Alex Geller’s cityscape photography makes the Mile High City look good from any angle
"I was immediately inspired by the skyline and city lights."
Some of Alex Geller’s photographs give you vertigo if you look at them long enough. Others make you realize just how absolutely miniscule we really are in the grand scope of cities — even one the size of Denver. Still others are peaceful — serene — exposed — ideal for the Gram.
They’re all rad, though: capturing charismatic angles of Denver at different times of day; expressing the hustle bustle of Colorado’s mountain roads; showing off the inside of some neat real estate. You could call Geller an urban portrait artist. You could call him a talented landscape documentarian. You might say he’s clever with exposure.
Whatever you call Geller, you have to admit he’s got an eye — for whatever it is he’s shooting. Photography is just what Geller does, wherever he goes. And damnit we’re glad for that — because the photos he turning out are awesome.
How did you get into photography/pick up a camera?
I remember getting a little green ninja turtles polaroid camera for my birthday when I was 5. Then at 13, I wanted to photograph my friends skateboarding and one day be published in Thrasher magazine. So around 2000, before digital took over, I bought a Nikon film camera that had a motordrive so I could do the skateboard sequences. I still have that camera and shot black and white with it in college, developing my own film in my home darkroom. Learning the basics by shooting film made me slow down and be thoughtful with each exposure. I'm thankful that I built that foundation before I completely switched to digital.
What attracts you to photography as a medium of art?
Photography is a great way to hold on to moments and memories. I love to document my adventures, whether that's a sunrise in the mountains or a sunset in the city using a drone. Nowadays we all do it with our phone. But with a DSLR, a tripod and a zoom lens your options to be creative with that documentation is quite a bit wider and I always like to have those creative options.
You have an eye for photographing cityscapes, buildings and structures - what about those subjects keeps you focused on them?
Before moving to Denver in 2013, I went to college in the small beach town of Monterey, so moving to a big city was quite a contrast in subject matter. I was immediately inspired by the skyline and city lights.
Plus, I photograph architecture and real estate for a living so I'm fortunate enough to get access to some unique vantage points while on the job. Shooting spaces and buildings has become a passion of mine and chasing (or creating) that special light that makes a photograph pop can be a challenge, but a very rewarding one when you get it.
I also take inspiration from what makes certain structures unique. And then how can I embrace that difference and use light or motion or the surroundings to make an interesting photograph.
If you could work on any dream project (budget isn't an issue) anywhere in the world, what would it be/why?
My dream project would combine my love for the mountains, traveling and architectural photography and create a book or series on the cabins and cottages that stand among the Dolomite mountain range in Northern Italy.
Do you always have a camera with you?
I always have my iphone. If I know the location is going to be photogenic I try to take my camera. But my camera is from 2012, it's heavy, and if I'm going to hoof it up a mountain I want to make sure it's worth the haul.
Does photographing a place/scene change the way you personally experience it?
Definitely. I see and think in terms of photographic composition and how can I shoot this so that I can capture and edit this scene so that it will turn out how I want. But I will often remind myself to slow down, breathe and enjoy, don't just document it for the gram or my portfolio.