After getting a M.S. in Conservation Medicine, Ashley Baird realized her heart wasn’t in scientific research and moved to Portland to pursue photography. Now Baird is following her dreams—literally, she had a dream about this shoot. Check out what inspired her new series titled Pink Matter below.
Here’s what Baird told us about:
Ashley: I am originally from Michigan, and just moved to Portland, OR back in May after finishing my M.S. in Conservation Medicine. Photography was always something that I wanted to pursue, but I let myself fall into this trap of going to school for what others thought was a more acceptable career path for me. I have always been passionate about conservation, but my heart was never in scientific research. Essentially, I woke up one day and realized that I had been living a lie and made the decision to move to the West Coast to follow my dream. A week and 36 hours of driving later I was in Portland and I haven’t looked back since. As you can imagine, 2015 was a pretty big year for me with a lot of challenges, but it has been the richest experience of my life thus far. I am so excited about what 2016 is going to bring now that I am finally settled and able to channel the majority of my energy into creating my art.
“PHOTOGRAPHY WAS ALWAYS SOMETHING THAT I WANTED TO PURSUE, BUT I LET MYSELF FALL INTO THIS TRAP OF GOING TO SCHOOL FOR WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT WAS A MORE ACCEPTABLE CAREER PATH FOR ME.”
The subject is my friend Aurora who I actually met through Instagram. She has this really great energy and a desire to be a co-creator of the images, which I love. It is so much fun to work with models that want to give creative input and are excited about your ideas. That tossing of ideas back and forth is really what makes it feel like a collaboration.
My living room! It was actually a pretty ridiculous scenario. I bought this 9-foot pink backdrop not thinking about the size, and when we brought it home I couldn’t even stand it up without it hitting the ceiling. By the time we had everything set up there was no space to move around the room, so I was actually sitting on furniture we had moved out of the way to photograph her. It’s amazing what you can do with limited space!
Most of my work is inspired by dreams, and for months I have been dreaming of these monochromatic pink scenes. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I have been really focused on the Divine Feminine, so naturally it is coming through in my creative life. I do a lot of thrifting and when I get these creative itches I just end up collecting random clothing pieces and objects that fit my vision until I have a cohesive story. It’s funny how easily the right pieces come into your life when you have this mental search engine running constantly.
Her dream collaboration:
I would love to make a fashion tarot deck, with all of the shoots being styled by Iris Apfel.