As a young girl in Palm Springs, California, Ashley Durham used to rig a parachute to her Barbie, toss her into the air, and snap pictures of the doll’s descent. Back then the junior photographer was using a 35mm Kodak; she now uses a Nikon D90 DSLR. Looking at Durham’s photos, it’s hard to believe she learned her art by trial and error. And her photos are art.
Durham and her husband are the parents of four young children and live in the Minot, ND, area. In August of this year, Durham established her own photo business and is currently setting up a home studio.
A passion for families speaks volumes in Durham’s photos of infants, children, and teens. Her photos of families are amazing in clarity and detail and are stunning in either color or black and white. She captures natural expressions whether it’s sleeping babies or darling children making funny faces. Says Durham, “I like to focus on the little things because those are some of the best moments in life.”
Many of Durham’s photos are taken outdoors in simple, everyday settings. She is looking forward to her first winter in Minot and anticipates a multitude of photo opportunities once the flakes start flying. For now, her clever use of natural elements like wooden bridges, picnic benches, hay bales, and pumpkins enhance her family photos.
In her previous home in Southern California, Durham used the state’s mountainous terrain as a backdrop. About Minot, she says, “This town is beautiful and creates a wonderful backdrop. What Minot lacks in mountains, it makes up for with beautiful rolling hills and flatlands, lakes and bridges, prairies and trees.”
With or without a human element, Durham grabs both detailed close-ups and sweeping landscapes…sunrises and sunsets, fields of flowers or a single bloom, weathered barns and downtown store fronts, or a rusted grain elevator under a V of Canada geese.
Durham offers to take photos of returning servicemen and women and their families. I recently celebrated my son’s return from his deployment in Iraq, and I can attest that taking pictures was my furthest thought. But I’m glad now that someone was at the airport taking pictures of my son’s reunion with his wife and two little boys (and with me!).
With savvy business sense, Durham pairs with other small shops and enterprises in the area like Sweder Side of Life, a blog by trained pastry chef Sasha Sweder in the Minot area. Durham’s photos of Sweder’s cakes look good enough to eat.
Durham prefers casual creations and says she likes to just toss a family together and start snapping pictures. “Relaxed pictures are my absolute favorites. The husband who sneaks a kiss on his bride’s forehead. The little yawns from newborn babies.”
“It’s all about vision – a photographer must have the ability to uniquely create a memory of a single millisecond in time.” Ashley Durham creates beautiful memories…and so much more.
You can also find her on FaceBook