Behind the Lens with Alexis Brown

Can you introduce yourself?

Hello, I’m Alexis Brown, also known as Byaib on social media. Based in DC and NYC, I’m a documentarian and artist with a focus on dance photography, events, intimacy, connectivity, and the interplay of flow and energy. My work is distinguished by a deliberate use of heavy shadows, adding depth to the visual narrative. Join me in exploring the subtleties of movement and the complex dynamics of human connections through my lens.

Lakai Dance Theatre '21
Road to the Phoenix

How did you get interested in and started with photography?

My journey into photography began during my 10th-grade year in high school. The spark ignited when I toured my school’s darkroom, capturing my immediate interest. Over the next two years, under the guidance of my teacher, Mrs. Marks, I delved into the intricacies of black and white film photography. Mrs. Marks played a pivotal role in honing my skills, focusing on the fundamentals of camera operation and imparting invaluable teachings on reading light levels. Since those formative years, I’ve continued to experiment and cultivate a distinct style in photography that has significantly evolved.


How would you define your style as a photographer?

I characterize my photography style as akin to the law of attraction. I honed my skills by mastering the art of anticipating the perfect moment to “click the shutter,” particularly evident in my street photography where I capture intriguing strangers. In 2017, I ventured into documenting the DJ and party scene in NYC. What has always captivated me in photos are the dancers who move as if they’re shedding the weight off their shoulders. Rather than seeking the most prominent figure in the room, I focus on individuals whose energy resonates with me. 

DJ Quiana Parks

What inspires you to shoot at a specific location?

When opting for indoor shoots, I’m drawn to expansive spaces with tall ceilings. Creating sets within these spaces allows me to fulfill my creative objectives, and having ample room to materialize my imagination is a dream realized. Being able to have maximum space just to fill it out with my own imagination is always a dream come to life.


If I am shooting outdoors, the location would have to have lots of strong shadows regardless of day or night. The moodiness that is produced from this lighting provokes the type of emotions I prefer to convey in my work. 

Washington, DC '16

What type of gear do you use?

The primary tool in my photography arsenal is the Sony A7iii camera body. When it comes to shooting events, my preferred lens is the Rokinon 14mm AF. This choice is complemented by the use of a direct flash along with a modifier. The combination of this lens and lighting setup not only allows me to capture the essence of events but also proves invaluable in maximizing space, transforming even small venues into expansively immersive environments.

Intimate Moments - Corrin

Pick one of your recent photos shared in the Black Women Photographers group and tell us about it. Can you share the story behind why you chose that shot? 

BWPGrant - Road to the Phoenix

The photo I’ve chosen, “The Way Of The Phoenix,” visually encapsulates the emotional spectrum associated with growth and life’s transformative phases. Turning 30 last year marked a pivotal coming-of-age moment, prompting reflections on the significant shifts and “growing pains” experienced over the past three years.

On the outer edges of the photo, one can observe depictions of struggle and the sensation of being tossed around. Moving closer to the center, the emotional intensity lessens, suggesting a sense of getting the hang of things. Ultimately, at the photograph’s center, the intention was to convey the moment when everything clicks, and a sense of control is relinquished. This composition aims to resonate universally, portraying a journey we all can relate to and aspire towards.

What did you do to capture and edit it, and what did you want to achieve?

I aimed to achieve a ghostly layered look using the Bulb setting and compositing multiple images in Photoshop. Employing a three-light setup, I emphasized the pauses I directed the dancers to make. Two continuous lights on each side, while a flash with a snood created a spotlight effect to freeze poses in the center. In terms of color, the room was saturated in one primary color, with a different primary color for the backdrop. This provided flexibility to adjust colors according to the desired mood, and in this instance, I opted for a combination of blue and green.

Besides photography, what are some other passions of yours?

I’m the type of person who can’t resist exploring creative ideas that come to mind, giving each a try at least once, and if it resonates, I fully embrace it! In addition to photography, my other primary passion lies in constructing set designs and artist installations. A noteworthy recent project was the creation of an installation for a dance production titled “Manifest“, showcased at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Lakai Dance Theatre

What is the best way for people who are interested in your work to reach out to you?

For those looking to connect with me, the best channels are through my Instagram account @Byaib or by visiting my website at I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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