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Artist Spotlight: Asha Taitt

Author: The Printique Team

If you’re a lover of cinematic photography that speaks with a voice of its own, prepare to be enamored by the work of Asha Taitt.

Having first began her journey as a photographer in a high school photography class, it wasn’t until the following year that she uncovered a deeper appreciation for photography’s true power; “I found out I had a purpose in photography,” she shares, “Which was to tell stories of the past, present and future that are geared towards the life of black people.”

Photograph taken by photographer Asha Taitt.

Asha’s passion for storytelling from the black perspective is shared by photographer Renell Medrano, who Asha says is an inspiration for her work: “We don’t necessarily shoot the same. But I love her themes. I love how she always connects her work back to culture. She’s proud of where she comes from and applies that style to her work,” says Asha.

Photograph taken by photographer Asha Taitt.

Asha also opened up about the difficulties that come along with pursuing photography; “The most difficult part about being a photographer is still knowing your worth even when the numbers don’t show it,” she shares. It’s a struggle that many photographers relate to, thanks to the rise of social media and the role it plays in marketing both your business and your art.

In the face of discouragements, Asha keeps her focus on her passion and her love for the craft: “If you know your purpose, then recognition and numbers won’t matter.”

Join us as we explore our favorite qualities of Asha’s work through a look at her photo series “He loves me, He loves me not.”

A Mastery of Body Language

Asha’s use of staging and body language in her work is impeccable.  Take the photograph below for example: the man’s slight lean forward, the woman’s subtle angling toward the camera and hesitant eyes. The intentional detail in Asha’s photographs elevates them from impressive to truly exceptional; We sing the praises of the models in this shoot as well! Khyila, Daniel, and Kimmy did an incredible job bringing Asha’s direction to life.

A photograph taken by Asha Taitt in her photo series He loves me, He loves me not.

A Tension Between Subjects and Viewer

It’s not every day that a photo you’re looking at looks at you back. Asha regularly exercises confrontational eye contact as a strength in her photographs. By featuring multiple characters in her photos, Asha creates a mesmerizing dynamic between those within the frame and those beyond. There is an intimate tension in her photography that reminds us we are outsiders, while equally drawing us in.

This use of shifting tension is demonstrated perfectly by the two photos below. As you look back and forth between them, you can feel the energy change in direction. The viewer goes from part of the photograph – locking eyes with the subjects – to a forgotten onlooker. The contrast between the energy in these photos makes the tension in the second photo, between the man and the woman, all the more powerful.

The following two photos are another example of Asha’s use of shifting tension. With the context of the second photo, the first photo takes on a different meaning. These two photos, and those that surround them, give the woman pictured an active and aware presence in this story. She is not an object to the man’s gaze, but rather an active participant in the silent pushes and pulls happening between two strangers. Asha accomplishes this meaningful distinction with her incredible use of tension, and such an anti-objectification is seen throughout her works.

A Compelling Narrative

Not only does each photo capture tension and relationships, but the arrangement of Asha’s photos in the format of series allows her to tell intricate stories.

“In my photography, I aim to capture entertaining, and raw stories,” Asha shares, “My concentration of choice is cinematic photography, which presents photos in a movie or TV like way.”

Take the two photos below for example: the first, a photo from the beginning of the series and the second, a photo from the end. In the first photo, we see the courting phase; In the second photo, we see a clear contention between the two original characters – a contention that centers on the presence of the new character.

With just these two photos, we can come to understand a significant storyline. Add in the 30+ photos that make up the remainder of the series, and you’ll find yourself enthralled by a story of courtship, love, and betrayal.

Asha’s commitment to the narratives she chooses has completely wowed us. We’ll be watching closely to see the incredible art Asha gifts us with next!

Follow her on Instagram to see more of her incredible work: Instagram.com/donttiltthecamera.

The Instagram feed of photographer Asha Taitt (@donttiltthecamera)