Alexander Newman was born in Oshawa, Canada to Jamaican parents and spent his childhood moving between locations in the United States and China. He graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with a BFA in Photography in 2017, and has since relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His artwork is heavily influenced by the power of the geographic site. As a second generation immigrant, life in the diaspora and the presence of ancestral power in physical space are two elements which greatly inform his practice. A visual artist who works primarily with film photography, he sees this medium as a tool to create a complete and infinite observation of space, a process which allows one to pass through a deeply layered present, informed by both memory and spiritual power. He is a part of an artistic collective, In Rapture, where he is the principal photographer, and his sister, Dr. Rachel Grace Newman, is the creative director.
Alexander is currently the In-House Photographer and Creative Associate at Short Order Production House, in Wilmington, Delaware.
About the Collective, In Rapture
In Rapture is a collaborative art project comprised of two siblings; Alexander Newman is the principal photographer, and Dr. Rachel Grace Newman is the creative director. In Rapture, so named for the rapture with which we hold our ancestors who came before us, explores the complexities of history and identity through large-scale styled portraits and narrative photography. Our work seeks to access the ancestral world and repair ruptures to our ancestral lines caused by the interwoven histories of colonialism and capitalism.
We examine ancestral connections to geographic sites in a world impacted by the forced and voluntary migrations that took place under colonialism. The power of the geographic site plays a key role in our images. Whether that connection is represented through an echoing of the symbolism of the landscape, such as in the case of the ocean, or through an acknowledgement to the specific histories of occupants of the land itself, we avoid using the landscape as a “stage” for portraiture. The landscape is never simply a backdrop, but something that holds deep meaning, functioning as a living, spiritual element within the work. An important part of our project is to create a photographic portraiture of people of color that avoids visual strategies which partake in the histories of visual violence deeply intertwined in the history of photography, specifically its role in maintaining colonial modes of power. These modes, which center on the body, reify race as a biological or scientific reality thus erasing the complexities of a lived existence.
We are surrounded by the divine. In our work, we seek to create real spaces where people can thrive as magical, divine beings. Importantly, we use film to record these divine apparitions. With film we are left with a physical object, an imprint of light on the negative; a tangible document. Our work is an ongoing process of reconciling our ancestral history with the present moment. A process of marshalling religious imagery and images of divinity from classical painting, and the creation of a space that is simultaneously real and otherworldly.
For inquiries about prints or freelance work, please contact through email or Instagram.
2017 BFA in Photography, San Francisco Art Institute
2019 Temple of Sirius: An Exploration of Black Divinity, DVAA, Philadelphia, PA
2019 In The Mix, The Visual Arts Center at Boise State University, Boise, ID
2019 Shadows curated by LoosenArt, Millepiani, Rome, Italy
2018 215|610 CONTEMPORARY Juried Exhibition of Regional Emerging Artists, DCCC, Media, PA
2017 Fall BFA Show, Diego Rivera Gallery at SFAI, San Francisco, CA
2017 Melanogenesis, Paul Sack Gallery at SFAI, San Francisco, CA
2016 Forget The Romance, Bass & Reiner Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2016 WYRD: Visual Selections from a Choose Your Own Adventure Novel, Paul Sack Gallery at SFAI, San Francisco, CA
2016 Sacred and Profane, Arc Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2019 Foglifter, Volume 3 Issue 2, “The Mirror Looks Back” (2016)
2018 Adun Journal, “The Mirror Looks Back” (2016)
2019 Light Grey Art Lab Residency Program, Iceland
2017 “Eighty Years of Visual History: A Collection of Photography Exhibitions from the Archives of SFAI” Ghosts of the Tower, Atholl McBean Gallery at SFAI, San Francisco, CA
Awards and Accomplishments
Selected as one out of a group of ten international visual artists to participate in Light Grey Art Labs artist residency program in northern Iceland, during the summer of 2019.
Selected as a finalist of the The Independent photographer competition, “Theme: People”, judged by acclaimed American documentary photographer, Maggie Steber. Finalists are to be published in the Independent Photographer 2019 “Talents of the Year” photo book.
Selected as one of twenty winning photographers for the third theme of Life Framer Edition V, an open call, judged by the celebrated British documentarian and past president of Magnum Photos, Martin Parr, in November of 2018.
Invited to attend the June 2018 ReSignifications: The Black Mediterranean conference, hosted by NYU, at the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy. There, I discussed my photography practice with the art collective, In Rapture as part of a panel, “Framing Art, Artists and Fashion”.
Selected as one of the seven student finalists from the San Francisco Art Institute to take part in the Annie Leibovitz Master Class workshop filming, where students were allowed to ask questions and show portfolios to Annie Leibovitz as part of a dialogue about the craft of fashion and portrait photography.
Awarded Best in Show for Photography in the Fall 2017 BFA Exhibit at the San Francisco Art Institute
A C.V. detailing my professional experience is available upon request.