Friday, June 3, 2016


The concept of a sanctuary is a theme that runs throughout much of my work, although not a sanctuary in the strictly religious sense.  A sanctuary to me is that place you can go that you feel a sense of calm in, a safe place from the sometimes harrowing outside world and the people in it.  I'm an anxious person, sometimes for a specific reason, but sometimes for no reason at all. Photography has been a huge help in alleviating the tidal wave of anxiety that sometimes feels like it might overflow, so in a way photography has been my sanctuary in the past.  However, this year scheduling shoots has made me especially anxious.  You know how when you don't do something for awhile, you're kind of scared to start again? Because maybe it won't be like riding a bike where you instinctively remember the way your body is supposed to balance? That's been photography this year for me, many delayed start-ups. But I was reservedly excited when Tyler contacted me about shooting again, it's been awhile and we always have fun creating together, but then all of the sudden Madeleine was coming too and they told me they were dressing all in white with their platinum hair, and the "Oh my god what am I actually going to do with them when they come??" started going off in my head. But then I remembered this Viburnum bush's snowy white blossoms that I'd been admiring that week. They bloom so beautifully and heavily for such a short period of time, the bees buzzing around them lost in the stupor of heady nectar.  And even though Tyler mentioned studio, once they got there I was explaining to them that we had to walk down the road and take pictures in front of this giant viburnum on the side of the road, and we did. The resulting photos are the kind of sanctuary I often crave: the safe place in Nature where beauty is so bountiful that somehow you feel like you're part of it and that perhaps you're becoming it, or perhaps you always have been part of it but are finally coming out of the cocoon that you've been in for so long.  The scorching heat burns your skin, but it only makes the perfumed air all the more heavier.  And you feel safe and maybe this is a dream, but it's such a beautiful dream that you don't really mind if it's all a mirage brought on by the searing heat. Because you are safe.

Thank you very much to  The Portfolio Magazine for featuring this series on their site! You can see it on their site and reblog it on tumblr here: portfolioeditorials.com/ashleyholloway

Models: Tyler Ammons (Modern Muse) and Madeleine Acton