You Said It

Far Away Eyes

Gorgeous photos a reader sent in of his own idea of paradise.


  • Miss Erin June 4th, 2012 3:05 PM

    I love these…captures my idea of paradise, too.

  • Aria June 4th, 2012 3:05 PM


  • teenager June 4th, 2012 3:06 PM

    wowowow, stunning!
    I especially dig the first and last ones, your work is beautiful Alex! :)

  • Marguerite June 4th, 2012 3:10 PM

    These are gorgeous! I especially love #8! How do you get that effect with it focused in the center?

    • mdemariah June 6th, 2012 7:17 PM

      I’m not Alex, but… if you swirl your camera around, the center will stay in focus (but use a manual focus to ensure this) :)

      • Alex S. June 8th, 2012 10:38 PM

        Precisely! Thanks for answering for me mdemariah, as I didn’t have an account until now.

  • buffy.summerz. June 4th, 2012 3:13 PM

    I absolutely adore this collection of photos! They’re very Martha Marcy May Marlene-esque.

  • anisarose June 4th, 2012 3:19 PM

    Great photographs! I really liked 14 but I have to say, as a suburban girl who lives near a large national park, I can’t say that I relate to this as my paradise. But hey, to each his (or her) own

  • Emilie June 4th, 2012 3:26 PM

    oh my god these are beyond beautiful

  • ladylaurenia June 4th, 2012 3:28 PM

    Great pics Alex!

  • rosiesayrelax June 4th, 2012 3:30 PM

    I crave summer even more than ever now!

    Rosie x

  • discofaerie June 4th, 2012 3:30 PM

    Okay I am sooo in love with this boy, these are astoundingly beautiful.. I find paradise in nature, too

  • Laia June 4th, 2012 3:34 PM

    these are beautiful.

  • Claudia June 4th, 2012 3:41 PM

    These are all so nice <3

  • taste test June 4th, 2012 3:46 PM

    oh my, polaroids. photo 14 is my favorite but these are all great.

  • maddzwx June 4th, 2012 3:46 PM

    Alex’s work is gorgeous! I wonder if he reads these comments?

  • darksideoftherainbow June 4th, 2012 3:56 PM

    i am thoroughly in love and extremely impressed with the way he captures seasons. seriously amazing and gorgeous.

  • jeanette June 4th, 2012 4:13 PM

    Very pretty (particularly no.14!) but my idea of paradise would be multicultural. Well, that’s an unfair statement of me to make; but I have felt a little sidelined by recent picture-based posts on Rookie that have consistently featured the same waifish, fair-skinned and doe-eyed young females. I liked the recent anti-gender-binary shots but didn’t that just emphasise the difference between those who adhere to the ‘Tumblr’ standard of beauty (coincidentally promoted by Urban Outfitters) and those who don’t? I love Rookie and I don’t mean offence to the staff or Alex Simms work but I find that, as of recently, I only look forward to text-based posts.

    • saltwater June 4th, 2012 6:31 PM

      thank you for posting this because it wasn’t until i read your comment that i realised i’ve stopped looking forward to photosets, too, for the same reason.
      not to diminish how beautiful these photos are because i do really really love them (i am absolutely in love with 5, 12, 14 and 15) but i feel like shoots such as Hometown Heroes and Teen Witch really set Rookie apart because they celebrated a different standard of beauty.
      i agree that the recent anti-gender-binary post was a+++ though.

    • Tara June 4th, 2012 6:54 PM

      that’s a little unfair. I mean, in the case of Alex and in the case of many people you photograph the people you know and that is not a purposefully exclusive action! he, a teen boy, is friends with teen girls and they in your eyes happen to fit a convention of ‘beauty,’ but knowing him/his work they’re his friends (he is not just seeking out ‘waifish fair skinned doe-eyed females”). I don’t think the anti-gender binary shoot was meant to emphasize a split; beauty is multifaceted.

      I understand your frustration but Rookie is in fact trying to promote/showcase diversity and it is doing a much better job at that than many magazines for a teen girl audience! rookie is trying to work out a lot and it has time to do so don’t lose faith.

    • anisarose June 4th, 2012 8:38 PM

      I feel the same way. To me, it’s not about what is available to the photographers but what is posted on the site in general. I really enjoyed reading that girls hair journey (I can’t find the article/title) and I would love to see more things like that to read about some different perspectives.

    • I.ila June 5th, 2012 11:22 AM

      I think that you are being overly critical. First of all, rookie wouldn’t reject this beautiful photography simply because it wasn’t diverse enough. Second, there really aren’t that many places that are amazingly diverse. Perhaps the photographer lived in an area where there weren’t many people of different races.

      Also, not all of these people are waif-like. He doesn’t focus on their bodies, he focuses on the setting and the position of the people.

    • Anaheed June 5th, 2012 9:09 PM

      I mean, you cannot even see anyone’s faces in these photos. I think their personal identities are not the point!

