Photographer & Graphic Designer
Ashley Joncas is a photographer, graphic designer, multidisciplinary artist, absolutely stunning lady, kind, and unique. She is definitely doing something very different in the art world and I appreciate her forward thinking.
I have been following Ashley on Instagram for quite a while, and as a photographer myself and someone who dabbles in all creative arts/mediums, I wanted to find out more about the lady behind the dark and mysterious worlds that are displayed in her photos and see if she had any tips for me and for other aspiring photographers and artists.
She was so lovely and agreed to this interview with me so I hope you enjoy it and learn a lot!
KNEWYU: WHAT’S YOUR NAME, WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
ASHLEY: My name is Ashley Joncas, and I’m originally from the New England area but migrated to the West Coast about 3 years ago, and now reside in Seattle. By day I’m a graphic designer in architecture, but most of my free time is spent being a photographer and multidisciplinary artist.
K: HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY? WAS IT SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS KNEW YOU WANTED TO DO?
A: I got into photography by accident! I was around 17 years old, and spent a lot of time studying lighting and how shadows would cast themselves onto the models in magazines like vogue and W, specifically for my artwork. I picked up a crappy little Olympus digital camera and from there I became addicted to the new medium. I was also fascinated with styling, but not in the way that fashion magazines approached it. I wanted to find a way to turn humans into living artwork, with the body as the blank canvas, and so I began experimenting with self portraiture. It wasn’t something that I have ever imagined being such a huge part of my life, but photography was a way to combine all entities of my creative skills under one creative endeavor.
K: YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS ARE SO UNIQUE AND INTERESTING. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO DEVELOP YOUR STYLE? HOW WOULD DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE?
A: It took me a good 2-3 years to really solidify what my “style” was. I have no formal training with cameras or photoshop, so I spent the first 2 years of my photographic career going through trial and error, figuring out what felt like it came from me, verses what was cookie-cutter and unrepresentative of my artistic eye. My style for editing has always derived from my skills in traditional painting though, so I treat each photo as a “piece” instead of a batch of photos. I loath Lightroom and I do 100% of my editing in Photoshop.
K: WALK US THROUGH A DAY IN YOUR LIFE.
A: A day in my life is me waking up at 6am, putting on massive wings of eyeliner and making coffee. I usually take an hour each morning to catch up on emails, and mentally chill. From 8am-5pm I work as a graphic designer in an architecture firm, and then from 5pm on I’m either squeezing in tiny shoots, editing like a mad woman, attempting to catch up with people or scheming up the next big project. My weekends are when I shoot, which starts super early in the morning. Overall, I work around 80-90 hrs a week but I’m constantly creating which is fun.
K: YOU ARE THE FOUNDER OF CXII MAGAZINE AND ENIGME STUDIO. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THOSE BUSINESSES ARE ABOUT AND HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO RUN BOTH?
A: I constantly find myself asking the same question! It’s difficult to have multiple businesses, and be so widespread in terms of my own design capabilities. My studio and magazine are given their time to flourish whenever I come home from my day job or on the weekends. I multi-task a lot, so eating at a table without answering emails or working on projects is rare. Both businesses fuel my ambitions to change the publishing industry and push for a change in our expectations of creative visuals. I hope that they one day overtake all of my time.
K: WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE? HOW DO YOU EDIT YOUR PHOTOS?
A: Right now I am shooting with a Sony a390. I had a Canon for 2 years but the little guy is being repaired. In general, I’m minimalist with equipment. I work with natural light and I’d rather have a bag full of snacks than a million lenses. As an artist, my photos act as the base layer for the eventual world I create with photoshop. I use cameras as a mere tool, so instead of constantly chasing the new and latest equipment out there, I use what I need and that’s it. Gear doesn’t make the photographer, the vision is what takes a piece through from start to finish.
K: IF YOU COULD WORK ON ANY PROJECT OR PHOTOGRAPH ANYONE (DEAD OR ALIVE) WHAT/WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?
A: I would LOVE to work with Steven Klein. I find his color correction and overall visual attitude to be a breath of fresh air.
K: WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE TO AN ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHER?
A: Never be afraid of messing up. Absorb what you can from fellow artists, and use the internet as a researching resource. A lot of artists play the comparison game by copying what is popular, which is also useless in terms of personal growth. It sounds so redundant but you just have to be you and go full force into the world with that attitude.
Thank you Ashley!