Staff Spotlight: Alisia Sansom

Our strapping team of bright-eyed employees here at pictureline are photography enthusiasts, just like you, and we want to share a little bit about each of them and their photography style. Today we're hanging out with Alisia who is a photographer and sales associate here at the store. Alisia studied philosophy and art before moving to New York City in 2003. Since then, she has been working as a freelance photographer—shooting for various non-profit organizations, advertising agencies and magazines.

What Do You Shoot With?
In the past, I have shot mostly with a Mamiya 645 (still hanging in there with film), a Canon 5D, and, on occasion, a Holga. I just recently bought a Fuji x100 and am sort of in love with it, so I may be using that a lot in the future.

What is your photography style/philosophy?
I've always been inspired the most by documentary photography. I love the historical aspect of it—the idea that somehow you are preserving a moment in history. I like that there is usually a story behind documentary photographs. I like learning what that is. I like the honesty and simplicity of it. I can definitely appreciate what's been accomplished in photography since the digital revolution, but for me, the core of photography is the storytelling aspect of it. I think that style of shooting (being behind the scenes rather than directing) also lends itself well to my personality type.

Tell us about some of your favorite photos you've taken.
One of my favorite photographs I've shot was for the Vietnam School for the Blind. I was in Ho Chi Minh City and had been shooting at the school for about four days. It was Memorial Day, and some of the children were going to the cemetery to put flowers on the grave stone of one of their friends who had recently passed away. At this point I had learned a lot about the relationship blind people have with light and how, in a sense, they see in light. I liked how the image above illustrated that relationship.

The image to the right was for a personal project. I wanted to photograph my family in a way that would be interesting to people outside of those that knew them. Everyone likes pictures of their own children, but I wanted the interest to extend beyond that. It was a personal challenge for me to see if I could photograph something familiar in an interesting way. So I took the approach I usually do with these sorts of projects and waited with my camera in hand. I'm not sure what inspired my nephew to do this, but when he did, I was there. It took three days to get it.

What's the best part about travel photography? And where's your favorite place you've photographed?
I think the best part about travel photography is that you get to discover a new place and often learn a lot about something outside of your usual realm of learning. I did a project last summer for Barrick Gold and spent a week with gold miners from around the world. I learned a lot about mining—something I had never even given much thought to before. I also like the creative freedom that comes with these projects. Usually I ask what they're wanting to say or illustrate with the images, and once I have an understanding of that, I can execute it however I see fit.

I think my favorite place I've photographed has probably been in Southeast Asia. Perhaps because it is so different from what we have here. I like that feeling that you're walking from one world to another.

November 2012