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|• drop-in backgrounds|
|• drop-in backgrounds video|
|• bio & contact —|
1238 Pennsylvania Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
The road to photography was not a direct one. Born in the former Soviet Union, Alexei Afonin started his career as an actor at age 12. He held a number of leading roles in films and TV shows on Moscow Central Television for several years. In 1974 at the age of 17 he immigrated with his family to the United States.
Shortly after he traveled through Canada, Europe, Mexico and most of the US for several years and at the end decided to settle in New York City. He tried a few careers (including directing, back to acting etc.), all of them representing some form of artistic expression. He then studied Figurative Painting at the Art Students League in New York City, and Ecole Des Beaux Art in Paris, then back to NYC at New York Studio School. After his studies, he practiced his craft at a small beach bungalow in Long Island, NY and exhibited his extraordinary work at various art galleries and colleges. Alexei had a gift of making a painting come alive. His style of painting was so realistic in capturing a person's essence that he decided to go into photography. He started by photographing his own paintings and friends, then his work was starting to be recognized, so naturally, jobs started pouring in.
The more he shot, the more he loved it, shooting everything from beautiful landscapes to people, to art to products. His explorations led him to shooting stills for a motion picture, where he was hired on the spot as a staff photographer for a Fashion Trade Magazine. This is what set off his passion for fashion photography. He worked with the magazine for seven years during which time he nearly perfected his skills in brilliant/outstanding lighting and composition.
Now Alexei owns a successful studio in midtown Manhattan, where he shoots Advertisements, Magazine Editorial Spreads, Catalogues, Lookbooks, Actor's Headshots, Model's Portfolios for Agencies and Independent models, and Stills. Alexei has developed a specific talent for capturing the beauty in Hair photography. Some of his clients include Hype Hair, Braids & Beauty, Ultimate Weaves & Extensions magazines and Shake'n'Go, Beauty Plus, Kaneka, Sensual Hair, Roma Lee, to name a few, hair companies.
Along with Alexei's tremendous skill and talent, he also has an edge over other photographers: “Dropped-In Backgrounds.” This is done by shooting the subject in studio, and placing him or her in an alternate setting. He uses images from his extensive library of 15,000 images (also shot by Alexei) of various landscapes and cityscapes, tropical, urban, alleys, beaches, deserts, international destinations and more. These images are used as backgrounds. And it looks completely natural, as if they were actually there. This process automatically makes the photograph more intense and beautiful, and it is all done in house. Therefore the client will save money on airfare, hotels and other travel fees that they would normally incur for an on-location shoot. There are samples of his Dropped-In Backgrounds on the website.
Alexei Afonin's biggest strength is his versatile life experience. He applies those lessons when photographing a subject to produce the optimal photograph.
Alexei's life philosophy is, "Even though life is like performing psychic brain surgery on yourself, in a battlefield of mirrors - the truth is to never give up."