We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexis Stewart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexis, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
I have had the opportunity to read many books over the last 12 months that have been impactful in my life. I’ve read: We’re Going To Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union Becoming by Michelle Obama How Happiness Happens by Max Lucado The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey Let Love Have The Last Word by Common Born A Crime by Trevor Noah Although I’d like to pretend I sit with a book flipping through, page by page, highlighting important understandings, while I relax by crystal clear waters beachside, the reality is that I am walking or driving along in my ‘05 Nissan listening to Audible. Audible makes it possible for me to interact with and absorb amazing content. Although my beachside scenario is my summer dream and often a reality. Being able to listen while I walk or exercise is perfect with the usual day to day schedule. During quarantine, I’ve had more time to sit on a blanket in the sun, listening, or reading. Listening to someone’s life unfold is magical. Out of all the books that I’ve read, Born a Crime is certainly one that’s resonated with me right now for a variety of reasons. I like the book because it is raw, authentic and really gives a portrayal of his life growing up in South Africa. Noah vividly depicts how apartheid and racism impacted his entire world, sense of security, and well-being. I think that another reason why I really felt connected to Trevor Noah’s story was that he was able to overcome so many things that happened in his youth from abusive situations to financial challenges and come out on the other side with a smile. This level of grit was something that I could relate to. Anyone who watches The Daily Show can attest that he is freaking hilarious. When Noah describes his everyday life and how he survived prom (read the book), violence, inequality, and lack of resources it left me in awe. Trevor Noah shares a story of HOPE and perseverance. At a time when every facet of what we expect and can predict has been turned laterally and juxtaposed with fear due to COVID-19, we need HOPE. COVID- 19 has dramatically affected the way that we live our lives on an everyday basis and it will definitely be an opportunity for everyone to show how resilient they are within their homes micro and macro communities. Trevor Noah’s book inspired perseverance, grit, and also the ability to find a reason to smile and show appreciation for what we have, especially during this season in our society. I recommend this book if you have not read it, and if you have, read it again. If you’re an Audible user, listen as he narrates the story of his life. It felt like I was there, alongside Noah’s journey, learning, growing, and smiling along the way. The ability to smile when life is uncertain, act when you know it’s the only way to help others, and show compassion for others are all impactful lessons from this book that we can all apply daily.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The creative space to be surrounded by and give love is what feeds me as a photographer and educator. This surreal circumstance that we (yes, all of us) are in certainly changes how we operate, connect, and ultimately survive. So post -quarantine, I am ready to step outside, learn more about others, and capture their love stories through photography. Everything will be captured in order to cherish these moments during the event or shoot and after so every time you see the framed piece on your wall you remember the feeling of that moment. I am most excited to create framed art that shows stories of love after the quarantine is lifted and when, locally and globally, we can start to rebuild and renew. Words can not express how much I miss the interactions with my portrait and wedding clients. I most enjoy being able to work with individuals and couples who have built a life based on love. I capture engaged couples, newlyweds, models, entrepreneurs, and families. Being near creative and loving individuals who have built strong relationships and thriving businesses fills me with joy. My new focus has been on wedding photography and that is something that I absolutely love. From the very first meeting to the ceremony I get to better understand a journey of love. I want the world to know that I show, give, and capture #loveandgoodlight through AD Photography. Some lessons that I have learned along the way are all encapsulated in a prayer that my grandmother, Maya, used to say and that I grew up and still recite often. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” Having serenity allows me to find gratitude in place of complaints. Being courageous is a necessity as an entrepreneur. I have learned the value of my own perspective and my own voice. I grow each day in wisdom and grace because I create a space where I am allowed to make mistakes, try something different, and doodle outside of fixed structures. My photography pulls in all of these characteristics to make something that may be ordinary to some, yet beautiful to me, and others that have the creative spirit to appreciate it.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The best part about the “where would I take my best friend if she were visiting Atlanta” question is that Atlanta is the first and only city that my bestie, Denise Smith, and I have ever lived at the same time. We have been friends for decades and Atlanta has been the city we’ve both called home for the past several years. So where do we go and what do we do? Where to eat? A nice walk on the beltline can end and begin at Ladybird. The drinks are good and there is a laid back outdoor area to enjoy. Another great spot is Desta Ethiopian Kitchen where you will dine on the best Ethiopian food in the city. Moving to the west side of town, my side of town, visit Barcelona, a great place to grab a flight of wine and delicious tapas-style food. Then, walk around and do some shopping, perhaps have a taste of honey wine or beer at The Savannah Bee Company. Another move to see ATLANTA art, food, and music intertwine is stopping into Slim & Huskies for pizza. When you arrive, you’ll be glad you did after you take a look around. If you love music, art, and food then you’ll be in good company. Around town? See what’s on exhibit at The High. The art museum is full of fascinating and introspective pieces. I really loved viewing The Rise of the Sneaker Culture and experiencing Romare Bearden’s profile series, “SOMETHING OVER SOMETHING ELSE”. The African arts permanent installation is thought-provoking as well. One of my favorites from the collection is the 1980 work titled Uptown Manhattan Skyline: Storm Approaching. Places to explore include The Botanical Gardens in the spring when they have evening cocktails and a chef cooking by the vegetable area. Think magnolias and martinis while you walk around looking at the gorgeous views of whatever is blooming. My favorites are exotic plants and oh so pretty and delicate orchids.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Being in relationships is the key to success. I dedicate this SHOUT OUT to a friend of over 3 decades. Rashida Janine Harrington is a wonderful friend and amazing photographer who captured my headshot that I showed here, in addition to my wedding, and my respect as a wife and entrepreneur. Like me, Rashida is a newlywed and additionally, she works with her husband in Atlanta at their business Twenty and 3. Rashida and Jermaine describe Twenty and 3, as a one-stop-shop design agency, where each website, photo, and the printed piece is thoughtfully conceptualized and designed. The reason I am shouting them out is that their love flows into their business and this is a connection to my philosophy of #loveandgoodlight as a photographer.
Black Mermaid Images
Makeup Artist: Hannah Twiggs
Models @tasharrielsheree and @madame_zay
Styled Shoot Coordinator – Ashley Patty Productions
All other images: Alexis Doyle Stewart of AD Photography