When child photographer Ashlyn Perkins of Ashlyn Mae Photography contacted me and offered to collaborate, I was immediately on board with that. Her style of photography is very subtle yet recognizable. And as there’s nothing I like more than getting in the heads of talented creatives, I decided to talk with Ashlyn and ask her some questions.
You grew up in a family of a photographer and an artist. What was it like to grow up having those two worlds mixed together?
It was wonderful. My mother was wildly creative and a free-spirit. She was free-flowing with her praises and worked hard to instill into me that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. Seeing her paintings scattered around the house was inspiring, and she made sure that art and craft supplies were readily at our disposal, which I took full advantage of. My father, on the other hand, introduced me to the world of seeing through a lens. When we'd hike through the mountains, he'd often stop at a beautiful vista and I'd watch as he framed the view with his hands, one eye squinted shut, envisioning what it would look like on film. He would comment off hand on the quality of light, or what would make a good composition, which I soaked up as a sponge. Though my parents were divorced, and lived on opposite ends of the country, the two worlds blended beautifully in my childhood.
You lived in California, Colorado and North Carolina. Based on your experience, what’s the difference between these three States when it comes to work and being creative? Where did you enjoy to work the most and how did you end up residing near Winston-Salem, NC?
I spent my youth back and forth between the three States due to traveling between parents, and most of my adult life in North Carolina. While I didn't work, per se, in California and Colorado, I will say that living in those two States exposed me to a lot of creative people with open mind and views. I think living in these places helped broaden my perspective and understanding of people and ideas. North Carolina is my solid place. I moved here to be close to my Father's side of the family and my one sister. I love the country and live way out in the middle of nowhere (seriously, cows are my neighbors). I feel at peace here. In one sense, the quiet and peace of the countryside gives me constant creative inspiration from the beauty around me. On the other hand, it can be harder to work as a creative here, as there are limited opportunities and fewer creatives to collaborate with close by – but it's the perfect place to raise my children, which is the most important to me.
I’m sure there were some obstacles when you decided to start out in photography. What was the most difficult part?
Finding my voice. I'm still working on it. Digging deep and really bringing out what's inside and capturing on film what's swirling in my mind.
You do different types of photography – fashion, editorial, beauty, conceptual, etc. Which one is your favorite and what would you love to add to that list in the future? Someone can be a huge fan of documentary photography but not a big fan of shooting editorials in the studio, and vice versa. Is there any type of photography that does interest you the least?
Beauty photography reaches deep in me. There's something about the face and eyes that I'll never get bored of. When I was a child, I constantly doodled eyes. They covered my school binder and the margins of my papers. I think I'll always default to a lovely closeup of the face. However, editorial is extremely fun and interesting to me as there are no creative boundaries and so many concepts and ideas can be explored and accepted. One type of photography that I'd love to try in the future is wet plate photography, processing with collodion in a dark room. I would love to combine beauty shots with the vintage look and process of collodion. As far as what type of photography interests me the least – lifestyle, documentary and street photography.
How do you usually start on a new project and how do you keep yourself inspired?
I constantly have ideas running through my head and have an idea sketchbook/journal that I jot ideas down on. When I'm ready to implement an idea, I put together a moodboard with color scheme and elements that I'd like to incorporate. It doesn't take much to keep me inspired as I can get a little OCD about projects (just ask my husband), so those two things are what usually fuel the fire for me.
When it comes to photography, whose work do you find inspiring? Is there anyone specific you'd die to work with? Any models you'd love to shoot?
Right now I'm loving the beauty work of Cyril Lagel and my dream model to shoot would be Cara Delevingne.