We met Alex shortly after his recent move to New Orleans. We were immediately drawn into his photography, and we're happy to share his personal story and photos here.
What's your name and where are you from?
My name is Alex Tillmon, and I am twenty four years old. I was born in Jackson Mississippi and grew up in Tchula Mississippi. Tchula is in the Delta surrounded by cotton fields and has no more than one hundred and fifty people. I was adopted at thirteen months old by three Franciscan nuns, who are from Minnesota who were relocated to the south in the sixties to give assistance to the Civil Rights Movement.
How long have you been taking photos?
I have been on my photography journey, if you will for about five years now. But i was exposed to cameras growing up. So i guess depending on who you talk to, its been more like a twelve to thirteen year journey. Upon moving down here i was blessed to be reconnected with my biological dad. He showed me all these pictures of when he was a young man, and i was able to find out my grandfather was quite the photographer. All of the photos i saw of him, showed him with a camera in his hand. He was a pretty damn good one at that!
Is photography your primary medium?
Photography is my primary medium. I enjoy the photo editing more, though. Lightroom has been self taught and I am still daily continuing to teach myself what's what. I've given my hand at painting, and i must say I'm not the best at it. I enjoy writing as well. It improves attention to detail and structure in everything i do. I haven't been writing much lately but I definitely am picking it up again. What is your favorite medium, technique, or platform for sharing your work? I usually like to go with three platforms for my work. Instagram,Facebook, and Business cards. Instagram is my main form, due to the fact i can connect with people all around the world. Everyone, well due to my settings everyone can see what I'm up to. Im currently exploring good build your own website, platforms, its a matter of finding the right one.
What have you learned lately through producing art?
Art, particularly photography, has taught me quite a few things. I think one of the most important things has been patience. Learning to sit and wait to capture your subject,editing the photos, coming up with creative names for my pictures, its all a matter of patience. Another thing i have taken from photography is detail. Being able to pick up on detail, has taught me to do that outside of photography as well. That goes for work, home, and everyday life. One fun thing i have learned is better networking skills. When i was in Minnesota, i was able to improve this skill, to the point now where I'm not nervous to talk to anyone. Down here in the south, I've learned that a lot of people like their photos taken. It tends to give some people a sense of understanding of who i am as well. Especially being new to an area.
Is there anything that you have learned through art that has made you a better person as a whole?
Being made into a better person as a whole through art has happened through learning everyones story,and being more understanding of their story. Its not that i didn't before, but this has definitely helped mold me into a more understanding person. Its also caused me to, again pay more attention to detail. Improving ones detail can have positive effects in everyday interactions with people. Think about this. If you have made mistakes, which we all do, ask yourself this question. By looking in detail at what wrong with my previous mistake, what can i do to not let that trip me up this time?
What else are you working on right now?
Right now I'm working on a couple things. One of the projects is for Trader Joes. I’ve been happily employed by them for a couple months now, and were trying to work on a feature of the month. Im also trying to head back to school to finish my education degree. I was working at a Montessori school in Minneapolis, and absolutely loved it. Children are my world, although i don't have any of my own, there is always a future. Im also working on a layout for a book of my life, upbringing, or story if i can call it that. I enjoy talking about my story because its an odd one but also the world should know adoption is an option. Hell look at me! Im not the normal to say the least.
What most inspires you about New Orleans?
What most inspires me about New Orleans is, a feeling of creativity and sense of welcome. I feel as if everyone is encouraged to be themselves! Everyone has their own thing going on, trying to strive towards something. Its visible in music, food, art, education, clothing style, housing, festivals, and even pace of lifestyles.
Are there any wise words you’d like to share?
Do what you love! If you love what you do can you honestly consider it work? Get creative with it! Dare and push yourself to take risks you haven't before. But in doing so have fun with it. Life doesn't have to be serious, and i think we as human beings feel this sense of seriousness in a lot of what we do. As i get older I'm learning to let loose and shut off the timer, and in doing that alone i feel an excitement to wake up everyday,because I'm excited to see what life has to offer for me, and people i know, and am close with.