‘America fills me with questions. Some of these are basic curiosities about the place and its people, but the most jarring to me is: “What causes familiarity towards a place you have never been to before?" '
Alexander Missen is a British photographer who lives and works in London. In 2012, he received his First Class Honours degree in Photography from Middlesex University, where he currently works within the Art and Design faculty.
Missen’s personal work seeks to examine the cyclical nature of the relationship between the place and its aesthetic, simultaneously recording and creating it through photography. His series Q&A explores the nature of myth when applied to a collective understanding of the United States, investigating the relationship between a place and its own mythos. An ongoing project, Missen has so far visited 40 states, over 4 years, capturing America’s cultural markers – the flags, the cars, the mountain ranges – and critically examining their propagation as undoubted realities.
Intrigued by the concept that continued representation of these markers can create a sense of familiarity for the viewer, despite never having visited the place itself, Missen hopes to unpick these symbols, and in turn, the myth of America. Shooting on medium format film, his work evokes a cinematic representation of idealized American culture – bigger, better, but ultimately, a mythical, indistinct story.
Q&A has attracted attention from various publications including Photomonitor and Aint-Bad Magazine, which featured the project in 2014. Missen was also the featured photographer in the March 2016 for Life Framer.