Alex Reyto is a British/ Canadian photographer whose personal work focuses on her fascination with mental process, primarily memory, perception and discovery. Her photographs are rooted in the natural world and often delve into our individual and spiritual relationship with it from an animistic point of view, exploring nature’s messages poetically and with a cinematographic perspective.
She holds a joint honours BA in English and Media Communication from The University of Liverpool and has studied history of photography and photography theory at Ryerson University in Toronto, though is mainly self-taught. After living and working in Toronto and London, Alex currently lives in the wild Ariège region of the French Pyrènèes.
What or who most influences your work?
- Right now I’m shifting more out of commercial work and more into shooting what I love. Moving to the mountains in the south of France, living at 900 altitude and being surrounded by wild landscape inspires me to no end.
Making the photographs in my project La Rivière D’Or with Alex has been a great lesson in learning to collaborate in new ways. The images usually come after spending a bit of time absorbing the surroundings and how we’re both feeling and processing that day - with Alex the photographs always end up being spontaneous, which I love. It’s a new way of life for both of us after quitting the city, finding more space in our lives to be creative than rinsing and repeating in a speedy urban landscape. We’ve slowed down into somewhat of an isolated life - being surrounded by nature 24/7 and not much else has been a humbling experience so far and is opening me to new possibilities of making work.
Describe your photographic style for us in 3 words
- Metaphysical, clean, nostalgic.
Where is the most inspiring place you’ve travelled to and photographed in your career so far?
- Ariège, France, where I live now. The snow capped mountains, fast changing light and lush wilderness - being isolated is forcing me to think about new ways of creating work, how to communicate the preciousness of our natural world and psychological relationship to it in future projects.
If you could own a print by any photographer, whose would it be and why?
- Hard question! Can I choose 3? Haha. I love to be inspired. I love French artist Noemie Goudal’s work - especially her ‘Southern Light Stations’ series. I saw the exhibit at The Photographers Gallery in London and it was one of those experiences that stays with you. Her blend of the celestial and the terrestrial is fascinating to me.
Ryan McGinley’s ‘Question Mark’ - it reminds me of how small we can feel in nature and how important that feeling is for the psyche. I hope to see a future where humanity lives by listening to the planet again, instead of destroying it. This image represents that tightrope walk to me - we are all hanging in the balance right now and I hope the scales tip in favour of mother nature and people waking up.
Sally Mann’s ‘Shiva at Whistle Creek’ - for the youthfulness, wonder and aloneness she captures in it. I spent my summer days in the river next to my house when I was a kid and swimming in lakes in Canada - it reminds me of the peace I found in nature when I was young.
What has photography taught you about the world?
- It’s always teaching me. How to harness and communicate emotion. How to story-tell. It constantly reminds me to be pure and present and always keeps me moving forward - exploring inner and outer worlds, blending the two. I love this quote by Terence McKenna - “The world which we perceive is a tiny fraction of the world which we can perceive, which is a tiny fraction of the perceivable world, you see”. I think the art of photography speaks to that - kind of like the idea of the Russian doll. I love how deeply layered one good image can feel.
Browse Alex's work for sale here
Top to bottom: "Metamorphose", "Liquid Acid Memory", "Alex at the River" - part of an ongoing body of work, La Rivière D’Or, by photographer Alex Reyto.