Hi Alexander, can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you? What do you do for a living?
My name’s Alexander Lloyd and I’m a 22 year old photographer from Liverpool. I’ve always been into cars – I played with Hot Wheels as a kid and, as I got older, I started playing car video games like Forza Motorsport. It may sound strange, but Forza is where I first started really getting into photography as there is a camera mode built into the game!
For a living, I work in digital marketing and earlier this month I set up my own social media marketing agency in Liverpool. I believe that the marketing techniques, and concepts, that I’ve created provide me with a unique selling point over traditional digital marketing agencies. The best thing about it is that I use myself as a case study to prove it works.
When did you photography start getting more serious?
I got into photography and video as a hobby when I was 16, and my mother bought me my first DSLR – a Canon 550D – that I still have and use today as a second camera. I started off filming music videos for my friends and grew a YouTube channel to over 2,000 subscribers and nearly 2,000,000 views. It’s only in the past two years that I found myself seriously getting into photography, and it’s great to see how many people enjoy my work, especially as I’m still learning new things.
What is it about Liverpool that you like capturing in your photos? What made you start taking photos of the city?
I love trying to show people a possible new perspective of the city that they might not have seen before, or even just in a different style. Liverpool has such varied architecture; you can walk for five minutes and feel like you’ve time warped multiple times! I started off taking pictures of the city as I was inspired by one of my favourite photographers bora.vs.bora. I commuted to Liverpool City Centre every day for work, and always saw things I thought would make great photos. I always wished I had my camera, so one day I decided to just start taking it with me wherever I went and that’s how it all started.
At what point did your photography take off? You have a huge following on social media.
My photography really took off in November – December 2016 where my Instagram was growing by around 4,000 followers a month. I never once thought that many people would have an interest and enjoy my work so much, and it always puts a smile on my face when people comment or private message me their thoughts.
I always used to post my pictures on Instagram, but I’m quite a private person and never wanted to make my personal profiles public, but the people around me were always telling me that my pictures deserve so much more attention. So, I decided to create the AR.Lloyd alias to start sharing them online. This way I could share my photographs with the world and keep my personal life separate. That’s the reason I make the faces in my pictures anonymous. I think the mysterious, faceless approach will allow people’s imaginations to roam free!
“I commuted to Liverpool City Centre everyday for work and always saw things I thought would make great photos and I always wished I had my camera, so one day I decided to just start taking it with me wherever I went.”
ALEXANDER LLOYD – PHOTOGRAPHER
From your first photos, through to the ones you're taking now, you've obviously gained a lot of experience. How have your skills, and photographs, changed since then? Do you approach them in a different way now?
I personally think the main things I’ve improved are my framing of a shot and the development of my own editing style. I love the idea of people seeing one of my photographs and straight away being able to say ‘that is an AR.Lloyd photo’ simply by the way the image looks. When I first started, I made the mistake of just taking a photo and then finding an Adobe Lightroom preset I thought looked good and that was it. I never actually looked at the preset and worked out what it actually does to make the image look the way it does. Whereas, now I’ve actually created my own presets, which I then tailor for each photograph I take.
What surprises you the most when you're out photographing the city?
The sheer amount of people that want to talk. Whenever I start taking photos, people love to walk up and talk about photography. We end up just generally talking about great places to visit in Liverpool.
Can you give us some tips on taking great city photos?
My biggest tip would be to just walk, everywhere. I love driving, but if you want to get the perspectives people might not have seen before, or to find special little places, you have to go off the beaten track and generally they’re not accessible by car!
Is there anything you think we should avoid when taking photos?
I’d say avoid overthinking a shot. Most of my photographs that I’ve posted to Instagram weren’t planned at all. It is great to have a rough concept and image in your head of how you want something to look, but sometimes you just have to improvise what you have available and quite often the random shots can actually come out pretty good.
What are your top three photographs, and what's the story behind them?
London Wall – this is one of those unplanned photographs I was talking about. I was walking down Wall Street in London and spotted this shot. I love the varying different shapes like the straight edges of the skyscrapers, but then the curve of the building on the right, and the reds of the buses.
Puerto Banus – this epitomises Puerto Banus in my opinion. One of the wealthiest areas in Span basked in a golden sunset with multi-million pound yachts and a great mountain range in the background. What’s not to like?
Water Street – another improvised photo. I woke up to find Liverpool covered in fog, and I had the day off work during the Christmas holidays so I thought I’d go out and take some photos and I managed this shot. Currently, this is my favourite picture at the moment.
What piece of equipment, other than your cameras, do you think is the most important or useful?
For street photography, I’d say you’d want a light, but well-padded backpack, a lightweight easy to collapse tripod, and a good warm coat and gloves at this time of the year!
What are you currently driving?
I currently have a 2015 Skoda Octavia vRS DSG diesel estate as my load lugger, and I picked up a brand new VW Golf GTI DSG two months ago to have fun in!
If money was no object, what would be your perfect car?
It would have to be a McLaren 675LT. McLaren make some stunning cars at the moment, and I prefer them over their rivals.
Do you have any plans for your photography in the future?
I plan to just keep going out and getting shots and sharing them! It’s great seeing how many people enjoy my work through social media, and it’s a great privilege being able to share my photographs with them. I’ll also keep continuing to sell prints of them as I think the biggest compliment I receive is when someone places an order, they consider my work to be good enough to hang up in their home or office!