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Vivid Visionaries – Photography: Jeff and Sarah Ascough

Posted on 29th January 2019 by Olivia

We all like to start the new year with a little inspiration, great conversations and most importantly a good brew, and we did just that as we welcomed Jeff and Sarah Ascough into Vivid HQ as our first Vivid Visionaries of 2019!

Now we’d say that it was good meeting Jeff and Sarah, but the word ‘good’ may be a slight understatement. Recognised as “a master at shooting with available light” by The Washington Post, Jeff is a photographer with 30 years of experience in the industry and it’s fair to say that he knows his way around a camera and he didn’t disappoint. A Canon ambassador and listed as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Photographers Of All Time” by Professional Photographer magazine, Jeff’s achievements in the industry sent Team Vivid into a serious admiration frenzy.

With a straight forward documentary style to her photography, Sarah equally amazed us Vividers, accurately representing people, places and objects. Sarah’s work has been published in magazines such as Vogue, as well as being the only female photographer to be chosen by Canon for their highly anticipated EOS 5DMKIV European video advertising campaign. Oh, and not forgetting that in 2018 Sarah’s first book ‘Showfield’ was accepted into the Martin Parr Foundation library.

Equally successful in their own right, Jeff and Sarah now collaborate together in projects such as weddings, portraits, scenery and pretty much everything in between. Their distinctive black and white style stands out within the industry, alongside their attention to detail and the stories told in their images.

Desperate to find out more about the pair, we asked them a few questions:

Who is your inspiration for each of your style of photography?

Jeff- Henri Cartier-Bresson as his work was the first ever pictures I saw at college- they have stuck with me ever since!

Sarah- Tony Ray-Jones. Tony was the photographer that made sense to me/had a similar photography style to me. He taught me it was ok to photograph a little different.

Has your background always been photography?

Jeff- Pretty much! I have been in the photography industry for 30 years.

Sarah- Originally, I was a hairdresser, but when I became pregnant I began to get into photography and never looked back! I used to do the albums and prints for Jeff but I gave the camera a go and it all started from there.

What sort of cameras do you use?

We pretty much always use Leica’s as I’ve (Jeff) grown up with them! However, as a Canon Ambassador, I have also used Canons in the past.

Which photos in your portfolios were the most fun to take?

Jeff- It has to be ‘speedos’.

Sarah- Anything involving animals, but the most fun shots have to be the ones when you hope for something to happen and it does!

What would you both advise beginners to do when wanting to enter the industry?

The most important thing to do when starting out is to find your own style of photography and find your own eye- it’s great to be inspired by others, but never copy directly.

From your points of view, what makes a good picture?

Jeff- The right lighting, a great composition and really importantly, the photo has to tell a story!

Sarah- Again, the right lighting really makes an image. Also I think an image is great when there are lots of different elements and things to look at in the photo.

What editing software do you use to enhance your images?

We use Photoshop for most things as well as Lightroom.

Who is your most ‘stand out’ individual that you have captured?

Jeff- My most stand out has to be Ed O’Brian from Radiohead- I was very star struck, however I believe that people are people and it doesn’t really matter who they are, really we are all the same just with different jobs!

What’s your opinion of IPhone’s in terms of photography?

Once the IPhone 6 released, Apple really upped their game when it comes to photography. Their cameras are great for taking great looking images however it will never beat a good camera. I was actually approached by Nokia for promotion of their cameras, however my contract with Canon at the time meant this wouldn’t be possible.

Tell us a little more about your work taking headshots:

Headshots are great as you can work with one light and they can be taken pretty much anywhere! We’ve had quite a lot of experience with head shots and they work really well with dark and light film.

Thank you to Jeff and Sarah for coming to Vivid HQ and leaving the Vivid team more than a little inspired! We are very excited to stay in contact and see what the future holds!

Want to be our next Visionary? Contact [email protected] or call 0161 819 5140.

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