Alastair Strong Hoists Us Up With Hunger Magazine
Alastair Strong lives on the edge. Or at least photographs on the edge. His latest shoot with Hunger Magazine for Louis Vuitton’s current season of accessories brought him to the cliffs of Madeira to photograph the bags and belts of the collection. For Alastair it’s about more than just bumping his heart rate in adventure exploration; the aesthetic payoffs make the trek worth it. “I was totally drawn to that contrast between these highly polished goods and this completely natural environment that was so sharp and so rough,” Alastair says. “I was instantly drawn to that contrast and it’s something I think I’m coming a little bit obsessed with. It’s definitely becoming one of those things.” This textural conversation is appearing in Alastair’s work more and more, but of course photographing products on the edge of cliffs can be a little dangerous. Alastair isn’t worried about it though. He has a tip: “The general rule is: Don’t fall off.”
As we said, the aesthetic contrast of natural environments with high-end luxury design is appearing more and more in Alastair’s work, but it’s something that he’s been searching out for a long time. Having developed this conversation in his work for a while, it’s much more mature in his work than some of his peers. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and something that I don’t see many people doing much of,” he explains. “I see people shooting still lifes outside but I don’t see too many people pushing boundaries with it.” Alastair likes to push those boundaries as much as possible, even if it takes him to the craggy peaks of Madeira’s cliffs.
Still life can be tricky business. Even without a human subject, the image still needs to be compelling. There aren’t any objective relationships that Alastair can imply with models, no human emotional story. But there is something, and it’s crucial. It’s what he puts at the center of his work. “What you focus on is the form. Some pieces feel quite playful, and other pieces feel quite serious and some feel more austere,” Alastair explains. “The coiled belts feel quite playful, almost like springs on the top of a cliff. And then the straight belt is just a pure contrast to the texture of the rock. There is not a single straight line in that background and you’ve got this poker straight belt. I’m just playing around with it a little bit.” Even if the story isn’t a narrative of human experience, Alastair can still balance the aesthetic forces of each piece and play them off each other, their own form, and the surrounding environment to create images that draw the viewer in - even if the content is inanimate. He creates a relationship between the viewer and the image, pulling us into a story we never even knew we needed to be a part of.