Alexander Newman was born in Oshawa, Canada to Jamaican parents and spent his childhood moving between locations in the Northeastern United States, China, and the Midwest. He graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with a BFA in Photography in 2017, and has since relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he currently lives and works. His artwork is heavily influenced by the power of the geographic site. Diasporic identities, the uncanny nature of modernized landscapes, and the presence of ancestral power in physical space are all elements which inform his practice. As 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.
About the Collective, In Rapture
In Rapture, so named for the rapture with which we hold our ancestors who came before us, explores 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.
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. Our work ties together the process of reconciling our ancestral history with the present moment, the marshalling of religious imagery and images of divinity from classical painting, and the creation of a space that is simultaneously real and otherworldly.
2017 BFA in Photography, San Francisco Art Institute
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, Delaware County Community College, 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, excerpt form “The Mirror Series” (2016)
2018 Adun Journal, excerpt from “The Mirror Series” (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 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, additional samples of my commercial photography work and a list of professional references are all available upon request.