Wes Frazer

Wes Frazer is an energetic photographer based in Birmingham, Alabama, but he's always on the move. His work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Garden & Gun, Texas Monthly, and his captures of musicians and bands have appeared in NME, MOJO, and No Depression.  

Frazer was included in the 2015 PDN Photo Annual.

Location: Birmingham, AL  Website: wesfrazer.org Instagram: @wesfrazer

How did your interest in photography begin and how did you arrive at your current style?

My dad was an aspiring photographer at one point in his life. When I was a kid I found one of his camera, a Canon AE-1, in a closet. I shot a few rolls to no avail and opted for my mom's much easier to use Minolta point and shoot. We would travel a lot due to our family being spread across the country, and I often took up the role as photographer. In high school I shot photos of my friends and I skateboarding. I got a BFA in college and went to work as a kindergarten teacher while dabbling in making photos on the side. Eventually, with some bartending jobs peppered in throughout the years, I made it to making photos full time. I landed on my current style by years of practice and deciding what I wanted out of my photos. 

How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?

Depending on your medium it can certainly influence you. My surroundings, whether I'm in the South or on the West Coast, play a huge role in my work. 

Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?

I've always loved Walker Evans, William Christenberry, William Eggleston. While all of them aren't southern they all created work in the South that had a big impact on me. One of my best teachers was Melissa Springer whom I assisted a year or two while in college. She created some beautiful work focusing on snake-handling churches and female prisons. 

Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of? 

There's a tight knit group I roll with. Byron Sonnier, Jonathan Purvis, and John Lytle Wilson to name a few. 

Where do you go to draw inspiration?

Swimming holes.

Are there any aspects of the Southern aesthetic that you embrace or ones you consciously avoid?

I never think about it honestly. I just make the work I make. 

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

I think so. I'd like to do more shows, especially outside of the South.

Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.

I just had a show at Lowe Mill in Huntsville, AL, focusing on the Black Belt region of Alabama. I have many prints and a book from the show for sale on my site. The only thing in the near future is continuing work on my ongoing swimming hole series. I have 20 sheets of 4x5 film waiting to be used. 

Also, I've been collecting found photos for about 15- 20 years with no real plan as to what to do with them. When Instagram announced their new account-switching feature, I started a new account to showcase these lost gems. It's called disappeared_film.