Ashley Comer’s Street Photography Has a Sense of Mystery

Photographer Ashley Comer tells us all about her love of images.

My name is Ashley Comer and I’m a photographer and teacher living and working in England. I am interested in photography as a tool for communicating a story. I typically shoot using a Canon 5D mark ii and 50mm lens though have done projects with 35mm film (pentax k1000) as well as with large format. Most recently I finished working on a “photo a day” project which started January of 2016 and ended in November of 2017.

What began as a New Year’s Resolution turned into a visual documentation of my thoughts and emotions as they travel throughout the days. As the year evolved so did the photographs. Feminist revolts, political dismay, unrequited love, the experience of living in New York City, are all woven into the quilt of my 2016. Alone they are snapshots of my thoughts and experiences in my day-to-day life, but together they create a whole new snapshot. Capturing this year in the romance, the struggles, the fun and games, the protests, and the people trying to find their place in the world.

Why did you get into photography?

I first joined photography club when I was 15. I just happened to notice my crush had an interest in it so wanted to learn more. At that point, I was shooting a lot of macro stuff and just figuring it all out. I didn’t realize the power of photography until my first University photography class in which I was shown the work of photographers like Diane Arbus and Gregory Crewdson. I was blown away and ever since that day thought of photography differently.

What photographers are your biggest influences?

Gregory Crewdson was my first huge influence. I was so intrigued by the idea of setting up a scene to photograph. My biggest influences are a lot of the classics like Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, and William Eggleston.

How long have you been shooting?

About 9 years.

Why is photography and shooting so important to you?

I find photography important because it’s a way to communicate ideas. The idea that an image can draw a person in no matter where they are in relation to the photo. Photography has the power to let people see things they would otherwise never see.

Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?

I feel I am more of a creator. Even if I am documenting something I see on the street I still make an attempt to sort of design the photo a certain way. I love capturing images on the street but it has always been my thing to place a person somewhere they might not belong or juxtapose objects together that might not ordinarily be next to one another.

What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically?

I always try and have a perspective when I shoot. To create images that retain a slight sense of mystery. I want there to be some sort of element where a person looks at the image and wonders more about it.

Want to walk us through your processing techniques?

I normally shoot digitally. I like to take as much of something as I can so I have a lot to edit down from. From there I will delete the worst then gradually pick and choose which I find the strongest. Then I will usually color grade the images using photoshop so that they have an extra pop to them.

Tell us a bit about the gear you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision

I believe that color grading through photoshop helps me achieve my vision. The way you can enhance and manipulate the color is endless and for me can transform an image.

What motivates you to shoot?

I get excited about shooting things so I can share it with others and potentially challenge what their expectations might be. I also teach which also motivates me as I often like to participate in the activities I have the kids do.

Be sure to also check out Ashley on Tumblr

Also published on Medium.

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