Portfolio Overview Feature
We showcase the incredible male-only portrait portfolio of 21year old photography graduate Ashleigh Dougherty. Fascinated with photographing boys, she captures personality, originality and attitude in her raw and honest images. When sourcing models, “I look for cheekbones and chiselled jaws. If a boy has those, a boy can never look bad in a photograph.” - ASHLEIGH DOUGHERTY
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.
See Ashleigh's full featured editorial, Brighton Boy.