New Jersey, USA
Born in Kearny, NJ in 1963 AV Fernandez in an emerging photographer. His work expresses the importance of our connection to the natural world. Despite growing up in an urban, blue-collar town he was taught to appreciate the natural work while camping and fishing. Alex’s journey as an artist began at twelve when his father gave him a 35mm camera and some basic instruction during a family camping vacation. At fourteen he built a small darkroom and began learning the craft of print-making. After graduating from high school, he stepped out of the darkroom for good. A corporate career in telecommunications and family life limited his image making for many years. However, he continued to spend much of his vacation and spare time in the outdoors, back-packing, canoeing, and rock climbing. Twenty-five years passed and a series of trips to the American West awakened Alex’s desire to create images using the new, digital technology. He is largely self-taught but has studied with John Paul Caponigro and Jay Maisel.
Alex’s work has appeared in a group exhibition and Kean University in December 2015 and is included in private collections throughout the USA. He is a founding member of the Mill Street Photographers Salon in New Jersey.
Alex is currently working on a project documenting the birds and wildlife along the New Jersey shore.
My photography is a reflection of how I view the world. I grew up in a crumbling, industrial town and was immediately drawn to the haunted look of abandoned factories but also the surrounding meadowlands and rivers. When I was young, I was exposed to and learned to love nature through many family camping vacations and fishing trips. This is where I first learned to use a 35mm camera. I love being in the natural world and have spent much of my free time back-packing, canoeing and rock climbing. It makes me feel connected in a way that the world of words and ideas rarely does.
For many years I concentrated on the small details of nature. Then I took a trip to Yosemite National Park in the dead of winter and discovered a passion for wildlife photography. The process of wildlife photography is slow, and quiet. The ability to be patient and quiet is rewarded. I have found something precious that comes from the discipline of looking through the viewfinder for hours and hours. Carefully watching an animal’s behavior and habits. How it interacts with the environment, competitors, prey and predators. Carefully controlling my breathing as I squeeze the shutter release. For me, this is a beautiful, meditative experience. Watching. Waiting. Even Just Being There for long stretches with no wildlife in sight is a wonderful thing. I tell myself that something always happens eventually. Actually, something is always happening- period.
These are the feelings that I am trying to express through my photographs. Not a beautiful animal or scene. An environment. The “subject” and “background” are of equal importance. I am not documenting a bird or Bison or a what-have-you. These are individuals with personalities. And they are deeply connected to their world-their environment- in ways that we, as humans, have difficulty grasping. No separation between them and the world around them. And when I am out there looking at them through my camera, I can feel it too. This is what I am trying to make available to the viewer.
I strongly believe that we, as humans, cannot survive- let alone thrive- if we continue to take the natural world for granted. We have been given a precious gift and a huge responsibility. Humans are wiping species and habitats out of existence at an alarming rate. I hope to help people- in my own small way- to appreciate the natural world, it’s beauty, it’s interconnectedness and vitality. We cannot stand alone.