Indie Film Lab


Indie Film Lab is a simple lab dedicated to photographers that still believe in and love film capture.

Artist Spotlight: Ashley Kelemen


It is time for something new. You see their work on the internet or in magazines, but we want to know a little more about the individual behind the lens. Everyone has discovered photography in a different way. Everyone has taken a different path to get to where they are now. Lets learn a little more about their story.

Today we are talking with Ashley Kelemen. Ashley is a fine art wedding photographer currently based in Costa Mesa, CA. Ashley is a fun, passionate person and it shows in her work. We are excited to be a part of her process.


IFL: How did you get started in photography?

AK: When I moved to New York, I fell in love with the city and found myself constantly in awe of everything I saw every day. In essentially the first creative endeavor of my life, I started a tumblr with iPhone shots around the city.That naturally evolved into something much bigger, documenting travel & life, and ultimately introduced me to a huge community of photographers around the world. They encouraged me to pick up a real camera, and within a few months my good friend Alice handed me her Contax. That was pretty much the end of the life I knew.


IFL: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be doing?

AK: I spent several years working in the Fashion industry, and now that I'm out, I realize it was never the right fit for me. At this point, I think I would want to get into a business marketing field. I'd love to work with creatives to better navigate the business world, and to have the confidence to actually support themselves with their art.

That, or a marine biologist, but I was a terrible student...


IFL: Why shoot film?

AK: At first, I fell in love with it for the aesthetic, the soft colors and the way it handled light. I still love it for those reasons, but as time has gone on I've realized how much it changes the way I shoot. Each image means more, and it challenges me to pay attention to everything in my frame with each shot. It has completely shaped me as a photographer.


IFL: How do you feel about the direction the photography industry is going?

AK: It's easy to worry a lot about the vast number of entry level wedding photographers providing cheap, fast work and delivering absolutely everything, rather than the best of the best. I see it changing client expectations without an emphasis on quality, and somewhat eroding part of the wedding industry. That said, I think there will always be a market for truly great wedding photographers. There are enough clients with taste and an eye for art, who are looking for beautiful imagery, and a thorough understanding of light and movement. Long term, I do see clients remembering the value of good service, beautiful packaging and a collection of images that are album worthy and stand the test of time.


IFL: What's inspiring you right now?

AK: Recently, I've stopped looking at what's being done by my fellow wedding photographers. There is so much talent in this industry, and it's easy for me to focus on what work I'm not doing, who is getting what weddings, working with which vendors, etc. and that ultimately prevents me from growing as an artist. Instead, I'm looking outside of weddings. I'm looking to graphic designers for an emphasis on balance and color. I'm looking to the incredible people I get to call friends, like Ryan Muirhead and Alice Gao, who help me to see differently and to ask the hard questions about my images. And I'm looking outside, because the more time I spend in front of the computer, the less I find to inspire me.


IFL: Where is one of your favorite places (geographically) to shoot?

AK: Travel shapes who I am, and how I live my life. Discovering the world through my camera has been the best part of photography for me. So honestly, my favorite place to shoot is anywhere new! I haven't been to Africa since five years before I ever picked up a camera, so I'm currently dying to get back there to shoot.


IFL: Whats your favorite film stock right now?

AK: Portra 160 is my go to for color, and Tri-X for black and white. I'm a creature of habit so when I fall in love with a film, I will almost always pick up the same one.


IFL: If you could photograph anything in the world, no limitations, what would it be?

AK: Oh man. If I could, I would spend all my time photographing the disappearing animal species around the world. Having seen cheetah's run through Tanzania knowing that it's something my children might not see, and swimming with blacktip reef sharks in Thailand, and visiting the sun bear sanctuary in Laos...the list goes on and on, and it breaks my heart. I've been lucky enough to see things that won't be around forever, and if I could leave a record of those in some way for future generations, I would feel so fulfilled.


IFL: If somebody discovered a book of your work, or a box of negatives, a hundred years form now, what would you want them to take away from it?

AK: I would want them to feel that they had gotten to know me, to know a piece of my messy world and to know that I had spent my life capturing love from an honest place.

You can see more of Ashley's work here:

Website // Facebook // Instagram