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The Blog

The daily, and somewhat random, musings of the FOLK editorial team. From the journeys, to the vlogs, to the behind-the-scenes-into-the-office moments of the team that brings FOLK to life. 

The Folks | Amy Bailey

Ben Ashby

Amy Bailey

The Folks | @maime_


 

1) Has any one person or one location stood out amongst the rest when you think about your past work?

The entire South Island of New Zealand has really stood out to me with its incredible scenery from fog filled fiords with countless waterfalls and moss covered rocks to snow capped mountains and iceberg filled glacier lakes. 

 

 

2) What message do you want people to receive when they look at your photographs?

I want to evoke the feeling that they are in that moment too, that they can see and feel the beauty of the scene while it evokes some form of emotion for them. 

 

 

3) How and when did you realize that photography was your passion?

Photography really became my passion about 3 years ago after I was diagnosed with cancer. It was an outlet for me to find peace in nature and the outdoors while capturing the endless beauty of the world around me. 

 

 

4) What essential do you pack when traveling?

I’m definitely a minimalist and only shoot with two lenses but essentials for me are extra layers of clothing, hiking boots, rain protection for my camera, a flashlight and spare camera batteries!

CAMERA: CANON 6D | DREAM CAMERA: CANON 5D

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The Folks | Jordan Hom

Ben Ashby

Jordan Hom

The Folks: 001 | @hom.jordan


Today we start a new series, a goal to highlight to work of amazing photographers from across the globe. We have sent a series of questions to a selection of our favorite photographers and have asked them to answer a few of their favorites. 

 


1) How has digital technology impacted your work both positively and negatively?

I feel like one of the best things is that it's made it so easy to find sources of inspiration. Every day I scroll through Instagram and get super stoked on seeing all my friends and people I look up to post amazing work. One negative thing I'd have to say is that a lot of people sometimes don't appreciate amazing things that are happening around them. Sure it's fun getting that rad photo and being able to see it as a memory down the line but there's something so special about remembering things in your mind and sharing through word of mouth rather than a tangible object. 

 

2) When you think about your favorite work, what makes it stand out from the rest?

One of the main things that catches my eye is simplicity. When things are not too bright, flashy, or busy and give you that mellow peaceful vibe is what I love seeing in art.

3) How and when did you realize that photography was your passion?

I found my passion for photography in my freshman year of high school. My girlfriend at the time was my biggest inspiration for everything art related and I got my first camera so we could go out and shoot together. Eventually, I started taking photo classes and remember all my friends and teachers complimenting me on my work and that was just an amazing feeling. I had never been too good at "regular" school stuff so it was awesome to find something I was naturally good at.

 

 

4) If you weren't a photographer what would you pursue?

I think I would pursue something in architecture/sustainability. I have always wanted to design my own buildings and structures while also making an impact in the green community.

5) Has any one person or one location stood out amongst the rest when you think about your past work?

My first real girlfriend (Shout out to Elena!)  was definitely the one that made me fall in love with photography. She introduced me to a mindset on how to appreciate taking/seeing photos and sparked my adventurous side. My high school is another thing that stands out because of all my rad teachers and friend that encouraged me to be who I am! (Shout out Compass School!)

 

 

6) What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a new subject?

Currently, I have not had too much experience shooting with models. From the experiences that I do have, my biggest challenge is directing. Telling people what to do is so difficult for me because I always feel like I'm being demanding. I hate making people feel uncomfortable but it seems like that it's a given when you have to direct.

7) What message do you want people to receive when they look at your photographs?

I want people to be able to feel whatever it is that I was feeling in that moment. If it's a photo of the homies and I camping I want people to be able to smell the fire, see the stars, and get that peaceful feeling of nature surrounding us!

 

8) What gear, apps, technology do you use most to help you be successful?

Social media is definitely a huge thing for me. They allow me to get my work out there and to make connections in the community. The two big ones for me are Instagram and VSCO.

9) What essentials do you pack when traveling?

I always have my camera and my phone no matter what. Even if I want to have a tech-free day I bring them a long just in case I need to snap an absolute stellar shot. 

Other than that I always have to have a hat with me. I feel naked without one!

 

10) What motivates you to keep taking photographs of the world around you? 

Most definitely the area that I am from which is SOuthern Vermont. I could go out every single day without going fifteen minutes from my door and find something new and amazing to take photos of. Theres so many amazing spots and things to see and I can't get enough. My friends are amazing motivators as well. It's always a fun time getting in the car and just driving with no destination to see what we can find.

11) What is something you wish you knew when you first started shooting?

How important editing is!! When I first started taking photos, I thought editing was so lame. I wanted the photo to be perfect straight out of the camera. Learning more about the post process opened a whole new dynamic to taking photos for me. It made me think ahead on how I wanted things to look and I could adjust accordingly while shooting.

 

12) If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself?

I would tell myself to do waaaaay better in school. There are so many times I look back and think "Man I would feel so much better if I just did my school work and not have been so stubborn." Not to mention it would have made college a lot easier and my loans wouldn't be so hefty! 

