I don’t regularly participate in a photography club, and I don’t often find my greatest inspiration among other photographers. Instead I am most inspired by nature, travel down dirt roads and winding rural routes, writers and painters and all kinds of makers, movies, and books and poetry, museums and galleries, and the people I meet from all walks of life.
When I do follow the work of fellow photographers, it’s usually for one of two reasons.
One, I see something in their work that I’d like to bring into mine – wide open spaces, soft blurred lines and layers, less clutter, deep emotion, or interactions between people. In these photographs I often feel at home.
Second, are those photographer’s whose work I follow even though they are very different from mine, or perhaps because their work is so different. These are the pictures that draw me in and invite me to stay awhile but always as a guest, because these works will never be mine. I appreciate them, maybe even revere them, but I do not want to call them my own.
These days I find inspiration and solace and a deeper understanding of the pictures that I am called to make by studying the photographs of Ashleigh Coleman.
After moving to Mississippi, Ashleigh (re)turned her full gaze to photography and to applying her understanding of the theory of defamiliarization-- seeing afresh that which is familiar and commonplace-- to what she photographs, whether that is an old building, a field with shadows, or people she meets along the way.
I’ve fallen in love with her project, A Piece of My Heart. Her photographs of old signs and buildings and her family and rural life on Instagram capture my attention and remind me of the possibilities for pictures in my home town and my ordinary life, where every single thing is divine art.