The lens of Raymond Alva, a photographer who resides in Southern California, feels equally at home capturing studio photographs transformed by in-camera techniques as well as documentary work suffused with the rawness of the moment, a characteristic he uses to describe his own work. “[I’ve skateboarded] my whole life and, as a result, my work reflects the grit and punchiness I saw in the magazines while growing up,” he states. Having shot photos since his parents gave him his first camera at sixteen, Alva soon realized the creative potential that photography held. Familiarity with each factor helps inform his creative process: “When color is involved, I like to make sure it is used in a way that pushes the story forward and hooks the viewer in,” Alva says. “Whether in a studio or on location, I want to make sure that whatever [camera] I’m using—whether a 35mm rangefinder or a digital single-lens reflex—it helps me showcase the stories and characters in front of my lens.” He finds inspiration in photography’s power to show new perspectives or a whole new way of observing. “I hope to challenge people’s perception of the things I document,” he says. “I hope that when people look at my work, they would see the subject in a different way than before. Maybe it helps them see the subject’s beauty. Maybe it helps them see something in their own lives.”
The work of this Bandung, Indonesia– and Brooklyn, New York–based illustrator peers into his inner perception of the external world.