A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for celebrity and fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski, an added dose of poetry can stir even greater emotion. In Talk to Me Always: Poetry, Prose, and Photography, the royal wedding photographer combines dreamy visuals and verses he’s written throughout the years. A reflection on such themes as love, family, hope, courage, and inspiration, the book dives deep into what fuels his creativity.
Lubomirski’s hope is his introspection will inspire readers to share their light. To that end, he is donating all the proceeds of the publication to Concern Worldwide, a humanitarian organization that provides nutrition, health services, and emergency relief to vulnerable communities.
Ahead, Lubomirski chats with BAZAAR.com about melding photography and poetry, and how these creative outlets serve him during trying times.
You started writing poetry 12 years ago. Where did this interest come from?
I started writing a journal when I was in my early teens, and it helped me greatly to process my emotions and insecurities during those formative years. I continued through my 20s, and then, in my 30s, my journal entries started to become more poetic. For me, it was a very natural progression to be able to acknowledge and process my feelings in a more creative manner than just documenting them.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a book that combines poetry and photography?
Interestingly, it took me a while to accept the idea of photography and poetry together. We all carry so many visual references in our head, so when we see a photograph, it can immediately trigger certain emotions based on what we see—whether it is a look in the eye of the subject, a certain color palette, or a particular lighting. At first, I believed that the emotion that the photo created would pollute the emotion that the poem would create. However, I gradually realized that instead of taking from each other, they could—if chosen correctly—elevate each other.
What are the subjects that most capture your attention?
In terms of poetry, the subjects of my writing come from a very diverse range. I am inspired mostly by my wife and children, but subjects of death, spirituality, purpose, hope, and, of course, love and romance all play a big part. When we got married 10 years ago, I decided to write my wife, Giada, a poem every month as a way of injecting a continuous, small amount of romance into a marriage. So in total, after each month, with the addition of all the special occasions, I have written about 230 poems for her. She was nice enough to let me have two or three of them for this book.
What are the messages you are trying to convey with each juxtaposition?
When I photographed Bruce Springsteen, I asked him whether he was able to force himself to write songs or whether they came organically. He explained to me that sometimes, and only sometimes, you can force creativity. Other times, you unwittingly tap into something and it gushes out of you—sometimes in one song, sometimes in ten. Creative people are simply the conduits for what comes out of the creative ether.
These poems are simply my translation of experiences and emotions, and how they affect me, and hopefully, people who read it will be able to relate to them or find some solace in the words. Unfortunately, a lot of us drown out our thoughts with a constant din of imagery and sound, through our phones and laptops. We never allow ourselves to stop, think, and ponder life’s larger questions.
Why was it important that you donate all the proceeds to Concern Worldwide?
When hope and change are in desperate need, we are all called to ask ourselves how we can be of service. Within every movement, there are fighters and diplomats, foot soldiers and storytellers, each using their particular skill sets to shift the narrative, inspire transformation, and create a brighter future. My skill set involves being creative, using photography and poetry to inspire people. I believe strongly in the flow of blessings, and I have been incredibly fortunate and blessed in my career as a photographer. So with this book of poetry and photography, I hope to spread a little light by touching and inspiring its readers with my words of hope, love, family, and change, while raising money for the amazing humanitarian charity, Concern Worldwide.
Do you plan on creating more books with the same theme?
Absolutely. I am a crazy Virgo, with constant projects on the go, and poetry is something that I do organically. So if people like this book, then I will be happy to make another. I also have a new children’s book coming out in 2022, as well as another photography book coming out in 2021.
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