These images represent some of my earlier work, where I was first attempting to play with simplifying compositions and attempting to find surreal scenes in the real world. All of these were shot while hiking through remote areas in the deserts and hills in Southern California. These images were shot using a Kodak DC-280 2.0 megapixel digital camera in color, and converted to black and white/dodged and burned in Photoshop.
These images extend my "Early Visions" series, where my philosophy toward composition is basically the same, except that I'm adding tilts and blurs, influenced by cinematography. In these I am attempting to disguise the size of the subjects, and the addition of a tilt-shift-like focus (via Photoshop) helps with this.
This series represents and extension of both my "Early Visions" and "Surrealities" series, and adds color to the final output. I've always shot everything in color, "just in case", and here color finally becomes a means of expression for me. In fact in a few cases, earlier black and white versions of the same images have been redone in color. Color is now equally as important to me as black and white, and a move back and fourth between the two as I see fit.
These images were shot during my first and second visits to New York City. I was amazed by this place, and it seemed that everywhere I looked there was a unique feeling and emotion. A number of these were purchased by Bloomingdale's, which was a big honor for me since I felt like such a NYC newbie. I also found that in later visits, it was more difficult for me to photograph the city. The more I knew, the less I seemed to find. I think I need to revisit, and try to see things from a new viewpoint, if possible.
In this series I am simply attempting to isolate animals within larger abstract surroundings, trying to imagine how they might feel about being held captive against their will.
The strange shapes of plants growing out of dry lake beds has always fascinated me. Here I zoom in on a few of these, finding smaller and smaller worlds which exist within the original. To me these are not only alternate worlds, but also new CONCEPTS which can be either be embraced or ignored depending on the psychological makeup of the viewer.
In this series, the idea was to hover my camera just above the surface of the water, creating the illusion of a much larger wave. I would also sometimes attempt to "embed" a human figure within the scape, isolating them within a wall of water. From this vantage-point, size and size-relationship is obscured and confused. I would of course have to move my camera very quickly away from oncoming wave at the very last moment, and in fact I ruined the microphone that was in my camera due to water damage during the creation of this series.
A belief that the photographic process captures much more than just a fractional moment in time led me to create this series. I often view a photograph as a point in time around which there are forces that brought the scene to its current state, and newer forces that will alter it further in the future. In this series, I take this belief much more literally, assigning each work a title which allows the viewer to participate in the events preceding and following each shot. These titles, while helping to clarify the current events taking place in each image, often pose more questions than answers, leaving much to the imagination of the viewer.
The titles for these photos, which are too long to fit in the title field here in API, can be seen here:
The town of Trona, CA, has always intrigued me. The first time I drove through it, I immediately dubbed it "The ugliest town on Planet Earth". It was the lack of foilage, smell from the processing plants, and general disarray of things which led me to that conclusion. Upon returning 10 years later to photograph the town, I found things to be in the same state, except that upon closer examination I found much order and beauty within the chaos. The more I saw and photographed, the more I realized that it was my lack of understanding and insight which led me to my original conclusion.
I feel extremely fortunate to have had the chance to photograph this event, the movement of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to its final resting place at the California Science Center. I walked a total of 14 miles that day, have to take many side streets because the main streets were so crowded and impassable. I attempted to photograph the shuttle in strange situations, and with objects in the frame that would in no way normally be associated with the space program.
Adore Noir #11, Edited by Chris Kovacs, Chris Kovacs, Vancouver, BC, 2012 Jeff Alu: Surrealities, Jeff Alu, Kirk Pedersen, Zero+ Publishing, Claremont, CA, 2012 Artworks Magazine, Edited by Tom Burns, Artworks Media, Carmel, CA, 2011 B&W Magazine #51, Edited by Henry Rasmussen, Henry Rasmussen, Arroyo Grande, CA, 2007 Lenswork Extended #68, Edited by Brooks Jensen, Brooks Jensen, Anacortes, WA, 2007 Inked Magazine, Edited by Jeff Dondero, David Spivak, Brooklyn, NY, 2005 Seed Magazine Jan/Feb 2003, Edited by Adam Bly, Adam Bly, Montreal, CA, 2003 Design Graphics 87, Edited by Colin Wood, Colin Wood, Victoria, AU, 2002 Shots #72, Edited by Russell Joslin, Russell Joslin, Minneapolis, MN, 2001
My style hovers between documentary and a semi-dreamlike state. I’m constantly searching for what I like to call “clues.” These clues generally represent the initiation of questions that should be asked, rather than answers to pre-defined questions. I never have a set idea of what it is I’m looking for. I simply seek, occasionally finding exactly what it is I wasn't seeking. For me, that’s the time I learn something new about life: when I discover a new path, a new way of seeing, a new reason for continuing my search.
Jeff Alu has been photographing digitally since 2000, starting off with a Kodak DC-280 2.0 MP camera. Since then, he has continued to shoot with only cheaper digital point and shoot cameras, preferring to use them as simple data-gathering devices until he can work with the images in Photoshop. Originally purchasing a camera to document his hikes in the desert, it soon became apparent to him that there was so much in the world that needed to be recorded. His philosophy is one of discovery, and he is at his best when he's exploring a new area and simply recording what he finds as he walks along.
His work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Galeria D'Art Zero in Barcelona, Spain, the Biblioteca Statale di Trieste, in Trieste, Italy and the Galeria-Z, in Brataslava, Slovakia. Closer to home, he has exhibited in numerous galleries in the Los Angeles area. Seven iPhone photos from his "Mythic Realities" series were recently exhibited at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, NM.
In addition to his photography, he has curated a number of photography-related exhibitions at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, CA, where he is exhibitions director. He has served a juror for a number of competitions, including the Mobile Photography awards, and exhibitions at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. He also experiments with video art, interactive computer presentations based on 3D imagery and sound, as well as installation art.
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