In conversation: Alice Ashley
Earlier this year, as part of our rebrand for It’s in Nottingham, we had the pleasure of working with photographer Alice Ashley. We’d seen her work displayed at a public gallery within a city centre walkway, and knew immediately she’d be perfect for delivering on a photography brief that captured the real Nottingham in an honest, immediate and positive way.
We recently caught up with her to reflect on how the project shaped up, recap of what we wanted to achieve through photography and also her own take on the medium.
Hey Alice, great to see you again and thanks for taking the time to chat. Let’s start with you and your relationship with photography. How did you get into it and when did your love for it start?
I’d say I've always been drawn to photography as a way of being creative. However, in 2018 I suffered a Trimalleolar fracture and had to have a couple of surgeries over the space of two years. This meant that I was less physically active for quite a while and it was then that I focussed my time on being more creative. I spent a lot of time sitting down pointing my camera at things and people, and that’s when I got more serious with photography as a whole.
What is it about the medium that you find most interesting?
I see the camera as just a tool. What fascinates me is what people do with it and the many ways that we can learn to see new things through it. I just enjoy having fun and learning by shooting and experimenting.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I always find this a tough one! I’d say that my photographs have some recognisable qualities, but mostly it’s because of the people or subjects I shoot. Aesthetically, I play with exposure and pastel colours a lot which also creates a bit of a personal style.
I find that inspiration comes from conversations I have with people, the things I read, the people I connect with or even the things I watch. Subconsciously, my brain does a lot of the hard work for me so things just feel natural – I tend to try not to overthink things.
How did you interpret the brief for the It’s in Nottingham project? And what made you want to take the project on?
I took the brief as: ‘capture all the aspects of our wonderful city in your own style’. Since I was approached to do the job because you’d seen my work in the Broadmarsh Tunnel, which was photographed very organically, I knew I had to approach the project in the same way
I like doing jobs when people trust your creative judgement and respect you as an artist. I also wanted to work on the project because Nottingham is where I’m from and I’m grateful to call it home. I liked the challenge of using photography to encourage people to see the beauty in the city and appreciate it a little more.
What was the most challenging part of the project?
The weather was a tricky factor, definitely. It was the height of Spring so it was fairly mixed throughout the days I was shooting. And, as always when you’re out and about shooting stuff, the odd person gets moody about you snapping photos – even when they weren’t in them!
What’s your favourite shot from the collection, and why?
Because they all capture my home, that’s too hard to call. I look at each of them and remember a little story about how I got them – and I hope that comes across when others see them as well.