Meet Alec Castillo, Winner of the Lifestyle Category

Looking at Alec Castillo’s work is like flicking through a photo album and feeling nostalgic for best friends you’ve never met.

No matter your age, Alec’s photos will make you yearn to be young again. The 23-year old photographer and musician who took the Lifestyle category of our 2017 Photo Comp did so with an intimate, dreamy portrait of friends on a New York rooftop, and a further dig into his portfolio will unearth much of the same. As the bassist and unofficial band photographer of his band The Nude Party (they do enjoy getting their kit off, it’s not just the name) Alec spends much of his time documenting the lives of his best mates, both on the road touring and around their nine-person household in a small town in upstate New York. We caught up with Alec to chat about inspirations, favourite gear, and that one time he got rocks thrown at him thanks to a kiss.

What are your plans for the $5k?

Buy photo and printing equipment. Pay bills. Invest in Bitcoin and pretend like I know what I’m doing. I don’t know.

What do you dig most about your winning photo?

I dig the time it puts me in. Moving from western NC to NY was an exciting transition for me. I’ve now spent so many nights in Brooklyn on a rooftop with a case of beer and some friends, sharing laughs until sunrise. I think this photo shows the magic I feel on nights like these.

Has taking a photo ever gotten you in trouble?

One time I had rocks thrown at me while on assignment shooting a music festival called Meltasia. I was shooting a picture of a couple kissing. Being drawn to documenting intimate moments can get you in trouble. I was actually shooting for Monster Children.

What’s the one shot that got away?

Can’t think of a specific shot. I try not to dwell on it…the one where I didn’t have my camera. I think every photographer can relate to that.

Who’s a photographer that inspires you and why?

I have too many I want to include in this answer. But as of late, I’m inspired by CJ Harvey. She takes incredible behind-the-scenes and concert photos of touring bands. As soon as she gets off a tour she cranks out a well-thought-out and designed zine and then hops on another tour. I admire her work ethic and passion for working in music.

You’ve got to escape from a burning building and you can only take one of your photos. What is it?

This picture I have of my parents and my dog when we were hiking.

What’s your favourite gear to shoot with and why?

I like any camera that takes a picture. I don’t think that film is better than digital or vice versa—it’s just used for different reasons. But I do love the process and format of my Hasselblad 500cm. I don’t shoot on it as much as I used to, but when I do I’m reminded of how to approach certain situations and slow myself down. To be more conscious of what I’m shooting instead of just clicking away.

If you could shoot one person, alive or dead, who would it be?

Don’t care for guns.

What was the first photo you remember being proud of?

I was 16 and it was summertime. A picture of a close friend of mine in the front seat of my car, curled up and facing the seat. Her long curly hair was covering her entire face. I still have the film and the printed photo.

See more from Alec on his website or follow him on Instagram @castilloalec

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