Q. How did you find out about getting a gold medal? What was your first reaction?
A. I found out about receiving the sports feature medal after a couple friends sent me a message to congratulate me. My first reaction was to thank them and then check the site as quickly as possible to see which photo placed. Seeing your picture on the on main winning images screen for the first time is quite exciting.
Q: Can you tell us something about making the winning photo?
A. This particular photo took a lot of patience to make. It involved standing in between a cramped group of horses while trying to piece together all of the photo's layers. I was looking for good separation in the photo, but had to also be aware of my surroundings so that I didn't get knocked down by a horse in the area.
Q: How did you first get into photography?
A. While growing up I spent a lot of my time flipping through skateboard magazines and watching movies. Even before I picked up a camera I recall studying the components that helped to make a piece of work visually compelling. During the summer before my senior year, I took a trip with my parents to Washington DC and visited the Newseum for the first time. On my visit, I viewed an exhibit dedicated to Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, and just by spending some time in that room my eyes were opened to the power a still image can hold. I left Washington a day later with my heart set on becoming a photojournalist.
Q: Who are some photographers who especially inspire you, and why do you admire them?
A. I have focused pretty heavily on shooting sports over the last couple years so photographers like Al Bello have been a huge inspiration. Any sports photographer that is constantly pushing to make new and unique images has my utmost admiration. I also like to look to the work of people like Sam Abell, Bill Allard and Alex Webb. I believe I have drawn quite a bit of inspiration from these three photographers by studying their masterful use of layering, color and light.
Q: Any tips for other college photographers?
A. I think it's important to follow your heart and to tell the stories you truly want to be telling. Set goals and work every single week to achieve them. Also, embrace this awesome community of photographers. Don't ever be afraid to reach out for help and accept that there is always going to be more to learn.
To see more of Alex’s work, click here.
Interview by Leah Beane and Hany Hawasly