Ashley Lebedev

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ashley lebedev

Twin Cities, MN
www.bottlebellphotography.com 

“Faerieland”

Faerieland is a brain child project. I’ve always been very interested in aspects of fantasy as I find them incredibly youthful and inspiring. With Faerieland, I’ve really tried to find a balance between that part of me and my seemingly endless love affairs with natural light, on location portraiture, vintage everything, and elements found within nature. I’ve melded my favorite things into (what I intend to be) a very authentic and atmospheric storyboard, in which I’ve written and designed a world of magical places and characters (some more than others) that we all might see aspects of ourselves in, in one way or another.

This is the largest project I’ve ever taken on, and the first time I’ve been brave enough to endeavor into something that took this amount of planning, conceptualizing, studying, networking, design, collaboration, and commitment. I first came up with the idea to shoot this very lengthy fantasy storyboard last spring as I wandered my 12 acre property. I became very aware of, each day, how the season unfolded itself from a terribly frigid Midwestern Winter. It was a great metaphor for pretty much everything my work represents, and who I am as a person – the endless balance of finding something beautiful amidst the fragility and dark realities we all face as individuals.

I took notes. I slept outside underneath briars during a normal work day. I sat on the forest floor looking up at the canopy, right in the mix of animals like deer and rabbits and birds. It’s amazing when you sit there long enough, what becomes comfortable with you. I recorded what I heard everywhere I went on my mp3 player, and put it on repeat with solo piano tracks for a full month. It was all I listened to. I wanted to understand nature as well as how far we stray from it, and how I was going to visually relay what it meant to come back to it, metaphorically. It is my hope, in continuing this storyboard, that children are going to be able to look at this collection and see an amazing dream world of magic, and adults are going to be able to look at the same pieces and see the symbolism and intention.