About three months ago, I had the opportunity to do a photoshoot with one of my friends. It was a perfect suggestion, seeing as how I love posing in front of the camera and she had just bought a new camera and was looking to get back into photography. After doing a couple photoshoots, I sat down with Ashley Donald for a brief Q&A about her photography and her “roots”.
How did you get interested in photography?
I’ve always been interested in visual arts and photography is a way to capture life…I mean, life is amazing and when you take pictures you get to share your perspective with the world.
What inspires you as a photographer and as an artist?
I’m inspired by emotion and personality. I like expressing people’s personality with photography and the arts, showing range…life.
Who are your artistic influences?
So many. I like Derek Blanks, a celebrity photographer. He does alter ego photoshoots where many facets of the subject’s personality is shown. Again, showing range, because people are dynamic and I like to express that.
As a photographer what aspect do you want to explore more about human life? Like what do you want to show the most? Do you just want to show life or…what about it do you want to show?
Self-expression, internal conflict, that’s what I like to show. People dealing with being themselves and how sometimes that’s not so easy being in this world, if that makes any sense.
In the future what aspect do you want to work in photography, if you do want to work in photography? Like how far do you want to go with [it]?
I would like to do themed photoshoots with models, you know, people and their interests, like whatever they do. I’d like to incorporate what they do in pictures, themed photoshoots. I’d like to do urban landscapes, city buildings, and countrysides, just landscapes in general, especially urban.
How long have you been a photographer?
I guess I can only claim to have been one for about a month. I’ve studied photography off and on since high school but I never actually pursued building a portfolio or anything until recently.
Are you from Atlanta?
For the most part, yes.
How old are you?
25 and I’ve been here since I was 11.
Where are you from?
You’ve only been a photographer for about a month now, what have you done so far in your experimentations or experimenting with lenses or themes?
Well, my first official shoot as a photographer was with [you]. We just explored Little Five Points, a very eccentric area of Atlanta, and used graffiti–actually it wasn’t so much graffiti as murals–as a backdrop and I experimented with different camera settings just to find my bearings. My second one, again with [you], we went for more personality and motion and tried to show a relationship between her and the scenery, the urban landscape as the backdrop. I took my camera to a professional hockey game and tried to capture some memorable moments from my seat, which was not very good, using a telephoto lens. I also did a themed photoshoot with a musician, a couple of musicians, and tried to capture the essence, you know, the feeling of the concert. I like to use graphic design to further express the art, you know, not just leave it as the pictures with natural colors or black and white. I like playing with colors and saturations and really using graphic designs and Paintbrush.
How do you feel about being natural? ‘Cause I know that you have natural hair and how is that image to you shown in our society?
Well, how I feel about being natural…I think it’s the only way. I’ve been natural for 8 years and my first real natural style was locs and I loved my locs. I just think that chemicals strip the natural beauty and is real damaging. You know, our hair is a certain texture for a reason. The way natural hair is presented in society is not always so flattering. It’s sometimes seen as rebellious or defiant. It’s not always made to be beautiful; it’s presented as dirty or ugly and I think that’s very sad because it’s beautiful. It’s self-love.
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