Welcome to the beginning,

of my really wild, and crazy adventure.

If you have gotten to this point in reading my ramblings, THANK YOU! I'm Ashley, the human behind the camera. Where to begin?

For starters, I am a city lover and a Midwestern gal. I have two passions I am feeding - photography and working as a physical therapist on an inpatient oncology unit. While the two seem like they couldn't be more polar opposites, there's actually quite a few similarities between the two hats I wear. I am given the opportunity to encourage others to have feel good moments, to help empower those I'm working with, and my favorite, bring endless breakout dance parties.

How did you get here?

I have always had a love for and hobby in photography, dating back to 6 year old Ash in 1998 running around with her Barbie Digital Camera. I truthfully owe it all to my dad- without him I wouldn't have had my first camera in 1998 (I had to learn how to spell Barbie Digital Camera before I had my hands on one). He facilitated my curiosity and learning by allowing me to play around with his DSLR in the early 2000s, which included endless trips with my sister and friends via train to the city or to the forest preserve so I could explore. So dad if you're reading this, thank you.

Bringing it back to the spring and summer of 2020, I was drowning in the overwhelming stress and non-stop fight-or-flight mode that came with working on the front lines and in the ICUs during the beginning of the COVID pandemic. I needed a creative outlet again, I was loosing my damn mind.

I brushed off the dust and picked up my camera again after a long hiatus since college, a sweet sweet feeling and high rushed through me. Two of my friends who recently got engaged kindly modeled for me one summer afternoon. The pandemic got shitty again, there wasn't a lot of opportunities after the summer.

Now it's late fall 2020, my brother tells me he is going to propose to his incredible girlfriend (now fiancé!), and he wants ME to capture the moment. Once I settled after the excitement, my thoughts raced- excuse me WHAT!? You are trusting me!? And he sure did. We had J convinced for *maybe* a two weeks that I needed her and my brother to model for me. I had started back up my photography instagram page for easily the hundredth time (imposter syndrome is a bitch, let me tell you), and I desperately needed content and to dive back in- also shout out to my friend JF for trusting me to photograph her family's holiday portraits too! Well the weather didn't cooperate and our original proposal plan crumbled, but nonetheless I successfully captured this beautiful moment for them despite my eyes being all teary and I could hardly see a damn thing (lol, I love love).

So, carbon+ash?

I was hooked. I promised myself I wouldn't delete my page again, not this time. Through college and up until then, I operated as "Ash Adam Photography." But that just wasn't doing it for me, it didn't give me the feels I wanted.

I did a lot of thinking about things I liked and interests of mine. First off, I love science and chemistry was my favorite class; I hate to admit I love the periodic table of elements. I wanted to create a memorable brand that somehow incorporated my name (but not my last name because there's too many consonants for that), something that felt a little raw. Ash; what my friends and family call me, also a bit earthy. Cool. Now back to the periodic table of elements; carbon. Carbon is found in all living things, and a building block to combine with other elements to form new material. Both of these things happen to be associated with the color gray, one of my favorite colors. This was it, carbon and ash; it rolled off the tongue.

So here we are, it's officially been 1 year since carbon+ash photography came to be. It's been a whirlwind. The most exciting but challenging adventure I am so thankful for, and didn't know I needed. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a small business. This opportunity has pushed me out of my comfort zone, made me to learn new things, taught me I can do hard things, and challenged me to believe in myself and never give up even in my weakest moments. Confidence is hard, failure is hard. But it's all part of the learning process.

I can never thank my clients enough who stuck with me through this first year, and even came back for second, third, and fourth sessions with me. Without you, I wouldn't have this dream of mine coming to life. So what's next? I said it best in this instagram post.

The dream? A studio of my own, sipping coffee from the local spot down the city block, lots and lots of sunlight. I dream of a day that I’ll wake up and do what I love, day in and day out. Picking up my camera again last year was the best thing I could have ever done for myself, the break was too long. This last year has been a wild ride, but I do not regret anything. I hope in the future I can look back at this picture and thank myself for never stopping to dream.

Someday. A girl can dream, right?

That concludes Chapter 1.

I am so excited for what 2022 will bring. My wonderful clients already have so many fun things planned for me to create. Want to work together? Head on over here and we can get to chatting! Cheers to what the future may hold for each of us.