On April 16th, Alternative launched its Tribes of Summer collection, introducing a cultural fusion of tropical prints, native patterns and island hues. As our Design and Creative teams went to work, we thought, what better way to immerse ourselves in the season than with an underwater photo shoot? To capture summer’s carefree vibe and highlight our rich mixture of hot colors, flowing fabrics and body-baring silhouettes, we turned to photographer Ari Abramczyk. Here’s what Ari had to say about her work, her inspiration and summer 2012.
What inspired you to become photographer?
I have been a photographer since 9.11.2001. I lived in New York, six blocks away from the World Trade Center, and witnessed the Twin Towers falling. I took images of the event, including the two buildings falling, and the aftermath. I walked the length and width of Manhattan to document the protests, the candlelight vigils, the businesses that opened their doors to strangers, the standing ovations for the firefighters and policemen. I was a photographer in that moment, and I knew that there was little else I wanted.
How would you describe your aesthetic and artistic philosophy?
My aesthetic and philosophy are largely the same: honest and joyful. I began as a photojournalist, and found that my heart was too soft for some of the realities of the job. When I shifted my focus to fashion and advertising, I wanted to keep some reality in there with the fantasy. I like that honesty—I seek it out in the model's expression and posture, their interaction with the scene around them. I think that fashion should be joyful. Alternative Apparel's clothing and brand image has always seemed to me to have an ease, and fresh, joyful spirit about it that it very appealing to me. It turns out that that spirit is embodied not only in the clothes, but in the incredible, talented team that works behind the scenes to bring them to you.
What was your inspiration for the Tribes of Summer underwater shoot?
I wanted this campaign to be a visual escape. There is nothing more dreamy and unique than underwater photography. I think that the improbability of the medium (wait, you put HOW much equipment under the water?) allows for the viewer to let go of conventional boundaries and to become immersed in the experience.
What do you find to be the most fulfilling aspect of your work as a photographer?
My favorite thing about photography is collaboration. I find incredible inspiration from my team. I am so lucky to have found some amazing individuals, whom I am honored to work with. Their spirit, their talent, their positivity, pushes me forward and elevates my work in a way that I could never have done alone. I am so grateful, and humbled, to have a job that I love sincerely.
What fuels your creativity as an artist?
Photojournalism, literature, music, art, faces, fashion and science. I spend a lot of time at the aquarium, of course. Being in close proximity to jellyfish gives me great happiness and inspiration. The same could be said for my husband, although I am grateful that he is opaque.
x Melissa Metcalf
photos by Ari Abramczyk