Ashley, what inspires you?
I always discover new colour palettes, light, people, and architecture in the neighbouring beach towns around where I live. These characteristics and the ocean go hand in hand when I’m inspired to make new work. Also, looking at other artists/photographers and listening to music inspired by the sea is crucial to my photographs.
What do you love about shooting surfing images?
Shooting surfing images is probably the only thing that makes me happy. When I first started shooting surfing images, I started out by photographing the landscape first and really getting to know my surroundings, no matter what beach it was. I began to meet a lot more surfers that would let me take their portraits, and then I would meet more people through them. The most important thing for me was trying to create relationships with my subjects which would also help me understand the way they view the sport and the culture.
The people I meet is what I love the most.
Where is your fave place to shoot and what of?
My favorite place to shoot would probably be Manasquan, NJ. It’s a little beach town that’s only a 30 minute drive from where I live. There is a huge sense of a beach and surf community in Manasquan that made me fall in complete love with it. I photograph anything that inspires me: the beach houses, the marinas and their boats, the local surfers (you can get a really good view of them if you stand on their giant jetty) and the beach goers. Every time I go back, I learn something new when I photograph it!
What equipment do you have?
Recently I’ve been using my Canon 5D Mark II with a 50mm 1.4 lens. It’s my baby! But before I used my Mark II, I would photograph all my lifestyle images with an Olympus OM-10, a 35mm camera. I would shoot with Fuji Superia 200 ISO film…I got the most brilliant colors in return!
Which photo would you love to have taken?
There are so many photographs I wish I had taken, but the first photo that comes to mind would have to be “No Dogs” taken in 1976, by Hugh Holland. His use of light, composition, colour, subject matter is all I could ever want in a photograph!
Any advice for someone trying to get into surf photography?
I would say the biggest thing that helped me tread into the surf field was researching the greats that did it before me! Looking at past/present surf photographers like LeRoy Grannis, Jeff Divine, Ron Church, and Joni Sternbach was a huge help in getting started. Each photographer has photographed the lifestyle so differently, and it makes you think how you can photograph surfing in a way that hasn’t been photographed before. Also, watching copious amounts of surf films doesn’t hurt!
Lastly, I was once told that if you stop taking photographs, you’ll stop seeing them…so don’t stop shooting! Shoot anything and anyone! Seriously. Even when you’re not near a beach, there is always a photograph to snap that inspires you. And yes, an iPhone photo does count.
Motto to live by?
Never forget about your passion.