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Ashleigh Coleman

2020 State Fellow

Ashleigh Coleman

Recipient Information


Jackson, Mississippi


Hasselblad, Portra 160

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Prize and State Fellowship

Grant Amount


Artist Biography

Ashleigh Coleman is a self-taught photographer. As she susses out where she lives and what is required of her as a mother, Ashleigh looks through the lens of an inherited Hasselblad.

In the meantime, her photographs have exhibited across the United States, including solo shows at the Fischer Galleries in Jackson, MS, the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and the Claire Elizabeth Gallery in New Orleans. Her work has also been shown at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the University of West Virginia, the University of Southern Mississippi, and is currently part of Looking for Appalachia’s traveling exhibition. She is a founding member of Due South Co.

Ashleigh lives on the land of her husband’s family in rural Mississippi.

Artist Statement

What if I slowly discovered I am not who I thought I would be as a woman, as a mother?  What if “[t]he evidence of my life lay before me, and I was unconvinced.” (Leif Enger)

The reality is that every day mishaps feel shocking. Noise threatens to unglue. Baking rarely occurs. I am terrified of being used up, of losing myself, of not actually knowing what coherent adult thoughts feel or sound like anymore.

These are glimpses into a woman coming to terms with the quotidian mystery of motherhood, into staking out joy in the chaos—outside, looking in; inside, looking in—into learning to be here.  By capturing the collision between childishness and adult expectations a dim path is illuminated through the Sisyphean mess.  Perspective charges the horizon: maybe not in that exact second, maybe a month or two later—they are growing; destructive curiosity mellowing, possibly.

For now, it’ll do.

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