Not too long back we took a deeper look at the shooters behind the resurgence of the Grime Scene, and asked if we truly had Grime visual artists in focus. This months we got a chance to get an even deeper perspective with the first ever ‘Focal Point’ live at BoxPark with Ashley Verse and Courtney Francis.
Pushing aside any preconceptions about photographers, this insightful and enlightening conversation between Ashley and Courtney, gave us not only a picture into their craft but also their individual personalities. Charting their journey through the struggle, the grind, the risks, the pay offs and even giving us an ultimate projection into their imagined futures, this in-conversation is a must listen for any photographer wanting to get into the game.
It’s often hard to find out about the people behind the lens especially when our gaze is focused on appreciating the subject of their art. When it comes to Ashley and Courtney, their unwavering commitment and natural alliance with so many artists in the scene has contributed to very real representation of many of todays most renowned Grime artists. Beyond the pursuit of ‘getting that shot’, the challenges of gaining recognition in amongst the fast paced environment of Instagram and social media, they put an even clearer focus on how much passion and drive it takes to cut through.
With so much diversity in UK music at the moment, new artists seemingly breaking through each month, it’s possible that the impact of these cultural curators won’t be fully realised for years to come as listeners shift and change from Grime to UK Rap to Afrobeats and beyond. Our culture as Brits can only truly be told through the eyes of those that love and live among the artists of our day. As Simon Wheatley put it in our Cover Story, “The journey is always the destination. If a photographer’s focus is on enjoying the experience rather than on an over-determination to ‘get the picture’ then I believe good pictures will happen along the way.”
Enjoying this experience for Ashley started with a love for music, making videos way before he branched out into music and fashion photography. In his journey, whether he’s shooting for GQ, labels or live shows, Ashley’s also had to learn the business of being a photographer from understanding licensing, copyright and how to get paid from your craft. Courtney’s perspective comes from a pursuit of happiness, a passion for photography that he pursues outside of his work as an IT engineer. Two very different journeys shared with a common spirit and a great sense of humour.
Take a moment, sit back and take a view of this Focal Point – recorded live at Boxpark and supported by Nation of Billions. Ashley Verse’s exhibition continues till the end of the month;