The work of British photographer Ashton Hugh is characterized by the use of sunlight, color, and shadow, yet it’s the considered way in which he places his subjects against and beside dramatic natural scenery that sets his work apart.
Originally from Birmingham, England, Hugh grew up mostly in the Peak District in Buxton, in the East Midlands. “It was kind of quaint and a bit reductive, but very beautiful,” he tells IGNANT. “I did the classic college to uni thing so I’ve always been quite practical with my work.” Scrolling down Hugh’s Instagram feed, one can see that his interest first began with landscape photography. “My dad bought me my first camera as I was always using his. My sister and I made a lot of films and I did shoots with my friends growing up. I think I was always most interested in the landscape,” he says. Hugh eventually stumbled into the world of fashion photography—”It really just kind of happened, I never planned it,” he admits. “I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been super into fashion but I definitely think pop culture, especially artists like Madonna and Kylie Minogue, have inspired my style and vision.”
Hugh’s aesthetic is distinguished by his considered but varied approach: black and white portraits and candid shots of models in relaxed suits are contrasted against editorials with stylized poses and images of the ocean’s waves. There is a sense of warmth to Hugh’s work; his lens turns fashion photography into something raw and real. “I’m really inspired by places,” he says. “Location is really important to me and I love exploring. Usually when I visit somewhere, its energy provokes the start of my planning a shoot. I’m a perfectionist so I tend to overthink a lot, but that drives me to make sure the shoot turns out the way I envisioned it when I was first in that place.” Color, light, and location are definitely important elements in Hugh’s body of work. “If the light is great then it really changes everything; it’s kind of a cliché but at sunset is definitely my favorite time to shoot! I really gravitate to those warm tones.”