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Dreamy, empowering photography from Ashley Armitage

→ Cover image by Sarah Bahbah
This interview is part of the collaborators section in XConfessions

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Introducing Ashley Armitage

Ashley for Nordstrom x Nike, photograph by Haley Blavka

 “If we want to see authentic stories, we need to get them from the source.”

Say Hello to Ashley! I am beyond excited to introduce you to this incredibly talented photographer who is making waves across the globe – and is sure to be a household name before she’s even 30. I feel lucky I’ve managed to score an interview with her before she’s too famous for my modest little blog! At just 23 years old, Ashley has cornered the market for female focussed, empowering, cool and modern photography. She recently shot Karley Sciortino for her Slutever series on VICE, and she stars in the Gucci Guilty campaign focussed on modern kinds of love. I was so excited to invite Ashley to join the XConfessions artist collaborators and I hope we can work on more projects together in the future. Keep an eye on this one!

🔮 See the Confessions Ahsley’s images have illustrated here 🔮

Hi Ashley! Can you tell me a little about when you started working as a photographer and how it happened?
I was always drawn to photography from a young age. I got my first digital camera when I was 11 and then at 15 I got my first film camera. In high school I started carrying my Canon AE-1 with my everywhere and simultaneously started making short films and entering them into film festivals. I knew I wanted to be a photographer and director, so for my first year of college I went to school for film production. Then I transferred and ended up getting a degree in photography. I graduated two years ago and I’ve been a photographer full time for 6 months now.

I really adore your style – for me, it’s like a Sofia Coppola film combined with Fresh Prince mixed with 80s influences, but like, super modern and totally capturing today’s youth culture. How did you develop this style?
Hehe that’s so awesome to hear! I grew up with Sofia Coppola films so I think that aesthetic seeped into my style. I also developed my style largely because of Tumblr. I came of age during the Tumblr era; I got so much visual inspiration from the blogs I followed. Today I love the aesthetic of 70s/80s foreign films. Right now I’m a fan of Eric Rohmer and Wong Kar-Wai films.

How much of the image is created by you – do you create the set, choose the clothes etc.? It seems like your images are each a whole, unique world.
Honestly it totally depends on the job. I typically prefer to have a say in how everything is happening but I also want each crew member to be independently creative. When working for big clients everything is usually accounted for: there’s a set designer, stylist, art director, producer, and hair and makeup artists. For small gigs I usually have to take on multiple responsibilities like styling, building the set, and shooting.

🍒 Follow Ashley on Instagram! 🍒

You are a woman behind the camera – something I see as vital in culture, and especially erotic culture. A woman’s gaze through the lens creates a whole other story than the patriarchal one we’re used to. Do you agree? Is your work consciously tackling the dichotomy of woman as subject, object and holder of the gaze?
I agree, but I also don’t think it’s so black and white. For example, I think that the patriarchy can be brainwashing and because of this a woman might be objectifying towards other women. On the other hand, I think men are capable of being allies and not being objectifying in their gaze. That said, I still think it’s incredibly important to have more women, minorities, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folk behind the camera. If we want to see authentic stories, we need to get them from the source.

You feature in the new Gucci Guilty campaign – how did this happen?!
Oh my gosh that was such an honor and surprise. I don’t have much experience modeling and I’m such a clumsy person.
That opportunity came up out of the blue. They emailed me in the early fall to gauge my interest. Of course I said yes, but then I didn’t hear back from them for a couple months. Then I got a phone call from a European number while on set for a shoot. I answered it, confused as to who it could possibly be, and it was the Gucci team asking me if I was free the very next week to fly to LA and model haha. That was fun.

What is in the future for your work?
I’m just going to keep creating. I have plans to direct some short films soon, so I’m looking forward to that.

If you could describe yourself with one image, what would it be?
This photo by Ryan Mcginley:

Watch one of Ashley’s short films below!

⭐️ >> And see her work illustrating confessions here! << ⭐️

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