Ashley Miles is a quirky photographer who has quite a laid-back approach to being on shoots. She loves collaboration and offbeat ideas. I got to ask her a few questions after we shot together for design graduate Charis Dawson’s final range.
YM: You’ve been doing photography for shoots for a while (how many years?) now, but how did you get into it?
AM: I’ve been doing photography (freelancing) since I graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT in 2008, so for about 3 years now. It wasn’t ever actually something I thought I’d end up doing until we did a pin-hole photography project in our first year that spiked my interest, and then in 2nd year we started shooting on film and I just fell in love with it from there.
YM: What was the inspiration behind this shoot we’ve just been working on?
AM: Charis’ designs were all the inspiration I needed. One look at her quirky style and I knew what I wanted to do. Of course time was of the essence as was sourcing props and a location, so she and I decided to create scenes that were in a similar vein to what I had done for my graduate project at university, which was to construct a miniature version of what we would have done if we had the budget.
YM: Did the team work as well as you expected?
AM: – Better, I think. Everyone seemed to be on the same page and we all got on like old friends, which I love. Everyone had ideas to try and it all come together so well!
YM: You have quite a relaxed approach to planning; do you often find that shoots take on a life of their own?
AM: – Yes but I still like to keep it on a leash of sorts. I’ve come to love the unpredictability involved with shoots and have learnt over the years that it won’t always run smoothly and it won’t always turn out EXACTLY the way you want it to (however frustrating!), so I have a basic concept that I work with in which I allow some leniency, just as long as I don’t lose control over it and can keep it in line with where I’d like it to go. It’s almost like having a kid I would imagine, in that you want to nurture it but not smother or force it to do something that just isn’t working or it might become a problem. And I’m not always as relaxed on the inside as I may appear from the outside.
YM: Are you happy with the way the shots came out? Compared to what you expected, how are the shots?
AM: I am yes. I had a very short space of time to visualize the concept and then source everything I needed. And it helped to have an amazing group of creatives to work with! I kind of worked “backwards” with this one you could say, since I sourced potential props I would need and so had everything that just needed putting together. Like a puzzle of sorts.:) So I think it’s safe to say it’s quite similar to what I expected.
YM: What’s your favourite kind of brief to get when shooting?
AM: “Go crazy”. I like it when a group of like-minded creatives can get together and brainstorm ideas around a concept and then each bring in their own touch. Originality is born out of teamwork.
YM: Outdoor or indoor shoots?
AM: Both. It all depends on the concept.
YM: Male or female models?
AM: Either or, but I do tend to work more with female models just because my concepts are quite feminine by nature and I like a sense of softness to my work.
YM: Describe to us your style in three words.
AM: Quirky, soft, and ethereal (or so I’ve been told, and it obviously all depends on the concept:) I’m a fan of surrealism.
YM: There must be some kind of photo shoot you have always hoped to do, a kind of dream-photo shoot, can you tell us about it?
AM: There are quite a few actually. I have a little black book full of ideas I’d like to try one day but you’ll have to wait and see.
Photographer: Ashley Miles.
Stylist: Charis Dawson.
MUA & Hair: Lauren Telo.
Model: Jade S of D&A Models.
To see the rest of the shots from the shoot go here.