On Saturday, January 11th Eagle Rock studio Earth Altar presents photographer Ashley St. George. A modern-day renaissance woman, St. George merges her history in acting with her love of storytelling through written and visual elements in this ambitious collection. We got to find out more about the photographer as she enjoyed Monty’s Good Burger after coming back from a trip to Hawaii, just ready to finish Hermann Hesses’s Steppenwolf.
LA CANVAS: Hey Ashley! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! First off, how are you feeling leading up to the execution of this collection? How ambitious of an undertaking has it been?
ASHLEY ST. GEORGE: AAAAHHHHH! No but really, I’m super excited. If it wasn’t for all the help from my husband and the studio, I’m not sure if the event would have even happened. Thankfully I had all the photos beforehand and just needed to narrow down what I wanted to display and what story I wanted to tell. Eventually we want to create a book but that will be for next time.
LAC: Tell us more about your photos here, when are they spanning? Is there a theme or cohesive thread you had in mind for these selections?
ASG: The collection spans from the last few years from when I first bought my camera. I’ve used to it capture moments of depressions as a way to get it out of my head and body.
LAC: Have you previously worked with Earth Altar Studio? What is the history with them and how did you feel this space would work with your collection?
ASG: Earth Alter Studio was the first place I contacted about showcasing my photographs. I had previously gotten a piercing there and noticed they had artwork hanging from local artists. I came to learn they did not only do tattoos and piercing but also events and they have such a spiritual/loving space. Since my collection is very vulnerable, I felt safe with being able to showcase my work with them. With that being said above, this is my very first exhibit!
LAC: What has photography meant for you throughout your life, and in being in this Los Angeles in particular?
ASG: I have now been in Los Angeles for over 9 years. I’ve always been drawn to the camera and how it captures a moment or a feeling. I’ve been the one to be behind the camera and definitely have worked with beautiful photographers, but I have always had my own vision and knew what stories I wanted to tell. I think being an actor in LA comes with a lot of heartache and disappointment and photography gave me back power to express myself in the way I needed to.
LAC: You describe your work as telling poems and stories through photography and film. What are some influences in these mediums that have driven your inspiration?
ASG: Being an actor has definitely influenced my work. I have always been inspired by the people and artists that I look up to. Whether it’s in pictures of them in their most vulnerable state or in candid photos you get to see who they really are. Pretty pictures are pretty but it’s when you shed the layers and become naked (literally and figuratively) that you get to see the real person. To be vulnerable is to be human and I’ve always been drawn to the messy stuff, the things that really make us who we are.
I have also been writing poems since I was 12 to get whatever I was feeling and thinking out of me. I’ve never been one that’s good at explaining myself and poetry has been a saving grace. When I started taking photos, I feel that my poems and photography are one in the same. Hence, telling poems through photography. And there are no rules. Poetry and photography can be imperfect, messy and all over the place. Just like us humans.
LAC: How has the current state of climate, economy, society impacted your work?
ASG: The world around us is heavy and it doesn’t help with our own personal battles. There’s still a weird stigma around mental health and so many either feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed about it. I believe the more we share, we are able to connect and know we are not alone. I’ve had some people reach out to me through social media and let me know about their own struggles because I’ve shared mine with them. With everything going on, it is okay to not be okay and there should be no guilt around that.
LAC: Tell us more about the opening! And particularly about the raffle and your goals in raising donations for WIRES, NSWRFS, and Reform LA Jails.
My show opens this Saturday the 11th from 6-8pm. We are looking to raise collectively $1000 for a few different organizations. We are doing donations for organizations for relief efforts in Australia with the continuing devastation that is happening all over their beautiful country.
And for Reform LA jails, which is an incredible organization taking on the world’s largest jail system. Powered by Black Lives Matter, community organizations, and grassroots citizens- collected over 247,000 signatures to put a measure on the March 3, 2020 ballot.
When we win, L.A. County will:
- Invest in rehabilitation and mental treatment
- Reduce Jail Population
- Root out corruption to prevent abuses by the jails and Sheriff’s Department
LAC: Obviously we want to hear all about these raffle prizes, what do participants have to look forward to?
ASG: By donating, you’re entering into the raffle and have a chance to win one of my prints of your choice, $100 gift certificate to Earth Altar studio, a tattoo, a portrait session with me, and a few more prizes. Also, there will be piercings, free drinks, and music!
LAC: What is the timespan of the collection’s residence at Earth Altar?
ASG: My collection will be hanging on their walls for the rest of January. If you can’t make it to the show, you can always pop in on another day. Also, did I mention my work is for sale? 🙂
LAC: What are some goals and dreams you hope for yourself in 2020?
ASG: Life is a constant journey of learning and healing. That’s my main goal. And I will be opening my new studio to finally start a business in portrait/headshot photography.
LAC: How about for what you hope to see in the world around you for this year?
ASG: Less hate, more love. Listen more, talk less. More healing and less self-sabotage. Also, get this dumb fuck out of office but that can be a conversation for another time. 🙂
Ashley St. George’s collection opens January 11th at Earth Altar Studio with a reception from 6-8 PM. Information about how you can donate, enter in the raffle, and see the prizes can be found at https://www.earthaltarstudio.com/raffle.