Heidi Alexander

Photographer

Partly thanks to my father, I've had the urge to make photographs since childhood. Travelling and exploring came mainly from my mother; we had a childhood home in Switzerland, but were taken on regular road trips throughout Europe during the late 1950's and 1960's. In the 1970's my heart chose marriage and motherhood over an offer at David Hurn's Documentary Photography course at Newport in Wales. But I spent my first pregnancy building a darkroom and then took my camera to mother & toddler groups. By the late 90's I relinquished analogue for digital and, despite accompanying issues, I welcome its democratic availability and affordability.
This collection is mainly digital, but recently scanned 35mm negatives provoke a bit of nostalgia for the old analogue Leica M4.They are in the portfolio called "Stockport Collection".
A selection of The Stockport Collection was published in the Guardian on 21.1.2021 (click on link) The Guardian

This led me to initiate a fundraising campaign through Kickstarter to print a book of the collection. (click on link)
Kickstarter

The campaign was successful and the book is now available directly from me via the contact page. £20 + £6 UK postage, international postage on request.

"Tempus Valor" is a personal project completed at Edinburgh University,
College of Art, in 2013.

My wider, international travels are in "Postcards".

I had hoped to continue with "This Mighty Girl" from February 2020, but a certain unwelcome visitor called C-19 blocked the doorway.
Comments and queries welcome; feel free to get in touch on the contact page.

"Photography is the simplest thing in the world,
but it is incredibly complicated to make it really work."
(Martin Parr)

PORTFOLIOS > Tempus Valor

Tempus Valor
The title of this project is Latin for “time value” (TV), or shutter speed priority.

My learning intention was primarily technical: to relinquish the familiar comfort of AV (aperture priority) and to try to express the excitement of movement in still photographic imagery. Images with evidence of movement always made a strong emotional impact on me. Further inspiration and was found in Ernst Haas’ (1921-1986) philosophy and photography, and Roland Barthes’ (Camera Lucida, 1980) concept of ‘punctum’, i.e. to try to make images which “pierce” the viewer beyond words.

The goal was to take photographs of professional classical dancers. However, to gain sufficient confidence and achieve acceptable images with shutter speeds of 30th of a second, I needed to practise with a variety of subjects and locations.

Blackford Pond, in late afternoon autumn sunshine, was the one subject for practice to which I returned several times. To finish, I did gain access to photograph a classical dance rehearsal. But it was images of the birds in flight, taken during my practice process, which inadvertently, yet clearly, emerged as the body of work expressing my intention.

My expectation to learn the technicalities of “time value” was eclipsed by a lesson in valuing time, appreciating process and welcoming the wordless aesthetic of the unexpected, sometimes ambiguous outcome. The inherent beauty of many of the images became the tangible reward for relinquishing familiar control in favour of unpredictable exploration.

I return regularly to Blackford Pond, in November, with a camera.

PORTFOLIOS > This Mighty Girl

My "This Mighty Girl" Muse: HW

I have been photographing HW on and off since she was a week old. She has become my Mighty Girl Muse.

Greta Thunberg is our current well known No.1 Mighty Girl. I see other, less famous young women and girls with individual mightiness, managing new challenges such as social media alongside ongoing patriarchy. I rejoice in seeing them being supported and encouraged to hold on to their unique natures with the determination to fulfil their own potential.

Through this project I want to celebrate mighty girls with portraits which demonstrate their own individual "mightiness".

Do you know a Mighty Girl?

Apparently they are a Force amongst us!

PORTFOLIOS > This Mighty Girl

This Mighty Girl 2 : OC

"I love my femininity and when I was younger I felt that being ‘girly’ was perceived as a negative thing, as ‘girly girls’ were not taken seriously. I think now, however, women are becoming more able to express and be proud of their femininity. Makeup, fashion, jewellery are all things that are typically associated with being ‘girly’ and I love these things but I equally love politics, hiking up Munros and travelling to weird and wonderful places. I think this is what makes me mighty. I am proud to be a ‘girly girl’ because there’s always much more to me than people initially expect.

I find I often surprise people when they realise that as well as being bubbly and smiley, I am ALSO incredibly determined, intelligent and feisty."

PORTFOLIOS > This Mighty Girl

This Mighty Girl 3 : NM

"I like gymnastics and ballet and soccer and dancing.

I can do cartwheels and handstands. There are boys on my soccer team.

The things I like about being a girl are having long hair and freckles and I like pink and purple and turquoise and blue. And I believe in God. And I like learning and writing and drawing.

I can do running writing! I can beat my older brother at Battlefront on the PlayStation.

