Ashley Holloway is an American photographer located in Florida. Her photographic specialties are fashion and creative portraits, but she likes to dabble in a variety of subjects to keep life interesting. Ashley loves photographs that tell a story and that make you feel something. It’s been a great pleasure for us to take an interview with Ashley Holloway and we wish you a pleasant reading of her incredible story.
The First Steps in Photography
AP: Ashley, thank you so much for finding the time to give us an interview. This is a great honor for us, and we hope you will enjoy our questions that we have prepared for you today. So let’s begin. How it all started?
Ashley: I was pretty young when my grandmother first handed me a disposable camera, but I still remember how interesting I found documenting things with it. My first photographs were mostly of Nature. My grandfather gave me his SLR 35mm film camera some time in high school, and it became one of my favorite things to experiment with. After I graduated high school, my parents bought me a digital SLR camera as a graduation present, and once I was in college, I started becoming more interested in photographing people.
Some of my contemporary influences for photography at this time were Rockie Nolan (who was shooting these dreamy shallow depth of field portraits with incredible light) and Zhang Jingna (who was shooting very painterly fantasy-influenced work at the time), but I also learned a lot about Julia Margaret Cameron from one of my photography professors and I became really intrigued with creating more of a pre-raphaelite style with my work.
I experimented with that for awhile, and after graduating I started working with models, I found online. I really started learning a lot on my own and applying the skills I had learned in art and photography courses from college.
AP: This is such a beautiful start. Do you have any formal education in photography or were you self-taught?
Ashley: I went to college and majored in studio art, which encompasses a variety of art mediums but also includes a lot of art history courses (which were actually very inspiring). In total, I took four photography courses while I was in college (as well as a photographic history course), and these classes really helped push me to understand RAW, basic Photoshop processing, and they also pushed me to be creative and choose new subjects and styles. I might have eventually learned these things on my own, but the encouragement was absolutely vital in my education. Our professors mostly gave us assignments with conceptual themes, and this really made me think about what I was creating. I also did, and still do, a lot of research online to understand different techniques and to gain inspiration to try new things.
AP: What genre are your photos?
Ashley: My specialty is photographing people in the fashion or art genre. I also enjoy photographing food, Nature, and classic portraits. My main difficulties with photographing people are communication. I used to be very shy and trying to tell the model what I wanted was hard for me, both because I was shy and also because I found it hard to put my ideas into words. Having a vision in your head and trying to make that vision exist in real-life are two very different things. I’m currently teaching myself food photography, and it’s so different than what I’m used to! Setting up still-lifes of food is challenging, but everything takes time to learn.
AP: How would you describe your work? Can they be characterized as unique or unusual?
Ashley: My work is kind of dreamy, kind of nostalgic, kind of quirky, kind of reflective, and sometimes kind of sad. My work is very much like my personality and often photographing feels like a soul-baring exercise. I’d like to think my work is unique, but I think that’s up to the viewer to decide!
Equipment and Techniques
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to take such photographs?
Ashley: My main camera is an Olympus E-3, but I’d like to update that to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 later this year. I mainly use the Olympus 50mm 2.0 lens with it, but I also like using their 9-18mm lens for really wide shots or their 14-54mm lens. For RAW processing I use Adobe Lightroom where I get the “look” and feeling I want from the photos. Lightroom is so great because you can quickly sync the processing to all of the photos from the shoot. After I finish in Lightroom, I move each picture to Adobe Photoshop where I do my final color and light processing as well as retouching.
AP: Thank you very much for describing your creative process with us. I’m our readers will find it useful. What is your latest project you’ve worked on so far? What inspired you to start working on it?
Ashley: The last photoshoot I did was a colorful 60s inspired shoot in the wildflowers! The model, Madeleine, has the perfect look for pulling off vintage and we’d been talking about shooting something like it for awhile. When my makeup artist friend, Jess came into town for the weekend, I knew it was the right time to make it happen! The shoot had a lot of inspirations, including Mad Men, spring wildflowers, 60s clothing, and of course the model herself!
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity? What do you do to reach your goals?
Ashley: Hmm, that’s a difficult one! There’s no particular formula for success, but I think as long as you surround yourself with talented people, it’s hard not to be inspired and make something amazing! I mostly create art for my own happiness, and I don’t have many particular goals with it at the moment. I like having my artwork featured in online spaces and sharing it with the online artist community. I’d love to one day have my fashion photography featured in a space like Teen Vogue or Nylon, but I’m also just really happy creating for myself and the people that follow my work. I guess my goals are to finally meet up with the creatives I talk to online with all of the time and to create something amazing with them!
AP: Who is one person you would like to see interviewed on Astrum People?
Ashley: I’d love to see one of my best friends Kaylin Amabile interviewed! She is extremely talented and also incredibly supportive of so much that I do.
AP: We will do our best to contact Kaylin Amabile and take an interview with her. Is there someone who supports you in your creativity? Who or what is the essential part of your creativity?
Ashley: I am incredibly lucky that all of my family and friends are incredibly supportive of my creativity! A special mention definitely goes to my grandmother, who is nearly as excited about photo ideas as I am! She’s always showing me photos of things she’s seen, and we go thrifting a lot together to find pieces for shoots. We don’t always have the same tastes, but her enthusiasm for what I do is such an important part of my life. My mom is also amazing, she’s critical but in a way that supports me to push harder and be better. She has a habit of telling everybody that she meets about my photography, and while I’m always embarrassed at the attention, it means the world to me that she wants me to succeed and is proud of me. And lastly, my friend Kaylin Amabile, a fellow creative, listens to my excited and doubtful ramblings constantly. She is a huge emotional support, and when I’m totally lost on any photography decision (I’m very indecisive), she is always there to walk me through the decision as we discuss pros and cons. She’s an incredible listener, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve come to her crying about something, and she’s made me feel not only better but less alone. Being around inspiring and supportive people is really essential to my creativity!
AP: Thank you so much for such an incredible and inspiring answer! Please tell us three lessons you believe are really important for every photographer?
- Make what you want to make and pour your heart and soul into it.
- Take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt. Don’t ignore them, but also don’t take every criticism to heart. We all have different artistic visions, and not everybody will understand your work. Make yourself happy first, if you’re pouring your heart into it, the right kind of people will find it.
- BE KIND. That’s important for life in general, but also especially important when working with models and clients. You won’t get anywhere by being cruel or putting anybody in danger for the photo. Also, be respectful of your subject’s wishes, don’t take advantage of them in any way.
Ashley, it has been a great pleasure for us to take an interview with you. Thank you so much for sharing such amazing story with us. We wish you continued inspiration, brilliant success, and more creative images to share. To learn more about Ashley Holloway photography feel free to visit her website.
Ashley Holloway: Dreamlike Fashion Photography. (). Astrum People website. Retrieved , from https://astrumpeople.com/ashley-holloway-photography/.
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