Who is Alex Abaunza?


19 years old.
By this age, most of us are on the search for a career. Some of us are just starting to think about it. Some of us are trying to prolong the inevitable.

...And then there is Alex Abaunza. Alex is getting paid to hang out with the likes of Skrillex, Alison Wonderland, SNBRN, Flosstradamus, The Chainsmokers, and RL Grime- just to name a few. Lots of questions popped into our head when we heard the buzz on this young festival documenter that seems to be everywhere at once these days. Alex was kind enough to answer those questions, and let us get to know a little about him in the meantime.
For those who may be unfamiliar with you and your work, please introduce yourself.

I guess to start, I’m Alex, a nineteen year old freelance photographer living in both New York and LA. I primarily photograph concerts and festivals, but also do a bit of fashion and portraiture on the side. Originally from the Bay Area but made my way to New York for school. I’m currently in NYU Tisch School of The Arts for Photography and Imaging. 

What got you interested in concert photography?

A good friend of mine in high school who was a few years older than me, Will Savage, took photos at concerts. Before hitting him up asking how he got to be at all these concerts, I hadn’t even been to a concert to just attend. At this point I was the typical high school photographer, shooting sports at school, getting a few small portrait gigs here and there, kinda trying to do a little of everything.  I hit him up on Twitter asking how he got into all of it and he helped guide me. 
Your work focuses mostly on EDM. What about the electronic music scene grabs your attention?

The production, the music, and the culture of musicians fascinates me. Most of my friends now are somehow involved in the electronic music scene. Late nights and early mornings are what I live for, although my body occasionally disagrees. This scene is constantly evolving and how people grow and fall really interests me. It’s really something else. So many different artists and collectives are out there that most of the time it takes something very different to stand out from the crowd.

What is a standout moment to you in your career so far?

No specific moment really. About a year ago I was hardly traveling and working nation wide, but now it’s hard to catch me in either New York, LA, or the Bay Area for more than just a couple of days. Getting emails and dm’s from people telling me I’m their favorite photographer and I’ve inspired them has also been something that I consider a standout moment. 
For someone who is just starting out, what's one point you would make to them for success in this industry?

For someone starting out in this industry, my best advice to give someone is to make sure they do it right and know your worth. So many young photographers I’ve seen have come up from undercutting hardworking photographers. The guys that have been doing this for a while, including myself, receive most of their income from working in this industry. Be sure to pay your dues and work for a blog or publication. You won’t be making money or get all access right away. Be in that pit for the first three songs and get some experience. Learn from your mistakes and don’t rush the process because at the end of the day if you jump into this thing solely because it’s “cool”, you won’t get very far. 

Tell us a crazy story you were a part of involving your work.

There’s a lot haha but I’ll give a recent one. So a couple of weeks ago I moved back to New York since I was in LA for most of the Summer when I wasn’t traveling. Anyway, I had to figure out a way to get back to New York since I had a few days till I needed to move in. I had a press shoot in Venice with one of my new artists around dinnertime. During the shoot I get confirmed for a couple of artists at Breakaway Fest in Ohio. I pulled out my laptop while shooting to book a flight for 6 AM. From the shoot I went to SNBRN’s apartment where we got ready to go to The Yost where he was playing that night. We take a limo and head to the show. Finally the show ends at 2 AM and we get back to LA around 3. I get to my apartment around 3:30 and scattered to pack for New York into just a duffle bag. I get ready and leave my place at 5 AM, getting to the airport just in time to make my 6 AM flight. I landed at 3:30 PM, head to the hotel to drop things off very quickly, and then go shoot my dude Prince Fox at Breakaway Fest. Then the next day took photos for Ookay and Alison Wonderland. Then the next day I moved to New York. 

What's your current equipment setup looking like?

So my current set up is:
- Canon 5D Mark 3
- Canon 35 1.4L
- Canon 17-40 4L
- Canon 100 2.8 L
- Sigma 20 1.4 Art
- Sigma 50 1.4 Art 
- Canon Speedlite 430 Ex ii 

For film I shoot with a Mamiya 645 Pro TL

Then for random documentation of my life, I just picked up a Sony Rx100 IV a couple of days ago! This little thing is so sick.
What is your favorite artist at the moment?

My favorite artist at the moment has to be Travis Scott, his new album is insane. 

Lastly, how do you Live From Within?

 I Live From Within by doing things I’m passionate about. Before I bought my last pair of glasses, on the inside they had a quote that said “I’ve always admitted that I’m ruled by my passions” Seeing it over and over again made me realize that all of my life has been dictated by the things that I’m passionate about. 
Alex on FACEBOOK
 Alex on INSTAGRAM
Alex on TWITTER

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