Interview with Conceptual/Nude photographer Alva Bernadine

Interview with Conceptual/Nude photographer Alva Bernadine


I was born in Grenada, West Indies and moved to Britain at the age of 6 to London. At the age of 10 I bought a toy camera that took blurred pictures, some of which my mother still has in the family album.

I became seriously interested in photography at the age of 21. My first pictures were of London tourist spots and the next year I started practicing my present style. I am self-taught and have never been an assistant.

I have worked mainly in the editorial field for over 30 years. I have photographed for numerous magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Elle, Sunday Times. I have had many profiles of my work in countries such as France, Spain, Italy, USA, Australia, Germany and, of course, Great Britain. I won the Vogue /Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award in 1987 for my series of shoe pictures entitled ‘The Fetish’ (self-portraits) and in 1997 and ‘98 I was nominated as Erotic Photographer of the Year here in Britain and eventually won the award in 2002 for my first book, Bernadinism, How to Dominate Men and Subjugate Women.

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© Alva Bernadine

Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?

One of my first influences was Rene Magritte. I was taking neo pictorial pictures of London at the time and when I saw his work I thought that would be the way to go.

Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?

I have always worked in both and up until recent years nearly all my erotic work was in B+W. This series, Succubus, began in the early 90s. I did these by double exposure in the camera. Much later I began using Photoshop.

How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?

Any series I do usually begins with one picture. If I like the image and think there can be more permutations of the theme then I start planning others. Sometimes I sketch out ideas but mostly I just write them down these days and take the list on the shoot. I always have to approach a shoot with several ideas. Mostly I don’t get through them all but I know where to start and if some other idea reveals its self I am willing to adapt.

– Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?

My photography goes wherever the next interesting idea takes me. I am hoping to exhibit a bit more this year.

Website: www.bernadinism.com/succubus

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine

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© Alva Bernadine


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