After being MIA on the photography front for almost two years, the right timing and opportunities have brought me back into the art world. I started Ashley Thaxton Photography in college, without knowing anything about photography, and I had a blast learning, growing, and exploring. So many people supported me, and it lead me to incredible experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything. I had always loved the art of photography, but the business side drained me. From 2010 to 2013, I was doing sessions almost every weekend while being a full time student during the week.
Before my senior year of college, I was offered an opportunity to teach a summer-long photography class to at-risk children at the Spencer Perkins Center (a community development and reconciliation non-profit organization) in West Jackson, Mississippi. I was able to use my love of photography to serve a greater purpose, and this filled my heart with life. This is where I found my calling and passion. I ended up working there full time as a Social Worker after graduating from Belhaven University. At that time, I was no longer able to accept new photography clients.
For the past few years, I have worked with some of the greatest people in the world. At the Spencer Perkins Center, we had a blast directing a community-based mentoring program, writing grants, picking up children from school daily and operating a full tutoring and enrichment after-school program, hosting mission teams from all around the country, partnering at volunteer fairs at every university in our area, planning city-wide events, coordinating thousands of volunteers, hosting 8 week long summer camps for children and teenagers, running a low-income housing development for single families and college students, operating a training/retreat guest house, and helping to juggle our 85 year old founder's hectic worldwide travel schedule (Dr. John M. "Grandpa" Perkins, civil rights activist & evangelist). And I was able to incorporate my photography and design skill set into almost all of my roles there.
Since December of 2015, our team has moved into full time church planting. This is what I believe to be one of the main purposes of my life. Our church is a multi-ethnic, missional community of disciple-makers, which I will discuss more in depth in a later blog post. In the midst of all of this going on, I also married my soul mate, R.D. Chisholm, in February 2015! We have always had a vision of doing ministry together, and now we are introducing just one piece of that vision:
We started dreaming together of how we can start a business that would complement what we want to do in life, which can be summed up in the concept of Christian Community Development. We are using the foundation of Ashley Thaxton Photography to build upon a new direction of business. Not only will we be accepting new clients for weddings and portraits, but Pioneer Productions will also be partnering with Help Portrait, a movement that empowers photographers to serve their community.
We believe photography is important because through this form of art, we are able to save a moment in time that will exist long after we are gone. When we are hired to professionally preserve the memory and legacy of a family through photos and videos, we will also provide that service to others who cannot afford that luxury at this point in their life. There are many people that will not have photos to pass down to future generations of their family. There are people who have never even had a personal photo of themselves in their possession. We want to share stories and pass down the legacies of all kinds of people. Everyone has a story, and each story has immeasurable worth. In a world where there is so much division, we will be striving to display the beauty of diversity. But at the same time, advocating that each person has more in common with their neighbor than they think- we just have to take the time to listen to their story. Through our new business, we are inviting clients to partner with us in this mission.
Thank you to everyone who has shown support to my photography in the past. We are very excited to pave a new path with Pioneer Productions!
All my love,
Ashley Thaxton Chisholm