The Opposite of Wanderlust

Focusing on the most sedate areas around his home, Alex Mercadefe seeks out the interesting in the everyday.

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Mar 13 2015, 3:00pm

Alex Mercadefe started shooting at an age when most people get their first body hair. His work is clean, minimal, and extremely refined for someone so young. If that didn't make you feel shitty enough about yourself, the Californian is also half-way blind. Focusing on the most sedate areas around his home, he seeks out the interesting in the everyday. And in many ways is the antithesis of the modern wanderlust photographer.

VICE: So you shoot mostly around Inland Empire?
Alex Mercadefe: I take my camera everywhere. Like to a restaurant, I take it to the bathroom, it never leaves me. But yeah, mostly around IE and Cali.

Are you part of a community or more of a lone wolf photographer?
Pretty much a lone wolf, I'm by myself most of the time. I take the train a lot, I'm just obsessed with having new content all the time. Gotta make every day count.

What attracted you to having such a minimalist style? It's almost like a long series of studies. Always single layered, one focal point, one event.
I guess it was just organic. I was just walking around and started noticing little things, like a pink pole or a yellow driveway. Just anything that stands out to me.

Would you say there's a sense of humor in your work?
I do whatever just to get a photograph, I'll do anything. The other day I made my friend eat pizza off the ground in the street. So yeah, you could say that.

You used to shoot medium format, is there any reason you went to a smaller film size?
I used to have a Hasselblad 501, but I just got tired of it, I have bad eyesight, so I found it really hard to focus with.

That's interesting to invest your time in a visual medium when you find it hard to see. Has it changed the way you photograph?
Yeah, I stick to point and shoots mostly, it's hard to focus. I'd like to get the Contax G2 as it's a rangefinder with autofocus, but other than that my eyesight is fucked, so I can't really do anything.

What's for dinner?
Some chicken, some corn.

Keeping it Minimal?
Always.

Words by Ben Thomson. Follow him on Instagram.

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