Q+A with Alex McClelland, Photographer + Romantic

Atlanta-based creative Alex McClelland has a unique quietude about her, rooted in a compelling combination of vision, drive and originality. As a photographer, Alex brings whimsy and romance to all of her portraits. You see a different side of her creative vision in her graphic design, though it too has layers of detail and precise balance. A friend of the BYOM team and an inspiration to Featured Muse Kristel Harlacher, Alex is a wonderful representation of everything BYOM stands for. We’re so excited to share her story. Let’s get started.

The Basics

  • Age: 23
  • Location: Today, it’s Atlanta, GA.
  • Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Field of Interest: Photography, good design, bringing creative concepts to life, styling, and making people happy and more open-minded.
  • What Inspired You Today? Chapter Five in John C. Maxwell’s 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.
  • What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself? My rose-colored glasses. I always like to find the pretty in the ugly.

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Questions + Answers

As a photographer and graphic designer, you have a clear vision and almost ethereal aesthetic. Did you have to cultivate that, or was it something that came naturally to you?

I think my inclination toward the ethereal comes from my romantic view of the world, and I can honestly say that I’ve always been that way. I remember as a kid sitting on my front lawn on a quilt and just laying there, so happy with the sun on my face.

I always liked thinking that little things had meaning in them. The in-between moments and details of the world that were often overlooked were my favorite. I’m not afraid to admit that my soul is stirred by little things; wind in the trees, looking just at the right time to see an old couple lean in and kiss. Seeking the beauty and calm in the chaos has always been the most comfortable to me.

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Do you have any rituals or habits that you do before you start or when you’re working?

As cliche as it may sound, I stretch a lot. I usually stretch and try to think about nothing for five minutes. It helps me center myself and gain my focus. Then I’ll take five minutes and write out a list…. I’m a huge list-writer. I have lists for just about everything. There is something so satisfying in getting to cross something off on a piece of paper. (I get that habit from my mom).

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I also drink a ridiculous amount of green tea. I don’t get that habit from my mom, but I heard it’s supposed to be good for your immune system and metabolism, so now I drink it really only out of habit.

What’s your favorite time of day, and why?

My favorite time of day is sunrise. As a photographer, I feel like I’m obligated to favor sunrise or sunset because of that golden-hour magic light. But I like sunrise and the small time right before. You’re witnessing your day unfold. It’s a gift that’s never guaranteed, and you get to do with it what you want. Is that too deep? Am I getting weird?

You’re currently exploring a hand-lettering practice. As someone who works mostly in digital media and design, how does that influence your pursuit of this very handmade, even antiquated artistry?

Well, it makes it interesting. You have to learn how to take your design off the pad and paper to the computer, whether it’s a mock-up sketch or a finished product. I learn something new about that process every day and I’m never at a loss for inspiration or tutorials in the hand-lettering department.

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My hand-lettering girl crush is Jessica Hische. Look her up, seriously. She’s hilarious, intelligent, and crazy stupid talented. Lately, I’ve really liked incorporating my hand-lettering with my photography. There’s more of that to come on my blog!

What’s your favorite thing that you learned recently? Or, what’s something that moved you?

My favorite thing I learned recently is a new editing trick in Lightroom, my favorite photo editing software. I guess that’s not really that exciting, but it looks professional and expedites the editing process and you know, time is money.

Something that moved me recently… Honestly? I just heard this quote and I keep going back to it because it makes so much sense to me.

“If it’s both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it.”

Erada Svetlana, photographer

I think it applies to something in my life at least once daily. I think everyone should live by this. Take risks! Learn to love being uncomfortable!

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Who Inspires You?

There are so many people who inspire me. That optimistic streak in me makes me seek and hold onto the good things in people around me. I think there’s something to learn from everyone.

First, my mom, Betsy McClelland, inspires me. She is the one who has instilled in me a thirst for continuous growth. She’s an incredible leader and teacher. She’s not afraid to admit that she doesn’t know everything, but she’s the first to ask questions and is eager to learn and grow. I admire that, and I’ve witnessed firsthand what it can do to enrich your life. Desiring and leading a life filled with purpose and passion is a gift she has given me.

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My newest friend in Atlanta, Margaret Snider  also inspires me. She is one of the best parts about living here! She is a creative soul, like myself, and she is continuously pushing me to get outside my comfort zone. Margaret and I work together very often, and our ideas tend to compound on each others and something good always comes from it. We both also seek to be original in what we do. She brings me back down to earth and is the realist to my rose-colored-glasses-optimist.

Connect with Alex on her website, Facebook and Instagram.

+ Know any other incredible photographers we should feature? You know the drill. Tell us!
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