    • Alex S. June 8th, 2012 10:48 PM

      I know I’m responding to this late, but I’m not offended at all! I see where you’re coming from. However, it is never my intention to really focus on whomever I photograph, as I photograph anyone when I get the chance to, haha. My friends in these photos just happen to be used to me taking photos of them, that’s all. Also, I am actually multicultural myself! I am half filipino and half caucasian, as well as my other siblings. I would love to take photos of my sister, but she always declines, haha. Thank you for liking that photo (no.14), it is particularly one of my favorites too.

      • jeanette June 9th, 2012 5:15 PM

        I felt bad about what I said so I’m relieved that you didn’t take offence to it. My criticism wasn’t directed towards this particular photo-set and I think that I didn’t communicate it properly. I was just trying to say that Rookie’s recent photo-sets have made me uncomfortable in that, to the credit of each photographer, it wouldn’t be unusual to see some of them in a professional, glossy magazine in particular because of their choice of models. I understand that these are part of the aesthetic/vibe that Rookie tries to give out. But one of the reasons that I avoid glossy magazines is because they’re always promoting self-love and then focusing on a single, elevated standard of beauty. I had just been wondering if such a standard is represented on here as well.. Please understand that I wouldn’t have written this comment or the one above if I hadn’t felt strongly enough about it.

        • Anaheed June 9th, 2012 11:09 PM

          Hey, Jeanette. When you say our recent photo-sets, which ones are you talking about? I feel like our Style and Eye Candy photo albums have been pretty diverse lately. And we rarely use professional models.

  • Moxx June 4th, 2012 4:35 PM

    Beautiful. Looks like hazy rural/suburban area. They do feel like a version of paradise.

  • Microbyte1 June 4th, 2012 4:42 PM

    really pretty

  • ToriLynne June 4th, 2012 4:44 PM

    Wow, stunning photos! So many different views of what Paradise can be. I really enjoyed these. :)
    xo, Tori

  • aliceee June 4th, 2012 4:47 PM

    these are amazing!! #3 is my favorite

  • June 4th, 2012 4:57 PM

    these are incredible, my idea of paradise is incapsulated in these photos

  • WinnieB. June 4th, 2012 5:25 PM

    I love these! They are so pretty. This does really seem like paradise. :)

  • psychedelia_delia June 4th, 2012 5:42 PM

    does anybody else now have a crush on this alex simms d00d? is he single? can we make art together and pick flowers in a field and then watch arrested development? anyways, what a dreamy collection of pictures!! it is a total bummer rainy day right now in missouri, and these paradise photos are giving me a rush ‘o’ sunshine and fairytale inspiration

  • caro nation June 4th, 2012 5:53 PM

    Rookie photographers, I need some camera advice.

    Can you recommend a relatively cheap (under 200 dollars) digital camera?

    That would be lovely.

    • Tara June 4th, 2012 7:49 PM

      yes! Nikon Coolpix cameras are really good! the Nikon Coolpix S210 for example is an excellent camera (it’s $139). it’s the camera I took most of my photos on before I got a dslr and most people can’t tell much of a difference at all because the quality of the camera is so great.

      • caro nation June 4th, 2012 8:17 PM


        I adore William Eggleston, and finally found the cameras he used in Kentucky and Mississippi- models like the Contax G2, the Leica M6, and Canons, Hassleblads, and Olympuses- and, of course, a cheap, lazy teenager can’t really afford any of those.

        Evidently I’m a novice, but I gotta start somewhere.

        • Tara June 4th, 2012 11:03 PM

          William Eggleston is a remarkable artist! he’s one of my favorite photographers EVER! I completely understand. those cameras are amazing but maybe you’ll save up for one one day. for now, little digital cameras can be your best friend! and nothing wrong with being a novice. the learning process makes it so worthwhile.

  • Moxx June 4th, 2012 5:58 PM

    This would be awesome. I have a cheap camera and it works fine, but it’s, well, a bit old and unsophisticated. Good cameras are expensive, but if there’s a pretty good one for under 200 it would be cool if somebody could recommend one.

    • caro nation June 4th, 2012 6:19 PM

      What kind do you have?

  • sweeteelou June 4th, 2012 6:01 PM

    Eight and nine are my absolute favorite. These are beautiful photos! (:


  • cocolarue June 4th, 2012 6:04 PM


  • HeartPlant June 4th, 2012 6:05 PM

    Too beautiful! Absolutely love it

  • Mags June 4th, 2012 6:14 PM

    Very ethereal and evokes a sense of nostalgia. Excellent work.

  • chelsear June 4th, 2012 6:31 PM



  • keisya June 4th, 2012 7:01 PM

    Beautiful photos! :)

  • Muna June 4th, 2012 7:29 PM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE those photos!
    absolutely stunning effects!

  • purplebabaushka June 4th, 2012 7:35 PM

    These are astounding! They are so beautiful! Great job.

  • KinuKinu June 4th, 2012 8:14 PM

    Very Beautiful……

  • Ben June 4th, 2012 8:18 PM

    These are very nice. It’s different from my idea of paradise which is very warm and like LA or Hawaii. My favorite is #3. Did he take the background picture today (yellow flowers, Unicorn) too?

