My name is Noël Alvarenga and I’m a self-taught photographer who enjoys capturing the places I’ve witnessed and people I’ve been so fortunate enough to cross paths with since age 15. I’m currently 29 as of January 2015. As I type this now, I realize that I’ve been capturing moments for nearly half my lifetime. What a humbling thing. My heart could burst with the power of that of a supernova from all the beautiful people and moments I’ve been so lucky to capture. #blessed
THE BEGINNINGS: My family owned a video recorder in the 1980s. You know the one, the heavy piece of machinery that you strapped over your shoulder and put a VCR tape inside in order to capture fleeting moments in time. Being the first born in my family, my parents recorded everything, birthdays, trips to the zoo, dancing in the living room to Spanish television with my baby sister (IG: @sandra_alva), shower time, everything and anything.
At age 5, my parents divorced and the VCR tapes of memories subsided. Years passed and I’d watch these home videos, admiring the smiles and tears that were recorded years ago. It was pure nostalgia and going back to them brought warmth to my heart and a flood of memories in my head. I then realized I had to capture moments in my life once again. So at age 15, I asked for and received a Nikon Coolpix 2500 for Christmas from my stepfather and began to photograph my family and friends. That point and shoot camera with 2 megapixels changed my life. I eventually became the photo editor for my high school yearbook because I was able to capture pure moments as though I was a fly on the wall. If you’ve ever read the book called The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I was Charlie. I even dated a girl named Samantha in high school, all of which I realized some time after reading the book. Life is funny that way sometimes.
THE PRESENT: Although it’s been over a decade since I’ve graduated from high school, I still find myself doing the exact same thing I did as a teenager. I meet individuals and talk about love, heartaches, family, friends, hopes, and dreams, I then photograph them in their purest state and carry their story and image in my head and heart. Except now as an adult, I share these stories with a bottle of red wine and usually on the cliffs of North Bondi, Australia.
The reason for the cliffs of North Bondi is because it’s the first time I felt apart of a family. It's my zen place. I moved here from Los Angeles for love and only found heartache. With my friends and family a world away, the first month of my life in Australia was the most difficult time I’ve ever experienced. I never felt so alone or detached from all I know. But on this cliff, it’s where I first witnessed a beautiful sunrise over the Pacific Ocean alongside my housemates from all over the world. As a Californian, I’ve only seen the sunset over the Pacific, so to see the sunrise over an ocean that touches my home state of California; I felt a connection and energy like no other. It’s why I can never leave Bondi Beach. It’s home away from home.
As I write this, the song on repeat was that of my wonderful friends from back home. The Head and the Heart – Another Story. Give it a listen. I also made their official lyric video. Check it out. It's composed of photographs of just me and my friends living life.
And finally, my one-year holiday visa expires in June of 2015. Unless I find a way to stay longer in Australia, my next adventure will be New Zealand. But until then, I’ll be spending the rest of my dazzze in Bondi Beach, Australia.
Noël Alvarenga is a photographer and dreamer hailing from Los Angeles, California. Moved to Bondi Beach in the Winter of 2014 for love only to have it dissipate; however, instead of going back home to family, friends, and everything he knows and loves, he decided to ride this wave out and see what Australia had to offer.
You can now catch him roaming the landscapes of OZ with his camera in hand, adventure hat on, Langly backpack strapped to his back, music in his ears, bottle of red wine for drink, slices of watermelon to eat, and a friend, acquaintance, or stranger to photograph. He collects the stories of the people he meets and captures their essence along with that of the landscape they share. Providing a dreamscape for individuals all over the world that wish to adventure to foreign places.
Follow his adventure on Instagram: @no.el__