Alex Bershaw is a portrait and documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York.
Skyline captures unleash the provocative side of timeless landmarks. His portraits evoke movie stills, frames of a story that came before and continues on. Looking at Alex's work, the viewer is treated to a hint of the long shadow cast by fleeting moments, a glimpse of the unexpected. Tapped into the living and breathing culture that informs each scene, one wonders not so much what’s in these images as what’s behind them. What’s that pulse?
In one way, the source comes from far-reaching ports. “When I was in the Navy, I got inspired by what I saw. I was seeing much of the world for the first time; sometimes culture shocked by the contrast. I leaned in.” While Alex served at sea, Dubai, Australia, England, Japan, Hong Kong and the Kingdom of Bahrain were revealed, and a drive to record what he saw grew strong. “Traveling around the globe, I lost a few rolls of film. But capturing all that was very important to me. When I make a photograph, I can connect, be present and plug-in.”
Though the passion blossomed at sea, the style is rooted in a childhood poring over the dramatic colors, art composition in classic comic books, graphic novels, the malign and whimsical undercurrents of Stanley Kubrick’s 1970s films. The compelling juxtapositions found in gatefold LP covers from same era still is still visually referenced. Later, inspired by the profound documentary & portrait photography of the great Gordon Parks, Joseph Rodríguez, Jamel Shabazz, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Clay Patrick McBride and Robert Frank to name a few.
Out of this inspiration and activity, another side has taken wing. In 2009 Alex co-founded Brooklyn Artsmith Collective along with Gigi Bio, Adam Suerte, Josh Goldstein and James and Karla Murray. That spring at Galapagos Arts Space in DUMBO, Brooklyn, the group’s first event raised over $9000 for the budget-cut art department at P.S. 261. In 2012, in partnership with Graham-Windham, NYC, Alex called upon fellow artists who have inspired him to produce a fundraiser at MyMoon, Brooklyn for foster children in their late teens. The team raised $10,000 in art sales to support the cause. “At their current age, these kids are rarely going to get adopted. The money went toward their education, a monetary boost to ready for the next phase of life,” he says, mindful always of the voyage to come. In 2017, Alex volunteered his labor and lens to document El Grito's Hurricane Maria donation collection for Puerto Rico in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for two months. "doing service and documenting the synergy of community coming together with a common goal was an incredible experience." The effort yielded 150 tons of perishable and non-perishable donations that went directly to Puerto Rican families living on the island, affected by Maria. Alex has served for two years on the Art For Tibet Committee, donating his time as an art curator, organizer and contributing artist. "I'm really grateful for the positive impact we've been able to make in the Tibetan Community." Alex is currently working on a commissioned two-year portrait project with the Riverside Park Conservancy due to launch in Nov 2021.
Alex Bershaw’s photography has been featured at Voyage LA Magazine,Urban Folk Art Gallery (Brooklyn), Re-Inspire, Goorin Bros. Hats, Rolling Stone (online), DIS Micro Gallery (NYC), Joyce Gordon Gallery (Oakland), Tibet House (NYC), Wonder Wheel Records, Maya Records, MOB Journal, Late Fee Magazine, Elegant Magazine.