This piece is one in a series about unapologetic women whose hair makes a statement. Follow their stories here.
When an artist statement ranges from “magic,” “light,” “hair,” “feminism,” “mysteries,” and “question marks,” you’ll never quite know what you’re going to view. That’s the beauty behind the work from Ashley Sophia Clark. The Portland photographer believes that visually capturing spirit, tension, light, and playful contexts gives viewers a unique lens into the scene before them.
Portraits and examining human features are something of an experimental medium for the artist, originally from Portland, Oregon. Take hair, for example: Clark believes that a person’s hair holds a particular expression and depth of experience that she seeks to convey in her work. Clark appreciates that her own long locks have gone on an artistic journey with her, bearing witness to her whole life. “It’s been with you through time and space, so it’s collected that energy,” she says. “Long hair expresses a lot of things.”
Clark owns her quirky reputation, acknowledging that people often find her photos a little bit strange and unexpected — but she is not at all bothered by that. She keeps producing the work she wants to make, which means photographs that feature quite a bit of pink, a little bit of whimsy. Who knows, there may even be some Froot Loops cereal in the sink or confetti coming out of a trumpet. Whatever Clark works on next, you can bet it’ll be a surprise. Learn more about Clark and her artistic process.
About the Director
Anu Valia is writer, director, and actor who has produced videos for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, MTV, IFC, CollegeHumor, Vox Media, Refinery29, NYLON magazine, Above Average, and more. A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Anu's award-winning short films have screened across the country and abroad. Her most recent short film, Lucia, Before and After, won the Jury Prize for US Fiction at Sundance Film Festival and was a recipient of Refinery29's Shatterbox Anthology grant. Walia also directs the Refinery29 series, Womanhood, featuring Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone. Her work at CollegeHumor has won a Bronze Telly Award and was nominated for a Webby Award. Anu is a 2017 artist resident of SPACE on Ryder farm as well as an ambassador for the American Film Showcase.
Anu on Ashley:
"Ashley's photos are in a world all to their own: in just one image she can convey mischief, mystery, and beauty."