Ashley Burress: Dreaming With Instant Films

3

Ashley Burress likes interweaving dreams of macabre and nostalgia and she loves capturing them with dark, vivid, sepia-toned instant film. This is how she remembers.

Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Ashley Jae Burress. I’m currently 25 years old and living in Clarksville, TN. I work at a pizzeria, but in my spare time, I like to paint and spend time with my cameras. I’m a huge lover of nature/abandoned buildings/roadkill, so I spend most of my time shooting these things. I’m a dreamer of sorts, and basically just kind of all over the place.

How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
I began taking photos when I was 14. When my father asked me what I wanted for Christmas that year, I told him that I desperately wanted a camera. I ended up getting an Olympus Accura 35mm Superzoom, and the first thing I did was purchase some black and white film for it and walk to the graveyard. I was a weird kid.. sort of dark, so that’s what I did. The following year, I recieved a Polaroid 600 Cool Cam from a friend and started shooting instant. I’ve been in love with film ever since. I bring a camera with me wherever I go.

Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
A friend once wrote a song about how my photography made her feel. It was titled ‘Sepia-toned Rainbow’, and I feel that’s as deep as it gets. I want my photography to give someone a feeling of macabre nostalgia. I like to spook people, so the creepier, the better. My usual subjects are either myself, a dead animal, or an abandoned house. I like people to see the death of something, and imagine what once was there, or maybe all the fun that animal was having right before it had been hit by a car.

Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
“you’ll never see me coming, ‘cause I’m always walkin’ away”
This is a B&W double exposure shot with a Holga 120N – Neopan 400 film. The title is inspired by a poem written by my ex-husband. I’m a big fan of multiple exposures, and this one, accompanied with the title is a little heartbreaking.

What is the soundtrack for your series of photographs?
Anything by Crystal Castles. When I think of them, I think ‘analogue’. I mean, come on, they break open Ataris to mod their synths with Pokey chips. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’m always pumped to take photos when I hear them.

We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to?
Locally, I would have to give props to my very good friend Chad Spann. If it weren’t for him, I don’t think I would have started shooting Holga. He was the first photographer from my city that I got to know. He’s an amazing photographer, and he’s always been there to support what I do. As far as foreign, Francesca Woodman. She grew up in Italy, and her film photography is something I’ve always looked up to. She is by far, the creepiest female photographer that I’ve ever come across on the internet, and I’m truly inspired by her self-portraits.

If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who (would it be), which (camera would you use), and why?
I would travel to the Dakotas and photograph the remaining survivors of the Arikara tribe on the Fort Berthold Reservation. This specific tribe is not of my heritage, but I’m deeply enthralled by the fact that there are still so many of them living together. I’m in love with old photographs of Native Americans, and would like to recreate something of that nature. They are beautiful people, and should be remembered as so.

Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
This is almost a difficult question to answer, as I have been taking a lot of digital lately, because of the fact that I can take several – hundreds even – photos of the same thing, and pick the right one. Quite honestly, I see no fun in that, aside from editing them with programs such as photoshop to give them a more vintage feel. I always felt like I’m cheating when I shoot digital. There’s magic in every film photograph I’ve ever taken. I know exactly what I was feeling when I develop the shot after. There’s also a huge sense of accomplishment when you develop your own film. You can say, ‘hey, I did that. All of it. By myself.’ and feel proud that you’ve created something so real. It’s nostalgic to older people that view my photos. I think that people are generally thrilled when they find out that I still shoot mainly film. It’s totally real, and something that you can hold onto forever, whereas anything digital could completely disappear forever. You can delete a digital photo, but you can’t delete a film photo.. well.. unless you burn it.

A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
Seriously, just go for it. Shoot as much as you possibly can wherever you go. The more you shoot, the better feel you’ll get for it, and eventually, you’ll carve yourself a niche. You’ll find your own style, and it’ll be a wonderful feeling. A lot of people tell me ‘well, I just wish I had more photographer friends to go out and shoot with.’ .. My advice is to just leave your house and go for a drive/walk by yourself. You’ll feel a lot less inhibited. I feel invisible when I have a camera in front of my face, and it’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve learned a lot about myself from photography, and I think other people will too if they just go for it.

Do you have any ongoing/future projects?
I’m always working on something, or nothing in particular. I’ve just started purchasing instant film from The Impossible Project, and loving every minute of it. Viva la analogue.

See more of Ashley’s film shots on her Wordpress blog and Flickr photostream.

written by basterda on 2011-03-18 in #lifestyle #photographers #interview #ashley-burress

3 Comments

  1. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    ooooo - its 7treehouses! :)

  2. jaguarwomon
    jaguarwomon ·

    Crystal Castles reminds me of analogue photography too!

  3. 7treehouses
    7treehouses ·

    :D

More Interesting Articles

  • Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-29 in #people #lifestyle
    Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    While many of us can only dream of working with musicians and photographing them, Angela Izzo's job entails exactly that. Apparently, this is a fulfillment of her own dream that she had when she was younger. In this interview, Izzo talks about her beginnings which, of course, included going to as many shows and festivals as she possibly can; some of her most memorable on-the-job-experiences with the likes of The Doors, Lykke Li, Jack White, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood; her inspirations and other interests; and her love for film photography and Diana Mini. And to those looking into fulfilling their own dreams of working in the same industry, Izzo also shares helpful advice based on her own experiences.

