Born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Alexander Sharkey departed the city to study Film and Photography at Ithaca College, NY. A love for adventure and nature grew while traveling throughout Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Europe and the United States. From 2010-2015, Sharkey pursued his artform in Cape May, New Jersey, partaking in regional art shows, juried exhibits, and local galleries. Sharkey now resides and continues his photography in Lennox Head, NSW Australia.
My photography is drawn from the intrinsic values that make a scene interesting and beautiful. I am attracted to the often-disregarded subject. With the world around us moving so fast, sometimes we forget to pause and realize the hidden beauties within arm’s reach. However, something beautiful does not need to have the straightforward definition of beauty. Shapes, lines, and patterns, along with color, contrast, and lighting are aspects of beauty that attract my attention.
My body of work encompasses moments in our natural surroundings, where scenes are not staged and people are not directed. The color and lighting are what naturally occur and the finished piece of art stays true to the original moment. However, my interpretation of nature is not simply flora and fauna or landscapes and sunsets. In a broader sense it is our environment, both organic and manmade. Our everyday scenery has become second nature and my goal as a photographer is to engage the viewer to perceive nature and our surroundings in an abstract manner.
While abstract may seem as far from nature as possible, when our environment is captured in an unfamiliar way it allows that photograph to have an open definition. I use a camera to transform something real and resolute into something intangible that can be interpreted. I want this to spark a connection between the viewer and the image that begins a conversation and evokes an emotion. These feelings redefine something two-dimensional into something multi-dimensional, beyond what we perceive naturally.
A photograph needs to speak for itself from the moment it is envisioned and the shutter released, not with improvements made later in post production. I refrain from digitally manipulating, “photoshopping”, my imagery and limit the digital process to what traditionally is performed in a darkroom (cropping, color balance, exposure, tone curve, dodging & burning). You will not find my photographs for digital sale or in mass reproduction, but hanging in homes and businesses to be discussed and enjoyed for many years to come.
"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer" ~Ansel Adams
Finding Art in Architecture (September, 2015)
Solo Exhibition | Ocean City Arts Center | Ocean City, NJ
“Finding Art in Architecture” is a photographic series that questions the viewer’s perception. I’ve always been intrigued by how a building can take on the shape of other things. Windows, doors, and mouldings can transform into eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. When exploring neighborhoods, this is how I view architecture.
A good example of this is when I was travelling down south and captured “Head of Savannah.” But unlike many other photographs I have taken in the past, my first impression upon looking at this image is not that of a building, but a face, an abstract face akin to Pablo Picasso’s “Portrait of a Woman.”
That day in Savannah, Georgia inspired the theme for this series. I wanted to capture architecture, yet make the viewers first impression not be architecture. Simply, I want the viewer to perceive art. Abstracting shapes, lines, and colors can transform something concrete into something abstract. Each person’s individual interpretation will be different. The details the viewer find will vary and change how he or she connects with the photograph.
Some pieces are even so abstract, with no grounding in their orientation, that the image can drastically change by rotating its side. The way I perceive the piece is how you are viewing it now. However all of these pieces are designed to hang in any orientation. See how the piece changes. See what speaks to you.
Art is subjective and meant to be enjoyed by the viewer. When our surroundings are flipped on edge it brings new light to the things we overlook everyday. Inanimate becomes animate. What we perceive as defined becomes undefined. Maybe the places we live, work, and pass are still buildings, or maybe we are surrounded by art.
Rehoboth Art League Regional Juried Exhibition (October, 2014)
“Innocence” | Rehobeth Art League | Rehobeth, DE
Selected for a month-long regional exhibition, “Innocence” is a very special photograph for me. All three elements – sand castle, girls, and kite – are unrelated. The sand castle was built by a family weeks prior to this photograph. I came to this beach wanting to photograph the castle and all its intricate details. It happened to be a very windy day and an older gentleman was flying this impressive colorful kite. The two young girls in the photo were playfully chasing the kite and what followed was the moment captured… a moment of imagination, youth, and joy. It is a moment that makes anyone appreciate the innocence and simplicity of how we all can find happiness.
The exhibition, juried by Anke Van Wagenberg, Curator at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, was open to any medium created by artists from the Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. area.
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