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Meet Alexandra Dusterfeld of Alexandra Dusterfeld Art and Photography in Boston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandra Dusterfeld.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Well, if I look back there are a lot of starts and beginnings to this journey. I loved to draw and create as child, and I knew before even entering elementary school that I wanted to be an artist. I continued to foster my creativity by drawing, painting, and dancing throughout elementary school and high school which eventually led me to college at Mass Art here in Boston. This is when I first fell in love with photography and decided to major in it alongside majoring in printmaking. I often experimented by combining these two mediums, pushing beyond a traditional approach in both art forms. In retrospect, this ended up being the foundation for my digital artwork where I merge elements of drawing and photography together.

After college, I found myself in and out of art-related jobs, but nothing really clicked for me. I decided to pursue my love of yoga instead to support my creative goals. At the same time as pursuing yoga teacher training, I started working for lululemon, a luxury athletic wear company.

During my career at lululemon, one of my responsibilities was producing ambassador photoshoots for the region. I really enjoyed being part of the creative process, but I found myself wishing that I was the one behind the camera. I kept thinking back to my childhood dream of being an artist and realized I had never fully committed to it. I decided to take a leap faith and left my job at lululemon to turn my love for yoga, fitness, and photography into a business. My photography provided a lot of material to use in my digital art, so I started to produce more of that work as well. This in turn helped me grow the art portion of my business right alongside it.

It wasn’t easy to prioritize earning a living doing creative work over everything else in my life. I gave up everything – my apartment, a stable income, and more – to dedicate myself to my purpose. It is amazing what happens when you take a risk, a leap of faith and bet on yourself. It has been challenging and very rewarding all at once. So many things have come full circle since I started my journey. One of them being that I now am an ambassador photographer for lululemon and have been commissioned by them for my artwork as well.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As anyone in the creative or entrepreneurial fields will tell you, there is no such thing as a smooth road starting a business. It requires courage to take a leap of faith in these kind of endeavors, and the growing pains in the beginning are not easy, nor should they be. That bumpy road is there so that you can fail quickly and learn from your mistakes while there is not much at stake. Those experiences are there to strengthen and to fortify you, and to ultimately test your passion for your purpose. Although it has not been easy for me, it has sharpened my skills on a professional level and produced a lot of growth both personally and in my business.

I think the biggest struggle as a freelancer and artist is that nothing is guaranteed. I have had so many seemingly solid opportunities not pan out, or jobs that have fallen though at the last minute. A lot of times you are operating on faith that jobs will come in even when you don’t see anything on the horizon. It takes a lot of tenacity and trust to go with the ebb and flow of the business cycle. Balancing the flux between a flood of jobs coming in all at once and experiencing radio silence is a skill I am constantly refining. However, this challenge has taught me so much about managing expectations, clear communication, and mental fortitude.
In all, I am immensely grateful for all the struggles and road blocks I have experienced. The growth and wisdom I gained from them are invaluable and translate to every aspect of my life, not just my business.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
There are two sides to my business: digital art and commercial photography. The digital art I create is mainly focused on my own personal work. My process includes layering elements of digital drawing and photographs I have taken to create an image, which is then printed. The subject matter of these images is inspired by my spiritual experiences and perceptions of the world. I sell these pieces to both corporate and private clients, and have created pieces for commission, as well.

Commercial photography is what I am known most for and is focused on lifestyle, fitness, yoga and, most recently, travel photography. I specialize in creating images that are used as social media and web content for individuals and corporations in the yoga, fitness and wellness industries. With my photographs, I highlight what is at the heart of a brand by taking pictures of the people connected to it and telling stories that are meant to inspire.

Whether I am doing a photo shoot for a corporate client or making a commissioned piece of art for someone, I am most proud of the relationships I have formed with my clients. I care a great deal about connecting to each person I am working with and put a lot of effort into making sure they have a great experience not just a beautiful image.

What sets me apart from others is that I can translate the essence of a person or brand into visual form very easily and authentically. Whether it is an individual or a business, a photograph or digital artwork, I strive to capture what is at the very core of what I am photographing. I always see the creative process as a collaboration with my client and really leave space for them to come through in a powerful way. This way, the images are about connecting to a feeling, as well as to authentic beauty.

What were you like growing up?
Generally growing up I was introverted and shy, creative and playful, compassionate and sensitive, and most of all a dreamer.
My father is German, and I lived in Germany until the age of ten, and then moved to the US. My German upbringing has shaped who I was as a child and who I am now.

I always say my imagination, creativity and spirituality were born in the forests and mountains of the Bavarian Alps. My Grandmother would often read me German fairytales at bed time, and during the day the environment around me served as a backdrop for those tales. I would play for hours outside bringing those stories to life – going on imaginary adventures while climbing giant trees and crossing mountain streams. I would often be struck by the beauty that was around me while I was playing and can remember that even as a child that I was deeply moved by it. Those experiences instilled an ability to tap in to my surroundings on a deeper level and to connect me to the more mystical side of nature.

In my teenage years, I was a bit of a misfit who went against the mainstream. Whether it was piercing my nose at 15 or cutting all my hair off into a pixie cut I loved creative expression even if (or especially because) it raised some eyebrows. My interests beyond art involved exploring the spiritual side of the world as well as the world itself. I studied different religions and belief systems and was fascinated by crystals, astrology and the energy centers of the body known as chakras. I also loved to travel and to experience different cultures and was lucky enough to do so spending my summers in Germany visiting family.

Although I have changed I am not much different from when I was growing up. My pursuit of the mystical and spiritual, exploration and travel, and creativity and beauty are still a fundamental driving force in my purpose.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Alexandra Dusterfeld

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