tired of parents or friends who say things like, ‘You’ll never make any money that way.’ It’s horrible.”
At the end of the day, Alex wants you to enjoy photography – hers or that of the many other incredibly important artists who she feels don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
As the interview drew to an end, we asked the obligatory, and amazing, spirit animal question. To which she responded “Definitely a rat. People fear them, but they’re also cute. I absolutely love them. That’s basically my goal in life – to be cute and also feared. I actually have a pet rat named Jack and she only has one eye.” (Yes, it’s a Twin Peaks reference.)