Former photography student excels at his chosen profession
Alexander Just, 31, runs his own photography business. Alexander specializes in portrait work along with band and street life photography. He studied photography at Dakota County Technical College for several years and credits the professional relationships he built at DCTC as a key driving force behind his creativity and the success of his business.
While attending DCTC, Alexander participated in the SkillsUSA Minnesota State Leadership and Skills Conference, taking first place in the Photography competition, which earned him the opportunity to compete at the 2012 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC).
Alexander operates a photography studio in St. Paul, and you can view his work both on his website, Alexander Just Photography, and on Instagram at alexander_just. His portrait shots of people are extraordinary and frequently stunning.
“From a technical side, I would say it’s my style in lighting to tell a story,” Alexander said, explaining his approach to portrait work. “From an artistic side, it’s my ability show a person’s personality in an image. Everyone has the sense that there is more to them than what they’ve realized.”
Alexander Just: Artist statement
Expressive new ways of creating new work, while making them closer to art is my drive. Challenging conventions is part of this process.
Film is part of my articulation. Its statement is unique. Portraiture, bands, street life… they are all part of my subject matter.
I am Alexander Just. For the past 10 years photography has been my focus, my method of expression, and my way of sharing my vision with the world.
Alexander Just photography gallery
More about Alexander…
Alexander grew up in Eagan, Minnesota, and graduated from the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley, Class of 2007. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts.
“My favorite concerts have been the ones where I was able to interview and photograph the artists prior to the show,” Alexander said. “That includes FOXTRAX, Jaedyn James & the Hunger, and Kind Red Spirits.”
Alexander reports that he is a foodie. His favorite dishes are Mediterranean food, steak, BBQ and tacos—and also “pineapple belongs on pizza.” He resides in Minneapolis with three plants he received as gifts.
Alexander Just • Q & A
Why did you choose photography as your career path?
I was always drawn towards imagery more than anything else growing up. I was always drawing or painting as a child, but when I got my first opportunity to use a camera as a teenager, I just felt like it was right.
I was able to slow everything down in an attempt to tell a story in a frozen moment, a fraction of a second. To me, that really resonated and inspired me in a way few things have been able to do.
How did your education at DCTC help prepare you to become a professional photographer?
I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for DCTC. If I’m going to be completely transparent, the education can be found anywhere if you seek it. But the people you meet along the way can’t be replicated.
To this day, my peers are the safety net for my entire creative process. Watching them grow, getting their feedback and getting inspiration from them is a must.
What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
People—because people are the best and worst thing you’ll ever have to deal with in life.
What advice would you give students thinking about careers as professional photographers?
Don’t ever believe the work is done, whether its self-growth or education. There is always going to be someone better, but you can always better yourself.
What photographer has influenced your work the most and why?
Honestly, I can’t name a single one. Different photographers have inspired more or less over time. If I were to narrow it down for when I was in college, it would have to be Annie Leibovitz, Paolo Roversi and Albert Watson.
What is the greatest challenge to running your own business?
The day-to-day business stuff is the hardest part for me. Luckily, I was able to meet someone along my path at DCTC who helps me with that now. I can’t stress enough how important relationships are not only in life, but in business.
Do you have a favorite photo or series of photos in your portfolio?
Yes, absolutely—and the answer will always be the same. It’s the photograph I haven’t taken yet.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Ideally, I would like to be in a place where I’m still able to create and expand that part of my life, as well as growing into the space of motion-picture creation.
What person has influenced you the most in life?
I assume the person in front of me knows something I don’t—so I’m still waiting for the someone to inspire me in a way the person before didn’t.
More about the Photography program at DCTC…
Photography is a growing visual industry that requires highly trained professionals. As a student in our Professional Photography programs, you will learn about major aspects of photography through hands-on application of image capture. You will work in the college’s photo studios and on location with a focus on workflow, lighting, portraiture and products.
Post-production training in the Adobe Creative Cloud is included along with foundational courses in video capture, color management and print production. Important entrepreneurial courses are offered in the Professional Photography Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree.
Degree and diploma options
The A.A.S. degree includes business courses that prepare you for the current job market or for owning and managing your own photography business. If you’re looking at transferring to a four-year college or university, you can choose to earn an Individualized Studies Associate of Science (A.S.) degree.
Alexander Just • 11 Answers
- Favorite sport or physical activity: Skateboarding, weightlifting, hiking
- Place you would most like to visit: Morocco, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia
- Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Invest in crypto 2) Travel to every continent 3) Buy a boat plane
- Favorite TV show you’re watching now: I only watch YouTube at the moment—you don’t want to know how I waste time, but there I promise.
- Time period you would explore if you could time travel: I’m living through a local pandemic in a rich time in human history; I’m inspired by the times right now.
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: I want to be a father.
- Your national bird if you were your own country: Bald eagle
- Dream occupation: Artist
- Person you would most like to meet: Me in five years
- Skill you would most like to learn and master: Welding
- Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Overcoming our lack of enlightened imagination and our inability to see the necessity in suffering
Learn more about Professional Photography at DCTC by contacting:
Learn more about the Alumni Association at DCTC by contacting:
Foundation Development Director