Hey y'all, I'm Ashley!
Twenty-something. Dreamer. Creator. Traveler.
Lover of Jesus, natural light, pizza, conversation, creating,
acts of kindness, anything chocolate, craft beer, and all the red wine.
Q: What does Griot mean?
A: A Griot (ɡrēˈō) is "a storyteller in western Africa who perpetuates the oral tradition and history of a village or family."
When I began my business, I quickly learned that "Ashley Elizabeth Photography" was not an ideal business name, because finding a domain for my entirely too common name, was a nearly impossible task. So, I spent some time brainstorming and searching for something that explained my mission well. My mission is to capture important moments in your life through the art of photography, bringing your story to life and celebrating that history forever. So, in a sense, a storyteller, or a Griot.
Q: Why photography?
A: I have always had a terrible memory. Like, awful. I will forget what I walked into a room for, or what I wore the day before. I literally cannot function without lists. So when it comes to those fleeting moments, I depend on photos. "Picture, or it didn't happen." There is something about a photograph- a photo on paper, that you can hold in your hands- that connects you to that very moment in time. That memory might not otherwise be easily accessed, but the ability of our brains and our hearts to recall that memory, and
how we felt in that moment, just by looking at a photograph... that is special.
And everyone deserves that.
Q: When did you decide to turn photography into a career?
A: Bare with me here... there is no short answer to this question...
A few months before Griot Photo was born, my family had some really testing times. October of 2011, my father was in a car accident leaving him permanently disabled (but alive, thank you Jesus!) By January 2012, he was starting to make some major progress... responding with signals, standing with assistance, blowing kisses... seriously BIG STUFF, y'all. My family and I spent New Year's day at the hospital with my Dad, loving on him, and sharing in his recovery journey. Afterwards, my grandfather and I decided to skip lunch and head back home because he wasn't feeling well. While we were on the road, he casually asked me through his orchestrated humming "What are you doing with your life?" In my head I am saying, "Umm... I'm only 22. Gimme a break, Gramps." But, I thought about it a bit and explained to him that I was just searching for my place in the world. (At this time, I was working a desk job for a gas supplier, and in and out of school studying Special Education. Obviously, neither of those things were the right fit, because he noticed that I was not fulfilled.) At a red light, my grandfather took my hand, looked me square in the eyes and instructed me to think about what I was passionate about, then find a way to make a living doing just that. "Where there is passion, there is life." I didn't realize it at the time, but that moment changed my life. Ten days later, my grandfather was admitted into the hospital for a simple procedure, but suffered a major heart attack during. He was gone. My whole world was instantly turned upside down. I was shocked. Devastated. Heartbroken. Lost. I couldn't get that conversation off of my mind and my heart. His words sang louder every single day. So I finally took pen to paper, just as he always encouraged me to. I started writing down my wants, needs, aspirations, and ideas. At some point along the way, I figured it out. I found my purpose, my passion... what drove me. I decided how I was going to make an impact. That day in February, Griot Photo was born. I have a plan to do something big. To do something greater than me. And I know Grandpa is looking down on me every single day, cheering me on, along this marathon of life.