  • SweetThangVintage June 4th, 2012 8:18 PM

    Breathtakingly beautiful.

  • lilylaughs June 4th, 2012 8:31 PM

    wow these are beautiful! i’m loving how many photo sets rookie has posted recently

  • GlitterKitty June 4th, 2012 8:58 PM

    These are gorgeous!!!! They have such a cool vintagey feel and the photography is amazing. Can I see more of Alex’s pictures?

    • Alex S. June 8th, 2012 10:49 PM

      Thank you! You can find more of my photos at

  • Adrienne June 4th, 2012 9:08 PM

    So beautiful! The landscapes look straight out of Impressionist paintings. :)

  • Caden June 4th, 2012 9:15 PM

    I want to go to there.

    Caden x

    • Kathryn June 5th, 2012 12:04 AM

      EXACTLY what I was going to comment. haha.

  • Arden June 4th, 2012 10:55 PM

    I love that you can’t see any faces clearly. It’s all a haze of wonderment and old friends and strangers alike.

  • Johanna June 5th, 2012 12:17 AM

    hmm i wonder if the name “the weekend warriors” a reference to the book looking for alaska…if so this dude is awesome

  • vanguardinspace June 5th, 2012 12:31 AM

    Hey Alex Simms! Do you want to be friends?

    These are so beautiful and ethereal. They are to me, like a memory. Permanent but fleeting at the same time; simultaneously taking all of the time in the world and no time at all; meaning one thing and meaning everything…more than we can explain with words. Like when you’re sitting with your friends on the grass in the sun, having experienced none of the world, knowing that next year you’ll all be in college in different places, and that you’ll still see each other, but it will never be exactly the same. You’ll remember the smell of your friend’s gum and the feeling of the sun’s rays upon your skin and the sound of the crickets. Some bits will stand out more than other bits, some things will be a bit blurry, but you know that you’ll remember how you felt, and that’s all that matters.

    That’s what I was thinking when I was looking at these. Well done.

    • Alex S. June 8th, 2012 10:52 PM

      This is one of my favorite comments I have ever received in my four years of taking photos, so thank you!


  • rhymeswithorange June 5th, 2012 12:32 AM


  • SpencerBowie June 5th, 2012 1:58 AM

    Love theres another dude loving Rookie!!! Love these beautiful pics too!

    Also I love the Rookie Eye Candy photoshoots, especially the more “pop” ones. Loved the recent “Greetings From Teenage Hell” and I loved the Bowie inspired one in January!

    Keep it Rookies, KEEP IT UP!!! :)

  • back2thepast June 5th, 2012 2:19 AM

    K totally irrelevant but I just saw pubic hair as a tag on the side bar and died a lil bit

    Beautiful photography
    Makes me excited for summer looove

  • Susann June 5th, 2012 2:21 AM

    Truly great photos!

    Fashion in Pepperland

  • Lea June 5th, 2012 3:09 AM

    Wow. This took my breath away. Man, you are talented!

  • Killjoy June 5th, 2012 3:57 AM

    Absolutely stunning! Possibly one of my favorite Rookie photosets. <3

  • Coline June 5th, 2012 8:12 AM

    Ooh i love these photos! They’re just so magical and beautiful! :)

  • Motherfunker June 5th, 2012 11:22 AM

    twin peaks-y vibes in 3, 5 & 12 x

  • RhiaSnape June 5th, 2012 12:15 PM

    Love these! They’re all so ethereal and beautiful. 1, 6, 10 and 15 are my favourites.

  • joenjwang June 5th, 2012 6:49 PM

    author introductions (or like…descriptions of people) always seem like a string of arbitrary things that are quirky and supposed to be somehow endearing or interesting. It just seems so contrived to me. Mostly because it is arbitrary. Regardless, the photography was stunning with the exception of some cliche themes. I enjoyed the picture of the boy and his dog the most.
    (I’m allowed to democratically critique on this site right?)

  • Erica June 5th, 2012 9:20 PM

    I LOVE ALEX! im so glad to see him on here

  • DanielleRosni June 5th, 2012 11:50 PM

    Weekend Warriors… LFA reference? <3
    Awesome pictures.

  • Lemonjuice June 6th, 2012 4:32 PM

    The last one reminds me so much of Slim Aaron’s photography. (6o’s photography)
    Google him sometime, his pictures are absolutely sublime!

    And so are yours Alex!

  • MinaM8 June 7th, 2012 5:11 AM

    I’m in love with all of these, I can’t get enough of 1 and 2 especially!

  • Joyce June 7th, 2012 6:17 AM


  • Daniela June 8th, 2012 1:09 PM

    I love these – they’re so much more than typical Instagram photos, they’re real talent that look like they’ve been taken with a lot of thought and artistic view. I wish I could shoot this well, but alas, I am a sketcher, doomed to sit in one position for 5 minutes – 1 hour trying to capture whatever I’m looking at :) Well done!