For our latest Shooter’s Profile we have Toronto photographer Essence Ransome-Ambersley. We recently became accustomed to her work from a shoot that she did with one of our first clients, Phil (formerly Phil The Thrill). Once I looked through her work and saw the high level of artistry she brought to the table I had to make sure that she was apart of this series. So check her out and read her story.
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Essence Ransome-Ambersley and I’m a photographer.
Where are you from and how has being there affected your creativity?
I’m from Toronto where, from an early age, I was exposed to a wide range of diversity which opened my mind and made me realize there’s more to life than me and my experiences. At the age of 10, I moved to Atlanta with my family. I’ve met a lot of different people throughout my life and they’re what I feel has influenced my creativity.
Explain what initially got you into shooting?
I’ve spent the majority of life thinking I would end up playing basketball for the rest of life, but by my senior year of high school I was no longer as passionate about it as I once was, so I needed to find something else to pique my interest. My brother, who’s a great photographer, gave me his camera not long after I graduated high school so I started shooting Atlanta landscapes and friends just for fun. Then, I had a friend who was interested in modeling and his first modeling gig ended up being my first portrait/fashion shoot. That’s where Visual ERA Photography emerged. (The ERA is not only a representation of the visual period we’re in, but the letters are also my initials).
Explain what does an average day look like for you?
My days aren’t too interesting. I wake up, brush my teeth, shower, watch the Tonight Show episode from the night before, and eat. At some point during the day, I complete a writing exercise. If I’m not doing a photoshoot, then I am probably on my computer editing, doing research or watching YouTube tutorials. And before I go to sleep, I either read a book or watch a movie.
What things do you look at or watch for inspiration?
I’ve used movies and cinematic-looking TV shows as sources of inspiration, especially when I’m framing shots. There are also plenty of websites (fstoppers, tumblr, etc.) that I like to browse when I’m looking for inspiration. The people I shoot are often the main source of inspiration when I am editing my photos. Everybody emits a different vibe and that vibe often helps me develop an editing style for their shots while still trying to stay within my editing style.
How is it being a woman in this creative industry?
Maybe I haven’t been in this industry long enough yet, but I haven’t felt that being a woman has helped or hurt me when it comes to photography. I like knowing that people see my art before they see me because I’d like to think that my work is a representation of who I am.
What camera setup do you currently use (camera, lens, other accessories, etc)?
I use a Pentax K-30 with Sigma 18-35mm and Tamron 28-75mm lenses.
What do you specialize in or what do you enjoy shooting the most and why?
I love shooting creative/fashion portraits, but I also love shooting landscape, concert and street photography when I’m in a new city.
Since we believe that music is the center around all things creative, what are your top 3 music albums, and what about those albums that gets you in a creative zone?
That’s an impossible question for me to answer haha. I listen to so much music and love so much of it.
I’ve had this mission to put everybody on Alabama Shakes’ music, so you guys should listen to their album Sound and Color.
I am especially proud of a lot of the music that’s coming out of Toronto. It makes me really happy knowing that Canadian artists are making some of the best music and becoming some of the biggest names in entertainment. I also have some friends that make great music and have the potential to associate a new sound with their cities/states (Dallas, Virginia, Chicago, Atlanta, etc.)
I’ve mostly shot music artists and their music has been a creative force on my photos, both during the shoot and while I’m their editing photos. I’m lucky that they trust me enough to be the person to put a still visual to their music and image.
Who are some shooters that you follow and what do you admire about their work?
@DavidUzochukwu may be my favorite portrait photographer because he’s able to execute dramatic simplicity with his portraits. @Evan5ps is an Atlanta photographer with a distinct style, showing others that you don’t have to be in a city like New York to kill city shots. @Swopes is a photographer who is great at creating an amazingly surreal aesthetic to Chicago. My brother, @J.Ransome, is another one because he’s easily the most creative photographer I know.
What is one tangible piece of advice that you would give somebody who has just started shooting?
When I first started shooting, I thought my photos were amazing. I was looking back on my work a year later and I realized how wrong I was and how much I’ve improved. Know that there is always room for improvement no matter how good you may think your work is. Find creatives/people doing what you’re doing and learn from them and collaborate with them whenever you can. Also, shoot whatever and whenever you can because it may help you find what you love to shoot most.
Random Question: What is your favorite TV show of all time?
Seinfeld! I’ve been watching it since I was about 10 and I’ve seen every episode at least 15 times and laugh every time. You should watch The Chinese Restaurant episode if you’ve never seen this show before.
What is next for you?
I want to get into making movies (directing, cinematography, writing). I already have plenty of ideas for films and have actually begun writing. I would love to start travelling the world and photograph every part of it too. I’ll keep everything else a secret.
Where can people find you?
You can check out my tumblr: http://visualeraphoto.tumblr.com
My Instagram, where I’m more active, @eransome.
(VisualERAPhoto.com coming very soon)
Thank you to The Rebel Society!