13) Favorite breakfast cereal. 

That's a tough one because cereal, in general, is one of my all time favorite foods. 

If I had to pick a favorite I'd have to say Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

 

14) Favorite coffee shop

My favorite coffee shop would have to be Java Baba's in Ludlow, Vermont. I am not too much of a coffee person but they make a killer breakfast sandwich.

15) Favorite view? 

My favorite view that I have seen in person is up at the peak of Okemo Mountain on the fire tower. I have made so many memories climbing up there and being with friends. You can catch a stellar sunset there too!

 

16) First photo ever taken. 

When I first started taking photos I was obsessed with macro stuff. I must have taken over a thousand photos of rain dripping off of leaves.

17) Road trips or flights. 

I'd have to say flights for long distances and road trips for medium distances. I don't think I could drive across the US but I could spend weeks driving around New England or the PNW.

 

18) Do you prefer the heat? Or the cold?

Definitely, prefer the cold. It's nice to have those hot beach days every once in a while but I feel like my natural body temp is about 50 degrees more than the average human.

19) Where are you based

I am based in a small, Southern Vermont town called Weathersfield.

 

20) Give us one piece of advice

BE SPONTANEOUS!!! Don't worry about your car breaking down, just go on that trip along the coast. Don't worry about sleep and hike up to the fire tower at 3 AM with your friends. Do the fun things when they are offered because you may not get another chance!

 


WHAT CAMERA DO YOU USE\WHAT IS YOUR DREAM CAMERA

I currently am using a Canon 70d with the 18-135 kit lens and my iPhone. My dream camera is a simple Canon 5d Mkii with a 24-70.

Fall 2017 Interns: Apply Now!

Ben Ashby

Hi! Fall 2017 is quickly approaching! That means we are opening applications for this year's interns. This year our focus will be on content production for our social and our website. You will be given a very broad range to select from, and can easily cater the internship to your own interests and goals. I hope we have done a fairly decent job of providing all the details and info below. Good luck! 

Revisiting Iceland

Ben Ashby

Its been just over a year since I was last in Iceland and the desire to go back is real y'all. I thought it'd be fun to share a few of my favorite images I shot last year. I wish I could do a better job telling you all the places I visited...but I don't remember their names. This year, if I return, I will remember to take a notebook for all the important details. 

I shot all of these images with the Fuji X100F with super heavy editing. 

Ben & Gina in the Bluegrass

Ben Ashby

 

Gina and I have been friends for a very long time. As I continue to share the back story of FOLK I would be remiss to not introduce her. Gina and I met when I was a freshman in college. We were both part of the same campus ministry. As I was developing my photography skills Gina, a Lexington native, would take me and some of our friends out exploring the horse farms, parks, and nature around Lexington. We would journey out to Shaker Village every spring and Boyd's Orchard every fall. All while taking photos just for the sake to taking photos. This was before Instagram. We were basically doing it just to have new Facebook profile pictures. At the time we had no idea this weekend hobby would lead to the creation of FOLK, but over time the idea of creating the brand formed over lunches and hikes and days spent at Keeneland. Since those days with cheap point and shoot cameras Gina has become one of my closest friends, whenever we're both in Lexington we make a point to meet up to take fresh photos and to talk about my life in Beaver Dam and her's in Oxford, Mississippi. This series was shot in May at various spots in Lexington, Midway, and Versailles, Kentucky. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Meet Ben | Part IV

Ben Ashby

 

 

Growing up in the country you were sure to find little white churches everywhere. I can rattle off at least ten that are within a ten minute drive of the farm. When my family first moved to western Kentucky we even started one on the farm. It is still there, but back in the 1940’s my family moved to our current church in town. The church sits up on a hill in the tiny town of 300. It’s tall copper steeple can be see all over town. It’s bell echoes around the value. It’s history is long and ummm…sordid. So many of my views on community, home, and ultimately faith are all deeply rooted within the walls and characters of that church. While religion doesn’t really have a place or a role within my business, my beliefs about being a Christ like person are a cornerstone to the brand. I feel like I need to make an aside to all of this, simply to clarify something that may not be super obvious. I was raised in the country. I was raised in Kentucky. I was raised Baptist. I will let you take a moment to pull together all of your Kim Davis stereotypes. I was raised by a very liberal family and was raised in a church that had so many problems that judging someone for the way they were brought into this world was way outranked by judging them for their ignorant transgressions. I digress. While I was young the church was rather small, we averaged between 30-50 people a week. When I was ten our church was at 100, but after a split we were left with 30 members. This led to me being in the same Sunday School class for ten years. By that age I had already learned the order of the books of the Bible, I knew the Lord’s Prayer, I could rattle off the Ten Commandments, and I’d seen The Prince of Egypt enough to make me question most every scene in the movie. The second floor of the church was covered in blood red carpet, high ceilings, leaded glass doors, and windows that were covered in old white sheers. Every inch of the upstairs was absolutely timeless. It was a constant, it was a color of carpet that will forever haunt me. 

