Sway Vision: Imaginary Girl by Rachael Ashe    

Rachael Ashe is an artist and photographer internationally known for her work with altered books, mixed media collages and photography. Her portrait series, Imaginary Girl, is a captivating and whimsical collection of photos featuring stunning women.


By Naima Abdi—

One of the strongest aspects of Imaginary Girl  is that it successfully captures identity, femininity and beauty at so many different angles. The series isn’t just a well composed collection of posing women but rather a unique set of enchanting portraits that illuminate a part of the subject’s essence.

Originally, the series was inspired by a self portrait project called 52 Weeks, where Rachael Ashe took one self portrait a week for an entire year. The finished project was so colorful and imaginative that she decided to incorporate the same style and ideas into a new concept featuring other women. “I chose my subjects from among my female friends and acquaintances, sometimes creating a concept for the shoot around something related to them,” Ashe explained.


The main challenge she faced when working with people who aren’t professional models, she described, was the awkwardness a lot of the women felt about being on camera because they didn’t think they were photogenic. Still, the subjects stepped in front of the lens, embraced their vulnerability and shared their beautiful otherness. Each image in Imaginary Girl is so visually assertive, yet at the same time rather delicate, which makes for a whimsical and simultaneously cerebral impact.

Although it’s been a few years since Ashe worked on the series, she hopes to shoot more Imaginary Girl portraits in the future. For now, she’s focused on her paper work.

Find Rachael on twitter @RachaelAshe, and on Instagram @Rachael_Ashe.