Alex McTigue had this way of just popping up. Scrolling through page after pages of photos & one catches my eye, Alex’s. A link from from someone’s website, Alex’s. A small brown covered zine on the bookshelf of one of my best friend’s, Alex’s series Anywhere But Here. Every time I saw some of these photos or held his zine, I found something new. In Empty Stretch style I forced some questions upon & thankfully, he pleasantly answered them. Do enjoy.
Empty Stretch: Age/ Location/ Favorite things in life?
Alex McTigue: I live in Brooklyn NY, and my favorite things in life are reading and throwing fireworks at people.
ES: How did you get into photography?
AM: I think at some point every hardcore kid or skateboarder tries photography. Some just make it out a little sooner.
ES: Your portraits come across as informal but not stolen moment, while also using the space to inform the viewer of the subject’s personality. How much of your work is set up, so to speak, or directed?
AM: They are all set up in terms of the person is aware that I am photographing them. But otherwise they’re pretty much your usual youth exploitation photographs. Especially with these photographs, not much is directed, not by me at least.
ES: Your series/ zine “Anywhere But Here” if not only by the title, seems to very much be about anonymity, yet the photos are very intimate. Were these planned situations & people or just photos that seemed to work together & convey a sense of nowhere?
AM: All of these pictures were taken on a trip a few years ago between NYC, Chicago, and Austin. I think this was the easiest collection of pictures to think of as finished because there was a very finite amount of time to choose from, and didn’t leave the option to keep going. The trip was planned, more or less, but the situations… who knows. When you spend that much time with a few people, intimate situations are bound to happen. At the time a lot of friends started traveling or running from/for whatever reason, and listening to prodigy I finally realized you can run but you can’t hide forever.
ES: Most of your work is black & white, but there are a few color images through out, do you prefer one over the other?
AM: I think black and white photographs are truly beautiful. But as with everything, certain times dictate certain decisions. If I had my choice I would just be able to write and call it a day.
ES: Do you photograph & then group them & form a series that way, or do you plan ahead what you are looking to photograph?
AM: I guess when I take pictures, they just pile up until something gets done with them. There is no real order, except like I was talking about earlier with a clear beginning and end of something.
ES: I have seen your zine all over the place, friends bookshelves & stores all over the country, is that the way you like your work to be viewed & if so, why? If not, do you prefer galleries or web viewing, etc.
AM: I would much rather a lot of like minded people be able to see and relate to the things I make than a few art world people. I have always been interested in zines and DIY outside of art, I don’t see why it should be any different when relating to art. Thats the beauty of self-publishing, you can do whatever you want whenever you want. Make as many as possible and give them away. Nobody is worried about cost effectiveness when nobody is making money. Plus, looking at something tangible like a book or zine is much more intimate and physical than looking at someone’s tumblr or flickr. I get so much more out of the experience that way, so I assume the same goes for others as well.
ES: Finals words?
AM: These are some great photographers to check out.