Editorial / Brighton Boy
We talk to recent University of East London graduate Ashleigh Dougherty about her featured mens editorial, Brighton Boy. Capturing the natural beauty of the British seaside complimented by raw and organic self-styling, Ashleigh talks about her on-shoot experience and ambitions for her photography career ahead. We also take a look at her extensive male-only portraiture portfolio, showcasing her passion for capturing boys with the lens.
Where are you based?
London, United Kingdom.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a fashion photographer based in London who primarily shoots editorial portraits of beautiful boys. I grew up in Hoxton / Shoreditch, which will always be home. My passion is fashion in different elements; from being a freelance photographer and also a fashion blogger. I also really have a passion for different forms of modern art, film and theatre. I’m a huge Harry Potter fanatic too!
Did you study photography or a related course?
I graduated earlier this year, studying Photography at University of East London. I have studied photography since I left school so it just felt natural to extend my education and do a degree in it. My degree was cool but I do wish I had studied a more fashion-orientated course. There were not many creatives on my course that I could relate to, in terms of the work we produced.
Tell us about your work.
For as long as I can remember I have always favoured portraiture over any other genre of Photography. I used to do dodgy little "photoshoots" in my garden at home using my Sister as my "model". This started the love of shooting fashion. During college, I always twisted my work to add fashion into it and that became my signature within my work. By the time I was 18/19 and ready to start University, I knew fashion photography was the path I wanted to head down. For my final assignment this year before graduation, I created a zine newspaper titled BOYS which focuses around the theme of the beauty within young boys before they become men. I have carried on the series since and have now developed a strong love for only shooting boys which is what 'Ashleigh Dougherty' is now only known for. I have been freelancing for a number of months now. I work with various model agencies across London, shooting only their boys, which is honestly the most amazing thing. I never get bored! I try to shoot as much as possible but some of the work I shoot may not necessarily make the final cut. I try to only show my strongest work which shows what I do and what I am really about. Having graduated this year, I am now happily freelancing full-time and absolutely love what I do.
My portfolio only (currently) consists of boys but that is something I quite like being known for doing. I feel it makes me stand out that little bit more in such a diverse and open industry. When it comes to shooting boys, I look for cheekbones and chiselled jaws. If a boy has those, a boy can never look bad in a photograph. Even though I do shoot my boys work in an editorial way when it comes to choosing the final images and putting the story together, I do quite like to add the odd cheeky image in. This could be the boy laughing at the camera, lighting up a cigarette or pulling a funny face. It lets their personality shine through and I feel I can connect with them more which makes my work stronger. I am currently working on lots more work of boys and will be for the foreseeable future. I would maybe like to experiment more and possibly shoot my first girl soon BUT this is no promise! I am afraid, boys have my heart.
What do you love about photography?
I love the freedom it gives me to do whatever I want. For years I was told by people what I 'should' be doing and that fashion photography was too hard to get into. Safe to say, I failed to listen and I am now a successful, published fashion photographer. The great thing about any form of art is that there is never any right or wrong. You can simply produce whatever you like and if fellow artistic people can relate you can share an admiration for what you are showing. Photography is really special to me.
Which photographers inspire your practice?
I know there's a big 'doo-dah’ about him but I will always simply adore the raw work of Terry Richardson. It's all so wrong but so capturing and let's face it, THAT is what Terry is known for. I want to be known... not for shooting naughty things but for simply shooting beautiful adolescent boys.
What editorials are featuring in ISSUE 03 of Carnival Magazine?
Brighton Boy & Portfolio Overview
Tell us about the featured editorial, Brighton Boy.
I impulsively conceived a seaside theme when initially planning for this shoot; stripes, anchors and ice-cream. I headed to Britain's iconic Brighton one very sunny but windy Saturday and shot this editorial titled Brighton Boy. I wouldn't say I am exactly telling a story in the series of photographs like most editorials usually do. I just really wanted to show my artistic flair when it comes to shooting editorial work. Self-styling the editorial, I researched the type of clothes I wanted the model to wear and headed to a well known high street shop and bought all of the outfits to fit the model's size. I found it so much fun seeking the clothes and putting together the outfits. The model is Conon from Space Model Management and it was actually his first ever shoot! He was a dream to work with; very natural and has a very editorial look in his own right. As I was styling the shoot myself, I decided to collaborate with a fantastic MUA called Annalise Sandford, who was based in Brighton itself so it all worked out really well. I was in contact with her via email before hand so I sent her a mood board of the makeup I required and she did such a fantastic job. She also did the hair styling, which came in handy as it was a very windy day so lots of hairspray and mousse was needed! I am really proud of Brighton Boy and the final outcomes have come out much better than I imagined which I think was partly down to choosing a wonderful team to collaborate with. I have been saving it in terms of a publication for something truly special, and Carnival Magazine showcases upcoming, young fashion photographers so I am very grateful for this opportunity. I now have full confidence in collaborating with MUAs. I rarely used them in my work before this editorial, previously preferring to work alone but now I cannot wait to network more. I can’t wait to collaborate with more amazing and creative people!
PHOTOGRAPHY / Ashleigh Dougherty
STYLING / Ashleigh Dougherty
MUA & HAIR STYLING / Annalise Sandford
MODEL / Conon @ Space Model Management
CLOTHING / Topman