We had the good fortune of connecting with Alessandra Weaver and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alessandra, why did you pursue a creative career?
Self-expression and empowering representation is critical. I have always been interested in how effectively the arts allow us to authentically express ourselves as individuals and how in turn that can grant us the ability to better communicate with each other, heal, and grow- whether independently or collectively. From a young age I found myself drawn to various artistic mediums because each one uniquely allowed me to explore and express myself in a different way. As I continued to practice art and relish in its therapeutic properties, specifically photography and self-portraiture, I learned that I could assist others in their pursuit of expression as well. Through portraiture I am able to help empower the individuals I photograph by maximizing their comfort in front of the lens and by truly listening to their intent for the session. Art provides us with the opportunity to revel in our own experiences and perspective, but it also establishes a space where we can interact with others’ perspectives on life. It’s a privilege to have someone trust you to visually represent them and or their ideas, and additionally, it’s a beautiful honor to emotionally collaborate with someone when creating a piece or body of work together.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My personal work is inspired by defying expectations, but that includes my own in addition to those projected onto me. I find that the images I’m the most proud of are the ones that completely surprise me mid execution. For example, when shooting self-portraiture I don’t use a remote or cable release. I rely on a ten second timer that triggers when I press the shutter release. Sprinting back and forth from tripod to my staged position within the frame has taught me to trust my familiarity with my surroundings, my body and ultimately, myself- even when I feel as though I have little to no control. I don’t think self-portraiture is easy because it really forces you to look introspectively and consider how you want to represent yourself, but I think it’s a valuable form of expression that everyone should experiment with at least once in their life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
(Speaking as if in non-pandemic times) I feel like there’s never enough time to truly show someone around New York City, but if I were to have a friend visit in the summer I’d love to give them a little sample of everything. Depending on which museums they’d been to I’d suggest we visit the Met or the Museum of the City of New York. There’s always something to see even when you don’t expect it, so I think it’d also be nice to wind down in Washington Sq Park by the fountain at some point. If we found ourselves by the east side we could scoop some pizza and garlic knots at Lunetta on Third and head to the East River to eat (while checking out a portion of the Manhattan skyline). A day along the boardwalk at Coney Island would also be a must, but I feel like the ultimate way to wrap the visit would be heading to Times Square before sunrise. It’s truly surreal being able to experience Times Square when it feels so still and quiet, but it’s all the better when you can checkout the sunrise as you walk back.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I hold so much gratitude and love for my father, my mother, and my brother Daniel. I specifically owe my deeply rooted appreciation for all artistic mediums to my father as he embraced my curiosity as a kid. Given he studied architecture and photography for a portion of his education, as well as worked as a cartoonist, he introduced me to a range of artists and styles that made me recognize there is no need to limit yourself creatively. My mother constantly reminds me how powerful and important it is to invest in what you love- and to encourage others to do the same! Loving unapologetically is now a foundational part of my life and artistic practice. It helps to eradicate self-doubt and embrace what makes life feel most fulfilling. Lastly, Daniel taught me to question everything in life, but when in doubt, you can find a lot of the answers within art or through the process of making art.