Digital FeaturesLa LunaAlexandra Drewniak
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Alexandra Drewniak


© Levin.MN

Photography: Alexandra Drewniak Camera: Leica SL2 with Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 f/2.8–4 ASPH.

The Australian photographer is well-versed in a variety of creative pursuits. As for photography, she deems her Leica SL2 the perfect tool for artistic projects. Her circle of friends includes the songwriter and recording artist George Maple, whose debut album, Lover, reached #2 in the Australian iTunes Charts in 2017. Drewniak has attended Maple’s concerts with her SL2 to capture the singer, as well as fellow musicians and DJs, in their element – both on and off the stage.

We have spoken to the photographer about her career path to date, why she loves working with the SL2, and which projects might be in the pipeline for the near future.

How did you first discover photography, and what led you to dedicate your life to the medium?
I’ve always been creative. I play the piano, have always loved drawing and have even made my own clothes. When I was around 19, I assisted a photographer on a job, just out of interest. I quickly found that I was obsessed with it, and now I live and breathe it. I hate mediocrity, so I just immersed myself in it – reading books, watching tutorials, learning from my peers and asking a million questions. Over the years I’ve realised that I love telling stories  through my imagery.

Who, would you say, has influenced your path to finding your own way of seeing?
I am really grateful to my mentor, Lucas Dawson ( and @lucasdawsonphotography on Instagram – ed. note). He taught me how to shoot and read light. He also encouraged me to problem-solve, always maintaining that there is no environment too tricky to shoot in. He taught me the business side of the industry, and how to communicate with clients and lighting teams. I owe him a lot. From a stylistic perspective, I love Helmut Newton, Chris Colls and Sasha Samsonova.

Is there a connection between your photography and other disciplines of visual art? And if yes, which artist has impressed you in particular?
I love multimedia and video. One of my favourite artists is JR (pseudonym of a French photographer and street artist – ed. note). It’s just amazing how he has managed to make such an impact with his photography, which consists of large-scale pieces of Street Art.

What does photography mean to you? How would you describe its purpose and possible limitations?  
I feel so lucky to have actually found what I love. Photography allows me to express myself. It feels like an extension of my mind and body. The way I see the world changes when I look at it through a lens. Every day I see so much beauty in people, on the streets, and I get to share this. It takes me on some amazing adventures and allows me to see the world. I wouldn’t change a thing.

The images you selected for this feature are in colour as well as black-and-white. Are there times when you prefer one over the other?
I use black and white in order to convey a timeless quality. It simplifies the image, and gets the viewer to really focus on what is happening within the scene. Also, both texture and contrast tend to be more pronounced, so if there are any aspects of your subject that you would like to emphasise, black and white really lends itself to bringing out specific qualities and features.  

How do you find working with the Leica SL2?
So far, the entire SL2 experience has been amazing. Before working with the SL2, I felt creatively stifled. Photography had started to feel a lot like work rather than pleasure. Shooting with this camera has reminded me of why I love what I do – not least because it makes me look at light differently.

Which lenses did you use for this project, and what were the considerations that informed your choice?
I like to keep things simple. I’m obsessed with the Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 f/2.8–4 Asph. It’s so versatile that I don’t have to change lenses during a shoot. It just complements my workflow better than any other lens.

How do the images you create with the SL2 differ from your previous work?
I tend to save the SL for especially creative jobs – the ones where I’m working one-on-one with an artist, or when I’m shooting with an artistic mindset and may want to turn some of the images into prints. When I first started posting images I had taken with the Leica SL2, people immediately noticed improvements in the quality of my work. The sharpness, the moody lighting – it is significantly different.

Where did you capture the concert shots?
The images featured here were shot in Sydney, Australia, at a venue called Pamela’s. It's a beautiful jazz bar where my dear friend George Maple decided to perform an acoustic set. She usually performs sold-out shows and festivals around the world.

Do you mostly work with natural light?
Oh, I use everything! It just depends on the stylistic approach I intend to take. In music photography, using the flash gives the image a fun, party look; natural light, on the other hand, really lets you gauge the actual mood of the situation. I like to mix it up and do both.  

How do you envision the future evolution of your visual language?
I want to exhibit my work and share my travel stories. I just want to keep exploring new landscapes and continue to be inspired on a daily basis; to see things that people don’t often get to see.

Are there any projects you have set your sights on for the near future?
I would like to travel around Russia, where my family are originally from, and document what life is really like there. I last went when I was 16, and I think I’m due to go back and see what it’s like now. I also want to keep shooting campaigns and work with brands that aim to convey a deeper message, rather than produce the kind of empty ‘filler’ ads we are usually flooded with. In essence, I want to keep telling people’s stories through my imagery.