Can you remember when you first held a camera?
Yes, it was an analog camera belonging to a classmate that photographed me.
What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?
My school enrollment.
Can you tell me an iconic photographer whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images?
I admire the work of Irving Penn - he shows his talent not only in fashion and portrait photography, but also in still life and artistic photography.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
Photography is a subjective medium, there are different male but also different female gazes. In principle, I think that your own view is formed from your experience as a photographer, your self-image and the ability to convey your ideas to the outside world.
What was your first beauty shoot?
A friend who discovered fashion as his medium, supported me and so we shot at a see at five o'clock in the morning, analogue and black and white. That's when I learned that it is important to leave your comfort zone when taking photos in order to take special pictures.
What do you love most about Beauty Photography?
I love the playfulness of photography, there are no real limits. I like to create unusual compositions and break with conventions.
What do you most hate about Beauty Photography?
When there are disagreements in the team.
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about // who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
I would be surprised.
Statistics show that only 1 in 10 of the big money jobs i.e. womenswear-, beauty- and perfume campaigns are shot by women. Is there just no qualified female photographers out there?
I believe that you have to prove yourself by your talent, not your gender. I don't believe in quotas. Everyone has to perform, regardless of whether they are male or female.
What would need to change in your opinion to get more women shooting the big prestigious covers and the big money jobs?
Women have to develop the ability and self-esteem in themselves to be able to confidently establish themselves in the market. This is only possible if you work on a unique visual language and don't hide your talent.
One says it takes 10’000 hours to become a master of a craft, how long in hours/days/years did it take you to make a living?
Definitely twice as long.
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?
I worked with Alexandra von Fürst: she has a very sensitive and talented photographer. She creates the balance between fashion and commercial photography.
Who is your female fashion designer icon and who is your the one to watch?
I like Vivienne Westwood, her persistence, her metamophosis from punk to haute couture, ...
What makes you feel comfortable on set?
I love small, intimate sets with few people involved. I also like music and beautiful light from the outside.
How important is your team?
I have a solid base of people I enjoy working with: uncomplicated, creative creatures.
What do you say about the charge that all fashion photography is predominantly sexist?
I think it used to be like that, but at the moment I experience fashion photography as liberal and cosmopolitan.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion & Beauty Photography?
Feminism is not a new invention; Feminists were very radical in the 1970s and thanks to you we have made a lot of progress.
What is your favorite shoot in you portfolio?
It is actually my personal work where mother child bonding is concerned.
What was your relation to design/fashion/beauty prior to working in this industry? Has it changed?
I've been with it for twenty years. I still find it exciting to see what happens there. For me, the fashion industry with art is the most exciting of all.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were ever given and what advice would you have wished for earlier on in your career?
"Look inside yourself and show the world what is really important to you in your photography".
What is your next big project or goal for your career?
In the commercial path I would love to shoot a Cover Story for Vogue Magazine. In the artistic path i would love to make a Exhibition about Censorship with international Artists, who suffer under Instagrams restrictions.
Is there anything in particular you'd like to accomplish?
I would like to see that photography as a medium is explored more. It is a very complex medium that is at home in everyday culture as well as in the world of the arts. It is both representational and manipulative at the same time. I want to dedicate myself to research
Alina is bringing out her first book "The Beauty of Imperfection". Dorothee Achenbach introduces the book:
"Disturbing, beguiling, excitingly different, not to be overlooked - Alina Gross' photographs are of tremendous suggestive power. The internationally renowned photographer has developed a visual and photographic language that immediately fascinates the viewer and demands a great deal from him. Her motifs are women and their bodies, the metaphors and ambivalences of sexuality and gender. Undisguised and unadorned, realistic and yet so irritatingly alienated or re-enacted with objects that our focus becomes a new one. We have to let go of the classic erotic thought pattern that is inevitably associated with nudity and the allusion to genitals. In unusual pictorial inventions she combines the bodies and body parts with flowers, fabrics, jewels and paint or paints them colorfully. Unflattering poses or disturbingly intimate details counteract the prevailing thinking about the most advantageous and perfect representation of naked bodies. In her colorful productions hovers a hint of criticism of prevailing ideals of beauty and gender classifications or the ideas of what a woman should look like and how she should pose. Her view does not show the bodies perfectly or shamefully, and yet - or precisely because of this - the photographs are of shimmering beauty. The images irritate in a joyful way and set off a journey inside us - a mental cinema, inspired by the sensuality and originality of these photographs. These illustrate above all show one thing: The great strength, self-confidence and power of women. Women's empowerment at it's best."
Alina's work: https://alina-gross.com