july catalog: meet the photographer

it started when our creative director discovered the sisters of the black moon and began printing their lookbook photos from various tumblrs and blogs like cosmic dust and sun in scorpio, and hanging them for inspiration. she didn’t realize the photography was current- their decayed, weathered look led her to believe they were vintage 70s shots. then one day last year she received an email from the photographer, alexandra valenti, and was shocked to find that she was a living person from this time period! alexandra found us since we were working with her friend leslie crow from heyoka leather, who she also shoots with. immediately we knew we had to work with this photographer – and the rest is history!

read on for an interview with the beautiful soul alexandra valenti and see some of the amazing outtakes from our july catalog shoot.

When and why did you first get into photography?

I started pretty young and always loved it. After I finished college, I moved to NYC and assisted fashion photographer, Sante D’orazio. I didn’t know anything about the fashion world and not that much about the technical side of photography, at least not at that professional level – I was the WORST assistant ever. He’d probably tell you that too. But he and I became very dear friends and I paid attention and learned so much. I thought I’d end up making movies, so I moved to LA and wrote scripts, but I didn’t like how long it took to make something (which is, it took FOREVER). And that frustrated me beyond belief. So I moved to Austin and I went back to photography, and started to develop a style and a voice in images in a quiet way, on my own time. I’m a very, very late bloomer.


We all love your work with the Sisters of the Black Moon. How did you guys meet?

I think we met at Alecia’s birthday party at a place called Shangrila in Austin. I knew who they were, and I had major girl crushes on them! We started hanging out and soon after I asked them if I could take pictures of them at a swimming hole nearby.


Do you have a favorite moment from the Free People catalog shoot?

It was all so great! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and I”m so insanely grateful for it. I feel like I made new friends, it wasn’t just a job, you know? That’s a pretty special experience to have – I didn’t want the shoot to end. Doub is my hero. What a beautiful, generous, loving woman… all of my friends fell in love with her. I kinda wanna put her in my pocket and take her with me everywhere. And I just loved all the models – Ashley Smith was a dream, I’d shoot her everyday of the week if I could! I guess, one of the best moments, though, was when the band was playing as I was shooting. All my friends were there, it felt so comfortable, it was a love fest from the get go! That and the last night when we went to eat at the Mexican restaurant, and we shut it down. They were sweeping up around us :)


If you had a time machine, where would you go?

The future to see if everything I dream about comes true.
Or back when I was struggling to tell myself it’s all gonna be just fine. Ha!

Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

Old paperback book covers from the 60’s and 70’s.


Who are some of your personal favorite photographers/artists?

Oh man, there are so many. Maybe the anonymous photographers from the turn of the century or family snap shots that were shot with Polaroids in the 60’s and 70’s. As for fine artists, I’d say self-taught, outsider artists – people who make art, houses and furniture out of scrap material.

What music are you listening to right now?

Two things: My Willie Nelson Pandora station.
And my rooster crowing in the garden. He’s a mean punk ass SOB.
But his crow kills me, so funny. Except at 4:30 in the morning. That’s when I wanna ring his neck.


Favorite book?

Autobiography of a Yogi and the Bhagavad Gita, the Eswaren translation.
Both changed me immeasurably.

What do you love most about living in Austin?

You don’t have to drive very far to get anywhere… the swimming holes (when there’s not a drought!)…and the people, my friends. There’s a real sense of community here. I’ve never felt that way about any other city I’ve lived in.


Tell me something most people don’t know about you.

Hmm, I don’t know, I’m kind of honest to a fault. I feel like as I get older I realize I’m like everyone else… same fears, a dreamer… I’m no better, no different than anyone else. I wear my heart on my sleeve most the time and pretty wide open about my feelings… man, sounds so boring. I should have more secrets. I’ll work on that.


view the july catalog shot by alexandra valenti in its entirety, right here.

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Flowery lauri
12 years ago

I love autobiography of a yogi :) it also changed my life !

12 years ago

wow she’s amazing. the bhagavad gita is amazing and definitely a life-changer!


12 years ago

This is really inspirational. Her work is amazing! I love when you gals interview photographers. I’m an *amateur photographer* myself so I have lots of respect for these fine folk. (:

12 years ago

What a great interview, such a cool story on how you found her for your shorts. She seems to mesh well with the FP vibe.


12 years ago

I love her work…I go on her site all of the time. She was great to have photograph this catalog, because she has a Fall like vibe that she brings across in her work. I thought that the garments in the catalog blended well with her style of photography. You can always tell her work apart from other photographer’s!

12 years ago

Wow! What a down-to-earth woman! I love hearing about the behind the scenes stuff from your catalog shots, but mostly what I love, is reading interviews about the amazing people who take your gorgeous clothing, and turn it into art in the catalog! Being a part of, or just watching the catalog shoots looks like so much fun! xoxo

12 years ago

she sounds just like Austin :)
I miss home sooo much and this post just made my homesickness a little bit better, thank you!


12 years ago

love her work and loved reading this interview. its always nice to know who is behind the camera :)


12 years ago

love this sister! i have followed her and her crew for a few years, and have always wanted to just LIVE in her photos. great styling always, dreamy images, wonderful women!

congrats alexandra & sotbm!

12 years ago

she is awesome and uh she totally has secrets… like WHAT is the color process for the sisters of the black moon photos??? They have the effect of magical secret spells, and should probably stay that way.

12 years ago

I’ve had my eye on her for the longest time! I adore her photography!!

12 years ago

Alexandra is an amazing talent, beautiful and has a spirit you want to be around to feel her creativity rub off on you! She did my photography and design for my cd and made it really stand out–made people want to listen to it!-really! Her eye and brain work simultaneously and you get to be the spectator and subject all at the same time. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

12 years ago

Love her images and passion..would love to work with her someday!! xxx

12 years ago


11 years ago

Very informative. Love it.