 

 

 

 

I was the only kid in my church. My Sunday School teacher and tried to work our way through Lifeway’s books over and over, but after a couple of years we realized they just recycled the same stuff over and over. Slowly we abandoned the materials in favor of the two teachers using it as a gossip hour. Yes. I know. You’re thinking—oh how very Baptist of you. I learned more in those years of gossip than I will ever learn in a lifetime of attending church. We could tear a person to shreds with ease, we could hold the transgressions of their great grandmother against them, we could make an hour fly by. I am half convinced I owe all of my salty-semi-sweet-semi-bitter dry wit to the women of my church. During those years I lived for the gossip. In the years after I lived for the way the ladies of my church were continually helping each other out. They were caring for the community. They were growing the community. They were never afraid to help someone out. The gossip was simply a coded language for discussing the help we as a church or they as individuals could give those in the community. Those discussions led to food baskets, and community outreach. They were never shy about helping their own children and their own families. In those years I truly learned what grace was and how to extend grace to those around you. I learned how to be humble, yet thankful for all you’ve been given, and willing to share with those that have less. 

 

 

 

I also learned how to properly set up a funeral potluck, how to serve VBS refreshments, how to hide Easter eggs, and how to be endlessly thankful that I grew up in a church that never discussed politics and lived by the teachings of Jesus rather than the ways of the Old Testament. 

 

 

In the years since growing up in my church my faith has evolved a lot, but that really isn’t the point of this essay. When I went to college I joined one of the campus ministry groups. Their mission was, and still is, to be build positive community. The ideas of helping others, being non judgmental, and creating a community that was about growing together as a part of humanity were at their core. 

 

 

This is the point where I could easily get on a soapbox and preach about separation of church and state and blah blah blah, but that isn’t my place. For me it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not. To me it matters that we are all supportive of each other’s quest for enlightenment and that we are all working together towards a better, brighter, and more loving society. 

 

Meet Ben | Part III

Ben Ashby

 

As the story continues I suppose it is important to tell the stories of baking and fried chicken and cakes and gardens. I learned to cook early, but it wasn’t from teaching myself. When you grow up on the farm you aren’t around that many kids. I was raised in the kitchens of my aunt and my grandfather. The two shared a big garden behind his house. There was an orchard, an overgrown grape arbor, and rows of seeds in jars on shelves, but for me the most memorable part of it all was the rows of corn with beans growing up in them. Morning glories would weave in and out as the season wore on the the weeds would take over and they’d move on to the late garden, a massive mess of turnips and greens in the front half of the garden. My favorite moments in that garden were when my aunt would be picking beans and filling old enamel buckets. The beans would soon fill the large aluminum pants that she’d sit in the swing and snap. They often times say society is so messed up today because enough people don’t sit around snapping and stringing beans with their families. I would have to agree with whoever they are. 

 

 

When we weren’t in the garden we were in the kitchen. My family was known for their cooking. I grew up hearing people in town talk about the meals my great grandmother would make for the men that worked on the farm. I grew up going to church dinners and funeral dinners and ice cream socials with my aunt and her cakes or her pies. From red velvet cakes, to pea picking, to italian cream cakes, my aunt would make them all. I would stand on the plastic tan stool beside her at the counter. She would let me add ingredients or mix, or attempt to ice the cakes. My favorite was when we’d make chocolate chip cookies and she’d let me eat the dough. Phebie was right…the recipe on the bag of the chocolate chip bag really is the best. 

 

I have a thing, its likely a weird obsession…but when someone in my family dies, I want their dining table. I want to collect the places were I was the most happy. For me sitting around my aunt’s clawfoot dining table was my happiest. When I was little she married a preacher with a whole slew of a family. I was never shy to invite myself to dinner. Around the table I learned that the idea of community and the bonds that community create are far stronger and far more important than those that families create. That was an idea I wanted to make the corner stone of this business. I have always wanted it to be about community building. Whether that is an appreciation of your roots, your hometown, your current location, or those communities that are create and fostered online like the one we’ve built today. My closest friends today are all ones that I have met through this business. We come together and explore tiny towns, and big cities. We share stories and meals around tables in diners and cafes across the globe. We share successes and failures over coffee in shops that are far more trendy than we’ve ever dreamt of being. 

 

I can assure you—there is a point to these rambling stories of my youth. I wanted to create the brand to be a way to carry on those traditions and the warmth I experienced growing up on the farm and in my tiny town of 300. When we first launched this business in the summer of 2011 I had a manifesto of everything we represented. The focus of that was slowing life down to appreciate the little things in life. It was taking time to drink sweet tea on wide front porches under the shade of grand old oaks. It was about sharing stories of the past and creating memories of the future. It was about airing out that old quilt of your great grandmothers and putting it to use. At the time I didn’t know global adventures would be part of the picture, but today we live in a globalized world. I may spend my week days sitting in a living room in Beaver Dam and may spend the weekend surrounded by friends in Washington DC, or Maine, or Iceland. The ideas and the truths are universal…and I am privileged to get to be the voice behind it all. It’s somewhere between Martha Stewart and Ansel Adams.