UNESCO International Dance Council: registered photographer
About Jason Ashwood
I am a London based photographer with a particular interest in both portraiture as well as telling stories about people through longer term studies.
In addition to commercial opportunities I continually work on longer-term projects about people with a view to creating something lasting, and meaning, about their lives and influences on others. I need to balance this between important human rights issues and the beauty and joy the world has to offer.
The Face of Defiance (2015 - 2017), my first major project, was a portrait study of survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) and those who campaign against it (which included former ‘cutters’ who used to carry out FGM). The aim was to give survivors and campaigners a voice through both compelling portraiture as well as a written narrative. I under took this project with the international award winning FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein in the UK, America and Senegal. Ultimately it was highlighted in a variety of media and exhibited in Washington DC, New York, Dublin, London and Senegal. Three of my portraits were acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London, including Leyla’s which was put on permanent display ion December 2018 and features in the NPG’s publication 100 Pioneering Women (2018).
As I continue to develop my ideas about telling stories about individuals I am working on two book projects.
My first book project, which is nearing completion, is Shadow Aspect. This was a five day study of ballerina Mara Galeazzi, the former principal dancer of the Royal Ballet, in Tim Podesta’s award winning ballet Shadow Aspect. My aim was to give the audience a very personal insight of the life of a world class ballerina behind the scenes, which they would otherwise never experience. Never undertaken before in her 30 year career, the imagery covers almost every moment of her preparations, backstage and in the wings, and is accompanied by very personal insights about her career. I will be seeking publication in 2019. Two of my portraits of Mara were acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2018.
Following on from Shadow Aspect I was given the unique opportunity to spend two weeks inside Miami City Ballet in 2018 in the run up to the opening night of their new season. The project tells the story of the principal dancer Rainer Krenstetter and his dance partner Tricia Albertson as they prepare for their first duet together in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no.2. I was by their side from rehearsals through to the final deep breaths before entering the stage and the moments straight afterwards. I seek to tell the story of the work before and emotions afterwards, and the relationships within the company. This has never been done with Miami City Ballet before and along with many interviews, I hope my imagery will give a new insight and understanding about this world class company. I will be seeking publication in 2019.
My dance imagery has resulted in my being nominated for, and receiving, membership to the International Dance Council at UNESCO as a dance photographer.
Longer term, I seek to broaden my career by being commissioned to bring important and socially relevant issues to public attention.