Photo by Daniel White.
Ashlie Acevedo is one of the few people a person meets who has translated her passion into a career, especially straight out of college. She’s a driven, talented photographer with a great eye, and she possesses the capacity to translate her keen abilities into website design and other creative endeavors for both AMPLIFIER and Greensboro’s Photobiz.
Readers have seen her photos on the pages of AMPLIFIER since early into the second year of the publication, and she’s become a go-to for several Greensboro writers ever since. Her style when photographing is casual and fun, putting the subject immediately at ease, and her photos are straightforward and beautiful.
As AMPLIFIER’s Creative Director, Acevedo is an essential asset in the move from print to digital due to her increasing expertise. AMPLIFIER’s Danielle Chiasson interviewed Acevedo to take a look into a contributor who holds one of the keys to AMPLIFIER’s future success as a digital magazine.
[Danielle Chiasson] You serve a few roles at AMPLIFIER, particularly as it has undergone the print to digital switch. If forced to make up a title/titles for yourself, what would you choose?
[Ashlie Acevedo] I’ve been dubbed “Creative Director” and zine photographer as official roles for AMPLIFIER, but I think “Bratty Zine Sister” is more accurate. There’s never not a time at our meetings where I’m not bothering Daniel White with something stupid or calling Jordan Booker an asshole (for probably doing nothing…) But somehow they all still tolerate me.
[DC] When did you start taking photographs? At what point did you start taking photography seriously/considering building it into your future plans?
[AA] I started taking photographs at a super young age. I remember being fascinated by my parents’ simple point-and-shoot cameras, and eventually I started buying disposables. I swear, I have boxes of film that I haven’t developed yet from like sixth grade. I would take photos of anything, but I really grew to love taking photos of people. I got my first digital camera the year before I turned 16 from my mom. It wasn’t at all the most exciting or high tech camera, but it felt really good to call it my own. From age 15 until my sophomore year of college, I carried a camera with me almost everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I photographed my friends at parties, eating lunch, jumping into pools during the summer, or just sitting around doing much of nothing. I was fascinated with capturing them at their most human and vulnerable moments, not posed or even paying attention to me. Thinking about it now, I know it was my way of capturing those moments forever. I have a really shit memory, and I love looking back at old photos or videos or things I’ve written. I started taking it seriously just this year, actually. I’ve started doing engagement shoots, weddings and headshots. Much more commercial than the fine art I usually do. I want to continue to really focus on bridal portraits and engagements, but I want to keep my fine art eye through all of it.
[DC] Is there a particular AMPLIFIER article you most enjoyed taking the photos for?
[AA] Probably one of the article’s I covered in the most recent AMPLIFIER issue, written by Jordan McFadden. He and I spent a few hours exploring Greensboro and some hidden spots that I never knew about before that day. I think it was my favorite AMPLIFIER article to take photos for because it was such a cool experience. It really got me out of my comfort zone, both physically and in a photo sense. There was a lot of walking in the woods involved; I stood over top of a huge dam hidden away in a beautiful neighborhood (and, my god, I’m afraid of heights like no other). I even tripped, embarrassingly enough. My reasoning for feeling out of my photo comfort zone is simple: I’m a portrait photographer. Landscapes, architecture, nature… Not my thing—unless, of course, you put someone in the middle of those environments. It was neat to do something out of my norm for a change.
[DC] What prompted you to start designing webpages?
[AA] Embarrassingly enough, when I was about 12 or so, I spent a lot of time trying to “design” websites, but I used Word on my grandfather’s computer. You can set up hyperlinks and insert images, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the whole damn world that I could link pages I made to each other—but I never understood why I couldn’t get it published on the internet. Then in high school, I was very involved with graphic design and somehow transitioned that into actually designing webpages. I started with super simple html coding, moved into learning about and working with FTP systems, and honestly decided in high school that I wanted to create websites for a living. I loved it so much. I ended up going to college for Fine Art and Design—I took one coding class and never thought I would touch a website again after that. Fast forward to my graduation day in 2014, and I’m walking into a full-time job right after with Photobiz, a web company here in Greensboro. I now work part of my day creating custom logos and custom websites for our clients. It’s always so funny to me how things work out.
[DC] Are there any particular features of the new AMPLIFIER site that you feel set it apart?
[AA] The new AMPLIFIER site is firstly an awesome representation of the changes that it’s going through currently. It’s a new perspective on both the web design and the transition from our usual print issues to all web. It’s also, at least to me, super easy to use and absolutely beautiful. It’s a website design that I haven’t really seen before, which really sets it apart from most zines. I feel like a lot of zine websites don’t have the organization or search-ability that AMPLIFIER does. And that’s not to shit on other zines, it’s just an honest observation.
[DC] Is your experience working with AMPLIFIER helping with/otherwise impacting the rest of your life?
[AA] Working with AMPLIFIER has built me up so much. The people I’ve met and worked with through AMPLIFIER have become a small family to me. It’s so refreshing to have so many talented and interesting people in my life, and I’m so thankful for each of them. This also helps me career wise. I have a lot of things I want to do in my life, and one of them has always been to photograph for a magazine. Being able to say that I’ve been involved with a now statewide magazine is really rewarding. It’s teaching me a lot about the way things work behind the scenes, and it’s gearing me up if ever I am lucky enough to work for a big name magazine in the future. I’m extremely thankful for the opportunities Jen has given me, and like I said before, the people I’ve met.
[DC] What’s next for you?
[AA] I want nothing but big things in my life. I feel like I’m getting where I want to be, but there’s still so much more to do and see and learn. I think the next thing for me is to become a full time designer at Photobiz (it’s so close I can taste it), and once I’ve got that on my resume, some years from now, I see myself on the west coast. For now, I’m settling down in a new space, growing in my current job and learning to be happy. Who really knows what’s next?