November 13, 2015

Welcome to Friday. You made it through another crazy week, so treat yourself to a little slice of calm with Friday I’m In Love, our weekly feature dedicated to digging up the artists and photographers we’re going heart-eye emoji for.

This week, we speak to London based photographer, Ash Kingston about his personal photography. Having started out taking pictures of his friends skateboarding he now works on multiple projects for the likes of i-D, Dazed & Confused and GQ to name but a few. We spoke about the allure of portrait photography, seeing people enjoying themselves and the creative process.

UO: When did you first pick up a camera and discover your interest in photography?

It was when I was around 16. I started shooting my friends skateboarding and then I got more into portraiture and started shooting my friend Harry who looked a bit like Macaulay Culkin.

UO: Do you come from a creative family?

Sort of. My brother used to be a chef so I guess that’s quite creative. My mother really likes to decorate and bake as well. She makes wonderful cup cakes.

UO: You take a lot of portraits, what is it about the portrait that inspires you?

I love taking portraits as I feel you can get more character when shooting a portrait rather than a fashion image. I love socialising and being around people. Creating photos at the same time is even better.

UO: What’s been the most rewarding shoot you’ve done and what challenges did it pose?

Taking pictures whilst travelling with my girlfriend. I really enjoy that the rewarding part is getting to spend some time off after a couple of hard working weeks. The challenging part is getting a job in whilst I’m on holiday!

UO: What are the main differences between shooting personal projects and shooting for a client?

I don’t think there’s much difference at all, as I treat them the same way as I would when taking pictures of my friends. Everyone is more relaxed that way and you always have a good laugh. Obviously with a client there are certain guidelines you have to go by, but I try to put my own touch on everything.

UO: Are there any themes you are repeatedly drawn to with your personal projects?

Making people laugh. That’s the thing I like capturing most, seeing people really enjoy themselves.

UO: Can you tell us about the process of creating an image from the first idea to final piece?

I don’t tend to like creating a moodboard as I feel the shoot at the end never ends up looking like what you have down on the moodboard. I try and work closely with the stylist to get an idea of what we want from the shoot, the whole feel etc. And then we start casting, either I do this or we get a casting director in. I’m quite particular about who I shoot, as I like to shoot people I really get along with. If I’ve not met the model before I’ll always try and meet them the day before the shoot so we can form some kind of relationship and make the shoot more fun. Then throughout the day I’ll do editing with the stylist or creative director to get an idea of what final images we will have, and whether the story is flowing. Most of the time I end up retouching the photos myself too as I have a certain way I like things doing. Most of all I like everything to be natural as possible.

UO: How would you describe your photographic style in three words?

Fun, spontaneous, personal

UO: What’s your favourite thing about your job?

That every day is different. I always like meeting new people which is a plus.

UO: Do you ever shoot on film or is it exclusively digital?

I mainly shoot digital but a lot of my diary stuff is on film.

UO: Do you have any advice for amateur or self-teaching photographers?

My only advice would be to just go with the flow and enjoy yourself. Thats what I did and now I’m in a job that I really love.

UO: What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend in London?

I like a day in the park with my girlfriend followed by a pub lunch near the river, and then in the evening I like to go watch a band play as I really love music.