  • LomoAmigo: Super Kawaii Asami Nobuoka Shoots with the Lomo'Instant

    written by ciscoswank on 2014-12-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Super Kawaii Asami Nobuoka Shoots with the Lomo'Instant

    Asami is a "Super Kawaii" a.k.a super cute, Instagramer who has 16,000 followers. She loves analogue cameras and she is totally in love with the Diana Mini. Check out her creative piece of instant shots taken with the Lomo'Instant.

  • Going Monochrome with the Lomo'Instant

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-06-26 in #gear
    Going Monochrome with the Lomo'Instant

    If you've ever used the Lomo'Instant camera, you know that the Fujifilm Instax Mini film ensures amazing and sharp results with vivid colors and natural skin tones. And although we love it the way it is, we also love to experiment. This time we ventured out with monochrome on our minds and got some pretty crazy results — check it out!

    1
  • Shop News

    Fisheye One Pearl Blue

    Fisheye One Pearl Blue

    Snap dazzling 35mm fisheye shots at the push of a button with this shimmery blue lightweight beauty.

  • The Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film and My Holga: An In-Depth Review

    written by Lorraine Healy on 2015-03-23 in #gear #reviews
    The Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film and My Holga: An In-Depth Review

    An Argentinean writer and photographer living in the Pacific Northwest, Lorraine Healy is a long-time fan of plastic cameras and is the author of "Tricks With A Plastic Wonder," a manual for achieving better results with a Holga camera, available in eBook form at Amazon.com. In this article, Healy explains how she fell hard in love with the Lomography XPro Slide 200 film and why she takes it on her many travels.

    3
  • A Salute to the Masters: Judo (A Tribute to Sabine Weiss)

    written by sirio174 on 2015-04-18 in #world #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Judo (A Tribute to Sabine Weiss)

    This article is a tribute to the street and humanist photographer Sabine Weiss. Considered a living legend in street photography, she likes to photograph daily lives of people, trying to capture the emotions she recognizes around her. Weiss like to photograph people of all ages but she especially loves to take photos of children, masterfully immortalizing their spontaneous gestures and emotions. For this article, I was inspired by one of her rare sports photos of some children practicing judo. Do you want to know more about this great artist? Well, read on!

  • Photo of the Day by zorki

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-03 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by zorki

    With its vivid colors and dramatic lighting, this photograph of a lone deer is definitely one for the books.

    1
  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Discontinued Efke Films Available Now!

    written by shhquiet on 2015-06-29 in #gear #news
    Discontinued Efke Films Available Now!

    It's time to get experimental With Lomography, Efke and Ilford Films! Transform your photographs into fascinating snapshots that evoke fantasy and magic. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of: green foliage becomes white, blue skies turn as dark as the night and purple colors taste sweet like candy dust.

  • Newcomer of the Week: kristenwithacamera

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-06-21 in #world #lifestyle
    Newcomer of the Week: kristenwithacamera

    Shooting on film is an integral part of Kristen's identity. She mostly dedicates her work to Upstate New York, specifically the Catskill Mountains, where she grew up. Falling in love with the LomoChrome Purple's charm led her to setting up a LomoHome. In this interview, she talks more about her passion for shooting in purple and her upcoming exhibit featuring some of her LomoChrome Purple photographs that she printed on metal.

  • Photo of the Day by wil6ka

    written by chooolss on 2015-01-07 in #news
    Photo of the Day by wil6ka

    Lucky are those who found kindred souls to share their dreams and passions with. This lovely photography by wil6ka is our Photo of the Day!

    2
  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Perfect Combination for a Hazy Day: Lomo LC-A and a Pushed Ilford HP5+

    written by sirio174 on 2015-05-06 in #gear #reviews
    Perfect Combination for a Hazy Day: Lomo LC-A and a Pushed Ilford HP5+

    In this article, I'll show you how the Lomo LC-A loaded with the versatile Ilford HP5+ can make the most out of a hazy morning. To capture the whirlwind of a bicycle race, I pushed the film to ISO 800. The legendary Minitar 1 lens and this classic Ilford film are a perfect combination if you love black and white photos.

    1
  • Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    written by sirio174 on 2015-03-30 in #world #lifestyle
    Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    In my early adolescence, I liked to play table football. For my 12th birthday, my parents gifted me with a wonderful Subbuteo table soccer game set that I had wished for many months! This was my favorite toy until I discovered other interesting hobbies, like ham radio and electronics. So after some years, I gave away this game to other kids. I always remembered this game with pleasure and a hint of nostalgia.

  • Lomo'Instant Splitzer Idea: How To Shoot Colortastic Splitzed Shots

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-06 in #gear #tipster
    Lomo'Instant Splitzer Idea: How To Shoot Colortastic Splitzed Shots

    Turn your instant photos into bizarre snapshots with this super-easy tip, using the Lomo'Instant Camera with the Lomo'Instant Splitzer! This Tipster will show you how to create fun, sliced-and-diced instant photos with vibrant splashes of color. Try it on your next party - your friends will love it!