Alex Cockwill is an aspiring engineer and photographer from Coventry. He started taking photos seriously about two and a half years ago, and describes his photographic journey as a meandering path from holiday snaps, to outdoor landscapes, to city architecture, through to a current mix of street and architecture scenes. Seeing London through the lens of his camera has opened up limitless photo possibilities, paving the way for many great experiences.
I like to describe my photography as bold, urban and dynamic. I believe images should catch the observer’s eye. I have always tried to incorporate bold contrast and colour, especially regarding the shadows of an image. Being of a red-haired nature, I tend to be drawn to orange tones, so I try to accent these in my work where I can.
In terms of my creative focus, it lagged behind for a long portion of my life. I was always pretty poor at art during school. My painting skills were rather lacklustre, so I often commissioned homework by my twin sister! While studying design and technology, I realised my strengths lay in technical/conceptual drawings, giving way to my interest in engineering and technology. Naturally, I feel most at home photographing the city, given the architectural lines—especially ones like London—where there is a contrasting mix of contemporary and brutalist architecture.
We forget that London is a world-class city right on our doorstep. I’ve lived in the UK my whole life, but I only used to visit London with my family once or twice a year max. This all changed once I began visiting with my camera during my first year of university. I discovered the incredible depth that the city has to offer. For me, London has it all. It is one of the most walkable cities in the world. Its contrasting architecture, vibrant culture and iconic transport system make it a pleasure to explore. Often, you feel like you are walking in your own movie, given its international portrayal in film and print.
Recently, I’ve been asking myself ‘what does this evoke to me’? I believe not every photo has to have a deep story to it. I’ve come to understand, it is more about the emotions experienced when pressing the shutter button that define whether a shot is impactful to me or not. I am also actively working on trying to build more of a narrative into my work.
Instagram has 100% been one of my biggest influences due to the accessibility and simplicity of the platform. Being able to reach out to other photographers and follow creatives who are insanely talented, all in a curated feed, has opened me up to new styles that I wouldn’t have previously considered. It’s allowed me to find daily inspiration. Stylistically, I am finding YouTube also playing an influence.
From a creative aspect, music is a massive inspiration, especially when editing photos, getting into the right mood and finding that flow state. I find it makes the end results dramatically better. In regard to work ethic, my dad is a huge inspiration to me, alongside seeing fellow friends putting out great work. I didn’t understand the benefits of collaboration for developing creative skills until I joined Instagram. It is without a doubt one of my favourite aspects of the platform. I’ve met some great friends through the platform. I’ve learnt a lot regarding photography techniques, and just being able to try new styles with help from those who are exceptionally talented in their own field.
I’ve just finished my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering as a student at Coventry University, and I’m hoping to do my masters in Innovation and Technology Management at Bath. I’m a ‘full-time ginger and part time engineer’. I’ve lived in a small town called Pyrford my whole life. And, I have grown up with my twin sister, who I get on with really well!
What has photography taught me as a person? Patience! Everyone has some form of creative spark, and finally the importance of making time for myself. I find walking and photographing the city therapeutic in nature, and so is a good way to relieve stress and lets me figure things out.