My name is Ashley. Here’s the first few things you should know about me: My first camera was a Barbie Polaroid. Cameras are my passion. Travel is something I do often. Lastly, I only have one eye.
Starting from the beginning of my life... I could barely hold a camera when I started snapping Polaroid shots of my family members around the house. Growing up, the camera was always in my face. My Papa loved to take photos. If not for him, we wouldn’t have the family photos we do today. He is, and always will be, my biggest inspiration for finding my passion at such an early age in life. Losing him was one of the hardest points in my life to date, but I’ve always aimed to make him proud.
My childhood wasn’t easy. I was bullied, as I’m sure almost everyone can relate to. Cancer took my left eye as a child, and it’s very hard to explain to children why you’re so different from them. Their automatic reaction is usually to taunt. My eye “issue” became more evident to me as I grew older. The stares and pestering questions began to make me feel insecure about who I was. On top of this, I had never found “fitting-in” to be something I was good at. Making friends comes so naturally to some, but I think I missed out on that personality characteristic. I considered people friends, but the feeling wasn’t typically reciprocated. Growing older didn’t seem to change much of anything. I ended up leaving my high school due to a lack of friends, social interactions, and motivation. Eating lunch by yourself on a brick wall in the middle of a crowded courtyard isn’t fun. There were days I found myself crying in the bathrooms due to the overwhelming sense of loneliness I felt. My depression and anxiety peaked at this time. I was homeschooled for a couple of years, which really gave me time to embrace who I was as a person. For my senior year, I went back to a different high school and graduated. I’ve always been very private about these details, but I feel the more open I am, the more you’ll get to know me as a person (and why I do what I do).
In 2016, my life took another turn for the worse medically. Without getting into too many details, it’s best to say thoughts of how fragile our mortality truly is began to ring in my head. I’m still recovering from this, but my goal has always been to stay positive. To say, “Cameras changed my life,” would be an understatement. Cameras didn’t change my life. They saved my life. My passions revolve around cameras: directing, producing, cinematography, and photography. Hiding behind the camera gives me control. My work isn’t judged based on who I am as a person. My views aren’t distorted. It’s art, and I feel we should all have an artistic outlet. It’s essential to human life.
My goal, through Digital Volumes, is to create a safe, open, and entertaining platform through photos, videos, and social media as a whole. "Digital Volumes" is a title specific to what I believe. There are several different types of art, and I want to digitally share them with you. This vision started a couple of years ago, and it's finally become a reality. I owe much of my following to Instagram, which I've been lucky to use to preview some of my work over the past year or so.
As an artist of any form, it can often be difficult to look at your past work because, typically, a part of you will always find yourself critiquing it. I’m guilty of this myself. However, I’ve learned to talk myself out of it and begin to appreciate the photos for what they are: mine. I remember the younger Ashley who used to scroll through these photos, thinking they were the best she’d ever taken. I think of the pride I felt when I finally got the shot I was going for.
My work over the years has changed immensely, and I’m very proud of the experience, learning, practice, and growth represented through the ever-changing works. Always embrace growth - change can often be a positive thing - but never forget where you started. I have new preferences, more knowledge on key features, and an overall broadened spectrum of what photography - to me - truly is, but I’ll never forget the young girl who loved to point-and-shoot on the automatic setting with her first DSLR.
Believe in yourself because you're far more powerful than you realize.