Friday, January 21, 2011

Unsinn Photography... interview with GEOFFREY ASHLEY.

Geoffrey (USA) is a photographer with really unique style. He's interested in provocative and nude photos.

1) Can you please tell us the story behind this portrait? How you took it and why you choose to shoot this person?
This is an interesting choice of photograph for you to feature. I really love this image. But, I think it’s subtlety often gets it lost in the crowd of my more provocative work. 
This image is from a larger photo shoot with a model named Odette. She’s an artist, as well, and a fan of my work. And since I don’t pay models, being a fan of the work you’re creating with me is essential.
It’s a natural light shot. And it’s slightly out of focus because that’s what things look like when you’re in that when you’re about to kiss somebody. At least that’s how I see the world. Do I need glasses?
As for the Hello Kitty bandage...the viewer can decide what that’s all about.

2) What photography gear you used here and why? What is usually in your photo bag?
As you might suspect, I am very minimalist. I have a single camera body...a Canon 10-D...and a single zoom lens that’s about two stops slower than I’d like it to be.
Other than a couple of memory cards and a couple of batteries, the rest of the bag is filled with whatever I need to complete my latest experimental flight of fancy. Recently that has included colored gels to shoot through, magic markers for writing on models and a flashlight “filtered” with wax paper I was using to achieve an unique light effect.

3) What do you love most about shooting portraits?
Capturing a person in a way nobody else has...or can. 
My process, in brief, is to meet with my subject ahead of a shoot to talk with them a bit and form a personal impression of who they are. Then I let my imagination take over and come up with ideas to shoot with them.
Those ideas are based on that person, but filtered through my perception and creativity. Which means our mix of photographer and subject will be like no other. Seeing what comes out of that process is always exciting and fascinating to me.

4) Do you consider yourself mostly as a “portrait” photographer?
Yes. Even though, on the surface, it may not seem that way because I mostly shoot models and not so many non-models, I definitely consider all my images to be portraits.
The most unique thing about my model work is I factor both a model’s person and personality into the concepts I create. I encourage models to be expressive and creative. And I literally strip away everything until there is nothing left BUT my subject. Then I shoot in a spontaneous, documentary style that captures real, intimate moments.
A very talented photographer/model I respect very much once said of my work “he doesn’t just LET you be yourself...he REQUIRES it.” I think that is the very definition of portrait photography. Or, at least, it should be.

5) Do you work with available light or do you use additional lightning often?
I love shooting natural light for its warmth and beauty. I also love my on-board flash because of its immediate, documentary look. 
I prefer not to use extra lights because it can slow me down and restrict my movement. But, when the concept demands it, I do have a baby mole kit I can use to light a scene. When I do that, though, I light it like a film set so I can move around in it. I don’t like to be tied down when I shoot.

6) What/Who are your photography muses and influences?
I got my start in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking, so those are powerful influences on my style. Influences that lead me to find audacious beauty in random, everyday moments.
My muse is any beautiful, bold, uninhibited woman who likes my photography and wants to be a part of it. 
Learning a bit about each new person is fascinating and creatively-fueling. Each person inspires me in different ways. Each collaboration pushes me to try something experimental and unique.
When I find somebody I want to work with, it is truly rewarding. Every shoot is a one-of-a-kind experience. And it’s that diversity that keeps me coming back again and again.

7) Any tip for taking better portraits?
Know your subject. Learn something about them. Listen to them. And let them be themselves.

Thank you, Geoffrey!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent interview with a fascinating subject! Great questions, and I enjoyed reading all the answers :)