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Art & Life with Charlotte Ashcroft

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlotte Ashcroft.

Charlotte, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
The unique story of a graveyard photographer? Where do I begin with that one? I wish I could tell you some sort of intricate, fascinating story about how I became what I am today. The truth is that I can’t. I’ve always enjoyed taking photos and that’s been the foundation of my passion but that’s not the meat of it. I never really understood how to capture what I saw in my mind’s eye. I’d see these situations or inanimate objects, moments suspended in time, but I could never make my camera capture it. It wasn’t until I was older that it started to become clear to me what it really was that I was trying to capture. I realized it was the part of me that is drawn to the gritty, the dirty, and the taboo. I want my photos to ooze with this raw emotion.

Of course books like Red Dragon, Pet Sematary, and Danse Macabre are inspirational all on their own. Add to that a love for vintage funeral photography, film noir, the nocturnes of Tori Amos in Little Earthquakes, and a lifelong curiosity of what lies hidden beyond the veil of everyday reality, and you have the artist that I am today.

My graveyard photography journey truly started in New Orleans when I fell in love with an angel, and not just any angel either. The Weeping Angel is, to this day, my favorite piece. She is my muse. This statue is an embodiment of the deepest parts of me. I feel each of my graveyard pieces to date, has a bit of my personality hidden inside, the facets of Charlotte.

The graveyards of the southern United States are enchanting, especially those of New Orleans. The writer Andrew Codrescu said “New Orleans is an intoxicating brew of rotting and generating, a feeling of death and life simultaneously occurring and inextricably linked.” This is the place that death brought my passion to life.

I also enjoy street photography. I love to people watch, particularly trying to figure out dynamics in a relationship. Kind of like a fly on the wall type of thing. More often than not, you can find me with some sort of camera. I enjoy capturing the “right place, right time” moments. Those fleeting moments, the ones that you can’t prepare for.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
“I’ve always found the idea of death comforting. The thought that my life could end at any moment frees me to fully appreciate the beauty and art and horror of everything this world has to offer.” -Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Isn’t that a great quote? I realize the things that I am drawn to, some people find disturbing. Graveyard photography is my main passion. It’s beautiful in its own way, giving a voice to the unmentionable.

There is so much beauty that lies unnoticed and unappreciated. There’s a certain stigma that surrounds graveyards, especially being someone that enjoys spending time in them and photographing them. I have The statues speak to me with noise and clarity. They’re dying for attention! Haha, see what I did there? Just a little morbid humor to lighten the mood.

I find beauty in it and want to highlight it. My artistic aspiration is to evoke and elicit raw, emotional responses that leave my audience feeling a sense of vulnerability and introspection. I want to expose these things so they are no longer taboo and if you can’t get used to it, I’m definitely more than happy to make you feel uncomfortable.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Technology has changed the art world forever. Access to the internet and Social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram allow an artist to gain exposure worldwide. The technology that artists have at their fingertips is truly remarkable. I won’t go as far as to say there’s an over-saturation of the art market due to the internet but occasionally the quality that’s readily available leaves some to be desired.

I truly believe that people should purchase and support real artists, as opposed to purchasing the same wall decor that millions of other people have in their home too.

Buy unique, original art. Support your local artists. Dig deeper than what’s shoved in front of you. Support creators of beauty.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Currently, I’m between showings but my photographs can always be viewed on my website: CharlieAshcroft.com. Updates on showings are on my website or my social media. You can follow me on Instagram @charlie_ashcroft for my most recent photos. Support can come in a variety of forms. It can be as simple as a follow on social media, a message or comment of how much you enjoy my work or a specific photograph, or adding one of my photos to your private collection. If you are interested in owning an Ashcroft, please feel free to contact me @ iamcharlieashcroft@gmail.com.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Charlotte Ashcroft Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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