Ransom Ashley

courtesy of James Michael Martinez.

Ransom Ashley should be on your short list of photographers to watch if he is not already.  Ransom is a photographer, cinematographer and actor.  He hails from Shreveport, LA and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.  Ransom is only 26 and has appeared alongside the amazing Oscar winner Holly Hunter in the movie “Strange Weather” and has been featured in many publications like Teen Vogue, New York Times and Parallel Magazine to name just a few.  We caught up with Ransom and this is what he had to say.

JPG – How was it growing up in Shreveport, LA

Growing up in Shreveport was wonderful when I was in elementary school and didn’t have a scope of how vast the world outside of my small town was. It was when I started middle school that things became progressively more difficult, especially as I developed my own sense of identity.

JPG – When did you start pursuing photography.  There’s the age-old question of whether or not schooling is needed to become a successful photographer, do you agree?  What was your biggest takeaway from Parsons Photography program?

I started taking pictures professionally when I was a sophomore or junior in high school. I got a camera for Christmas and immediately started photographing all of my friends. I disagree that school is needed to become a successful photographer. For some, it helps them develop an artistic identity but for me, that happened after I left school. It was always the resources that attracted me to study at Parson’s but I found the environment quite creatively constraining. The photography program there provides you with resources but I found that my voice didn’t fit as easily into the system that was in place. It took me leaving school to figure out what I wanted to say (through my work) and how I wanted to say it.

JPG – What gear do you use?  Do you have a favorite camera, lens and/or equipment?  What are your top tips or tricks while you’re behind the camera?

My favorite camera is probably my old 35mm Yashica although I rarely use it for projects because it’s not as feasible. When I’m behind the camera, I try not to create any situation that I can’t navigate instinctively. I learned that having too clear of an idea of what I wanted hindered spontaneity and my favorite images I’ve ever captured have been more on the spontaneous side; just things I discovered during the process.

What do you like most about photography as an art form? 

I love visual mediums and the finite yet simultaneous infinite nature of a photo. I love the way it forces the artist to compose an image and act meticulously with their intentions and with the message that wants to be contained within the frame. I also love that photography as art gives you something you can live with daily and make a part of your life.

JPG – Tell us more about the photo exhibitions that you’re most excited about.

I currently have a show at Site: Brooklyn in NYC, a show hanging in Baton Rouge, and am also involved with a show coinciding with the Chasima Gala in Times Square.  Right now, I’m most excited about my upcoming collaboration with Wombat Paris on a limited edition artbox that will be debuting at Les Rencontres d’arles.  It’s amazing to be following in the footsteps of the legends that have collaborated with Womat.

JPG – How was it working along Holly Hunter in “Strange Weather?”

“Strange Weather” was life-changing, working directly with Holly Hunter and Katherine Dieckmann was such a privilege.  They are such bold, talented and sensitive women that it was just amazing to be in their presence and especially collaborate on a story that we all believed in.

JPG – What message or story are you wanting most to be portrayed through your photos?

More than any singular message, I hope that people can connect on a human level with what I’m doing. We all experience isolation or a contemplation of our own identities in the big scheme of things and these are so many of the things I explore through my art.

JPG – If you could change three things about the world we live in now, what would they be and why?

The first would be poverty, I imagine. If I could eliminate it from the world completely, I would. The second would be hate. It serves no purpose other than to cause harm and dehumanize people. The third would be greed. It is at the root of so much corruption and evil in the world.

 

Make sure you check out Ransom’s webpage to view his current projects and upcoming exhibitions.  Make sure if you can to check out one of his many shows!!