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MultiplicityTO: How did you become involved with PURRR Magazine?

Ashley Emma: I collaborated with Maryam for a piece in .BYTE zine, and when she had the idea to start Purrr, she asked me to be a part of it.

MTOCan you speak to us about your relationship with concert photography? What aspects do you love about it? How is this different than your portrait photography?

AE: Concert photography makes me feel electric. In the pit, it’s quick, loud and exciting. You’ve got the crowd, who are buzzing with anticipation. Then you’ve got the artist’s dramatic entrance, and suddenly you’re engulfed between two waves of wild, roaring energy. It’s an incredible spot to be in. All the while, you’ve got three songs to get your shot and go!


I love that it pulls together my two favourite activities—photography and music. It’s different from my portrait photography in that there’s more time to deliberate and connect with the model.

Ashley Emma Photography

MTOYour photography shows a great sense and appreciation for capturing faces and expressions— what do you aim to capture when you take someone's photograph, portraits and candid shots?

AE: When I take someone’s photo, I want to show them as they want to be seen. I hold a lot of power as the one holding the camera, so it’s also about how I want to show them and how I feel this person wants to be seen. I like to think of a session as a collaborative experience. My goal is to realize the client’s vision as much as I’m realizing my creative vision.


My ethos is informed by the person who got me into portrait photography — Amber Ellis at Creating Light Studio.


MTOIn the context of photography and the city of Toronto — your shots appear to capture the small corners of the city, the places brushed over and sort of stand-alone moments, as if we are looking at a still of a film. Can you speak more to this?


AE: My love for the city runs deep. I think love overtime has turned into something else. Documenting those places and objects help to remind me of that love.


Ashley Emma Photography

MTOWhere do you draw your inspiration to be a creative? How do you apply that in your everyday life?


AE: I draw inspiration from everything and everywhere. It works best when it’s unplanned, though I do go through phases of being inspired by particular themes. Lately it’s been a lot of disco and all things sparkly. It shows through in everyday life through my appearance and the media I consume.


MTOWe define multiplicity as living, being and working in more than one form, which allows us to examine the space beyond binaries and how we all exist in multiplicity—how do you relate to this concept?


AE: Diaspora, queerness, culture, work and play. All that I do and all that I am are the pieces that make me.


Ashley is a founder of

PURRR Magazine. Click here for Purrr's full interview.