Alex Strohl is a Madrid born, French photographer whose work is characterized by his extraordinary existence. Instead of creating contrived scenes, Strohl creates authentic moments, continually blurring the lines between work and life.
Strohl’s photography has been featured in prestigious publications such as Forbes, Vanity Fair, and Gentleman’s Journal; his client lists includes dozens of household names. He is based in Whitefish, Montana—but spends the vas majority of his time on the road with his life partner Andrea Dabene; they often journey to the most remote reaches of the world.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your background.
Alex Strohl: Well. I grew up in Spain, outside Madrid in the Sierras. That really shaped my love for the outdoors, my father was a forest engineer and so I spent a great deal of my childhood roaming the mountains and forests surrounding my house. I’ve been very lucky to take that passion and turn it into my work.
What are some of the most unique experiences you have had working with photography?
A.S.: The experiences I really cherish are observing people in unique environments, finding small sub-cultures in remote locations. From cowboys in Montana to fisherman in Norway it is a beautiful thing to watch the simplicity and purpose with which these people build their lives around. These are the types of stories I hope to tell through my work.
Is Instagram your most utilized social media platform? If not, what are the others?
A.S.: Instagram is definitely the primary platform, although I have been having fun with some others. 500px is one, it has a very clean and straightforward layout, Twitter is great too, such a powerful platform for direct interaction.
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What is the coolest place you have traveled and where is the next destination you want to photograph?
A.S.: Alaska, that question comes up a lot and other places have been incredible as well, but Alaska is something truly special. The vast, rugged and unforgiving terrain is unlike anything else. The next spot is Ushuaia, a region in southern Argentina, we only got a glimpse of Patagonia the first visit and have been excited to get back ever since. This time, I really want to engage with the people and get closer to the culture.
How did you become a photographer? Has it always been a big interest of yours? What other interests do you have?
A.S.: Organically at first, just taking photos exploring in the south of France as a teenager. From that point it was a few years before I started taking it seriously, in university a friend asked me to shoot him free-skiing, after that it started becoming more serious than just a hobby. Outside of photography I love many of the things I hope to capture, backcountry skiing, hiking, camping, dirt biking anything that brings you closer to the outdoors.
Where do you find inspiration for your photos?
A.S.: Mainly just spending time in nature, having time alone for self-reflection, looking at similar scenes from different perspectives. Books and music have a big influence, particularly of late, reading stories about some of the great adventurers. Perhaps most of all surrounding myself with like-minded people, people with unique stories, who challenge me to push the boundaries.
Describe a typical day for you.
A regular day is pretty simple, wake up at about the same time every day, the alarm is set for 8. After that Andrea and I will have breakfast, she’s usually up a little before me. Then it’s out to shoot, probably something I scouted the day before. Home for lunch and some office time, back out to shoot in the evening and then home for dinner. The evenings are usually reserved for relaxation, spending time with Andrea, reading, maybe a movie, something chill.
You have a book called “Alternative Living”, please tell me more about this!
It’s based on a project across Europe, aimed at exploring the way people live away from the beaten path, here’s a glimpse of the prologue; “Alternative Living aims to offer a glimpse into the lives of people living on the periphery of society, whether nestled high up in the mountains far from paved roads or running water, or tucked away down an unforgiving arctic fjord and accessed only by boat. It is an idea, romantic for most, about life off the grid. About being self-sufficient and connected with nature, about escaping the grips of society, of finding life off the grid and adopting something away from the status quo. There is something beautiful in proximity to nature, about tending to vegetables in the garden and cutting wood for the fire, about true exposure to the elements and becoming intimately familiar with your environment. It is almost as if we have a deep, imprinted longing to return to a place lost in the city, to listen to the wind rush wildly through the trees, to see the animals wander absentmindedly down our path and to watch, unobstructed, the vast infinity of the stars. The idea of alternative living, I guess, is a longing for simplicity in an ever more complicated world.”