Can photography be used as a form of therapy? Is it not a form of expression and a way of communicating our thoughts and feelings? One photograph can tell a reader everything the photographer struggles to put into words. One photograph can soften the toughest scars. Photography connects people together through shared experiences.

Fine art photographer and actor, Ransom Ashley used photography as a way of healing from dark memories and traumatic events he suffered while growing up in a small conservative town in Louisiana. Inspired by the vivid imagery of cinematography, Ransom’s work closely resembles stills from a film reel. Ransom’s work is very personal, soul baring and boldly vulnerable.

In this episode, we discuss how Ransom found his light in the darkest time of his life and how he found his place in the photography world after years of not fitting in. We explore topics around vulnerability, getting published, and using our past as inspiration to our art.

About Our Guest

Ransom Ashley

Ransom Ashley

Fine Art Photographer

Born in Shreveport, LA, Ransom Ashley is a photographer, actor, and cinematographer. He attended Parsons The New School for Design in New York City where he was concentrating on photography and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He has shown work internationally (in New York, London, Brighton, and Budapest) and been included in shows at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and Masur Museum of Art, among others. He has also been featured in select publications such as Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Deadline, Wonderland Magazine, Metal Magazine, and Dazed and Confused Magazine. Ashley is currently working on a body of work exploring Louisiana subcultures and recently appeared alongside Oscar-Winning Actress Holly Hunter in the southern drama Strange Weather.

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Topics Discussed

  • Ransom discusses Darren Aronofsky’s visual aspect of filmmaking and how it connected with his photo work. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood movie resonates so much with his own work.
  • Ransom explains about his series “Fragments”. There’s so much choice involved in what you show people and you’re in control of that. Even then people will still come to their own conclusions.
  • Ransom discusses why he chose the quote “Sometimes it’s in the darkest places that you find yourself,” for the cover of his new book “Virgins.”
  • Ransoms details how he chose his models for his work, how together they healed from traumatic experiences they shared together, and how the deep connection with his models affected the stories he wanted to tell.
  • Advocating for yourself when you’re first starting out is vital to getting your work published in magazines. In an industry where nepotism is everywhere, breaking down those barriers and making a connection is daunting for beginners.
  • What would you say to someone who may be in the midst of that judgement or afraid to express themselves because of the potential of that judgement?
  • Do what you love and the money will follow. When the art is more important than the money.
  • Ransom talks about his reaction to finding out his work was going to be featured in Teen Vogue.
  • How healthy is social media for the artist?
  • The importance of community in the photography community.
  • Do you get paid for every submission? How do you negotiate your pay with a magazine?
  • What is the calling for your life?
    • Rapid Fire Audience Questions
    • If you had to use one lens forever what would it be?
    • What gear do you always carry with you?
    • What’s the first thing someone starting out in Fine Art Photography should do?

Ransom’s Final Thoughts

Stay true to your art even if it’s not popular at the moment. What sets you apart from a saturated market is the art that is unique and personal to you. So stay true to yourself and put out the body of work that you connect with the most. Then use that art to connect with others who resonate with your message.


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