What makes me a Mighty Girl?
My freckles. "

PORTFOLIOS > This Mighty Girl

This Mighty Girl 4 : TC

"I've lived in Africa and then Asia and I can still sing the Kenyan national anthem in Swahili. I helped at the animal orphanage where I once got attacked by an orphanded lion cub who was having a bad day. He dug his claws into my back; I still have the scars. The lion cub knew me; It made me appreciate that wild animals are always wild and will never be pets.
The Singaporeans were obsessed with my red hair and pale skin.I learned to stick out my tongue.
Gymnastics is my favourite activity followed by diving. I can dive from third board of the Commonwealth Pool. I love music, and I can play violin and piano and guitar. When we left Bali I gave my books and toys to the local childrens' orphanage.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind."

PORTFOLIOS > This Mighty Girl

This Mighty Girl 5 : HT

"Mighty means being able to show that everyone can make a difference in this world and that everyone's view matters. Femininity means being proud of who you are and willing to stick up for yourself and for other girls; to stand up for your own equal deserving rights and work hard to reach your goal. I love being a girl because we have things to fight for. Some things don't come easy for us but we are willing to prove ourselves and fight for what we believe in, prove ourselves worthy. It can be disheartening when someone puts us down. But it just makes me want to fight for who I am even more. The biggest challenge for girls and women is being accepted for who we are and not being judged on how we look and what we do....I hope that the world becomes more equal and we can tackle problems like wars and climate change before it's too late."

Portfolios

PORTFOLIOS > The Stockport Collection, 1976 -77

In April 2020, during the first UK Covid-19 lockdown, I found myself looking through my 35 mm film archive, or, more accurately, my "messy stash". Along with the old family photo I wanted, I discovered a few other folders of negatives. Some of these were images made during two or three weekend visits to Stockport Market in Manchester in 1976 and 1977, when I had exposed several rolls of film with the old Leica M4 camera. At the time, I was a full-time student at Stirling University, then a parent with a full-time career in Social Work. The negatives went into storage and forgotten. For forty-three years.

Looking at the photographs now, with 21st Century eyes, it seems they could have been made in the 1950's. The surroundings, clothing and faces show clear evidence of a community accustomed to daily hardship and poverty.

But the smiles, some shy, some surprised, some proud, bring back rich memories of busyness and business, of the noise of chat and activity which characterise any thriving, traditional market environment.

One or two noticed a young female with a camera, and some looked suspicious. But most were too busy finding that bargain or exchanging the latest gossip, or shouting out their wares or singing their hymns. Even in the winter, the atmosphere was unmistakably warm and sociable.

It was a time before the internet, before Brexit and Covid-19 and zoom meetings. It was a time when a living community, with predictable customs based on necessary mutual reliance, provided that sense of belonging which has become so elusive in our current online lifestyles.

Update: In July 2020 I started posting some of the images on Instagram, where they were spotted by The British Cultural Archive. This led to a blog post on their website.
(click on link):British Cutural Archive

Update No.2: On 21.1.2021 The Guardian published a selection of The Stockport Collection in the Arts and Culture section. I could not be more chuffed for Stockport Market.
(click on link) The Guardian

Update No.3: Due to popular demand I can now offer packs of six images as postcards. The cost is £7.50 including pp.in the UK. Please see the contact page to email me for a prompt response.

Update No.4: On 21.5.21 I launched a Kickstarter fund raising campaign to print a BOOK of the The Stockport Collection. Click on the link to see the full story and be inspired to pledge!
Kickstarter

Update No.5: The Stockport Collection book, hardback, 116 pages, beautifully designed by Robert Shaw of Northbank with foreword by Paul Morley, is available to order directly from me via my contact page here. Price: £20 +£6UK postage. International postage available on request.

Prints are also available via the 'contact' page of this website.

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from Scotland

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from London

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from Switzerland

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from Italy

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from Turkey

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from India

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from the USA

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from Paris

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from England

Heidi Alexander

PORTFOLIOS >Postcards> Postcards from Vietnam

July 2021
Summer is finally with us. This image from our garden last year reminds me to focus on the fragile light of life that will come again.
And to breathe through the excitement of producing my first proper photo book, The Stockport Collection. Write to me via the contact page for your copy!

Heidi Alexander

Photographer

I welcome any comments or queries about my work. I also welcome any memories and information connected to the Stockport Collection. Prints of most of the images on this website are available for purchase. Packs of postcards from black and white images in The Stockport Collection are also available at £7.50 incl.pp in the UK.
The beautiful 116 page hardback book The Stockport Collection , designed by Robert Shaw of Northbank and foreword by Paul Morley, is now available directly from me for £20 + pp. Please email me with your requests.