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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. 

Gina + Ali + Lexington

Ben Ashby

Gina and I were in Lexington at the same time so we met up with her sister for a few photos in Gratz Park back at the beginning of July. These were shot with the Fuji X100F

Sunflower Fields Forever

Ben Ashby



Whenever I get a new camera to test and review I ask to shoot friends of mine. I thought I'd start sharing my shooting on the blog. This series I did in Beaver Dam back in July using the Fuji X100F. I especially like the Fuji because of its ability to shoot in low lighting and for its built in chromatic filter. It allows for very easy Lightroom editing.





The Folks | Thomas Seear-Budd

Ben Ashby


THE FOLKS 009 || @thomasseearbudd


1) How and when did you realize that photography was your passion? I developed a strong interest in photography while completing my degree in Architecture. Photography naturally made into into many of my projects during architecture school. I would often have to photograph urban spaces to superimpose my designs into. For my final year thesis I proposed an architectural intervention amongst a stand of burnt mountain ash tress in Australia. Photographing these beautiful 90m tall trees ravaged by fire and studying the regrowth occurring around their base became a critical part of my project and further spurred my interest in landscape based imagery. After I graduated university my growing interest in photography took me to the arctic for three months. In the north west of Greenland and central highlands of Iceland I documented the effects of climate change with a focus on the deteriorating ice sheets.


2) How has digital technology impacted your work both positively and negatively? During my travels to Iceland and Greenland in 2014, I was shooting exclusively on my 1980s Hasselblad medium format film camera at the time. It taught me a lot about composition, exposure, framing a shot and analysing a landscape when there’s no electrical technology to do that for you. It didn’t even have a battery. As I started to shoot more projects, the expense and slow process of developing and scanning film began to outweigh the benefits of this beautiful and incredibly rewarding process. Instead I took the compositional lessons and patience I had learnt with my Hasselblad and applied them when using my Canon. That way I was able to focus on the part I enjoyed most - taking the photos, and could be more experimental without worrying about the cost of film or whether the image had been exposed onto the film at all. 




3) When you think about your favorite work, what makes it stand out from the rest? I look to instil an element of wonder and aspects of the sublime in my work. These pieces are also often from tough journeys into unique landscapes so I find them really satisfying to look at. The abstract works I created of the Greenland Ice sheet stand out for me because they were incredibly tough to get. We had to travel all the way from New Zealand to Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. We then drove a few hours to the edge of the ice sheet to camp there for three days before heading onto the ice for one night. It was insanely cold and isolated once on the ice sheet. The images I created really posses the mysterious, beautiful and very powerful nature of the ice sheet. 


4) If you weren't a photographer what would you pursue? As well as being a photographer, I also work in a creative architecture practice in Wellington, New Zealand where my eye for design is a key part of my work also. If photography wasn't a part of my life I would still work in architecture but most likely supplement it with another art form such as graphic design.


5) Has any one person or one location stood out amongst the rest when you think about your past work? Shooting the Greenland ice sheet will always be a stand out experience for me. However, Mueller Hut at Mt. Cook in the South Island of New Zealand also stands out. My last hike up there could not have been more perfect. The sun was out and the air perfectly still. We had the entire hut to ourselves surrounded by cracking glaciers with a direct view of Mt. Cook.





6) What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a new subject? Understanding what I really want to get out of the images is always a challenge. I struggle against photographing stunning landscapes for the sake of photographing them. I want my work to go beyond that. It needs to embody the experience of being in that place.


7) What message do you want people to receive when they look at your photographs? It depends on the work. The abstract works I created while in Greenland sought to reveal the dynamic, sublime and enigmatic qualities of the ice sheet, inviting the viewer to contemplate their own relationship with landscapes undergoing drastic change. My other travel orientated work seeks to inspire others to get out into these amazing landscapes. I want to hold the viewer’s attention, make them question the landscape in front of them and captivate them with the textures.




8) What gear, apps and technology do you use most to help you be successful? My camera, drone and Lightroom.


9) What essentials do you pack when traveling? My camera, a sleeping bag, thermals, and gloves. 


10) What motivates you to keep taking photographs of the world around you?  Being inspired by the work of others and seeing new locations or hikes that can take me into an environment I haven't experienced before. The feedback and collaborations I develop from fellow photographers on social media helps to fuel the fire as well.


11) What is something you wish you knew when you first started shooting? The best way to get better and be unique is to experiment. Don’t be afraid to try different shooting styles and definitely don’t be afraid to break any ‘rules’ of image making. 





12) If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself? If you work hard, good things will come. Just keep working, working, working. Trying new things with intensity is the key.


13) Favourite breakfast cereal? Weet-bix.


14) Favourite coffee shop? Customs in Wellington.


15) Favourite view? The 360-degree panorama view from Mueller Hut of the mountain peaks, glaciers, and rock faces. The view from my house in Wellington is also pretty great looking over the city and harbour framed by a beautiful Copper Beech tree.





16) First photo ever taken. I can’t remember the first photo I took but it would have been of my mother or father using a basic film camera. I remember being fascinated by these disposable film cameras as young child. When my family bought a computer it came with a webcam that could be used as a small travel camera. I vividly remember taking this to the zoo with a friend to photograph the Cheetah.


17) Road trips or flights? Flights, because they get me to really hard to get places. Unless I am in a Land Rover Defender then road trip hands down. 





18) Do you prefer the heat? Or the cold? Cold for sure.


19) Where are you based? Wellington, New Zealand


20) Give us one piece of advice. As cliche as it might sound, hard work really does pay off.


Camera: Canon 5D Mark III || Dream Camera: Phase One

The Folks | Liam Rimmington

Ben Ashby





How has digital technology impacted your work both positively and negatively? Digital technology has the incredible ability to connect people, the fact that I can push a few buttons on my phone and within seconds push content to thousands of people from all over the world is nothing short of amazing! This kind of interaction makes my work so much more rewarding than it would be in isolation. The biggest negative for me is simply time, the amount of time we dedicate to technology each day is mammoth, for me personally I sometimes need to remind myself that I don’t always need to fulfill the urge to pull out my phone every time I’m bored.

When you think about your favorite work, what makes it stand out from the rest? My favourite work is often not a ‘technically’ great photo, but rather one that evokes a feeling or emotion I can connect with at that moment in time.

How and when did you realize that photography was your passion? I began to realise my passion for photography when I first got a phone with a decent camera built in, I started taking photos more often and with more thoughtfulness, eventually that lead me to buy my first camera.





If you weren't a photographer what would you pursue? I would likely still be pursuing music, which was my biggest passion before taking up photography, I started playing guitar when I was 15 and was in bands for many years before my focus shifted to photography.

Has any one person or one location stood out amongst the rest when you think about your past work? It’s a classic/cliche but Iceland has to be the standout location, it doesn’t matter how many photos you see of the place, nothing quite prepares you for the sheer beauty and variety of the land of fire and ice.

What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a new subject? Understanding my connection to the subject, and their connection to the surrounding, figuring that out helps me to work out how I shoot to encapsulate that.





What message do you want people to receive when they look at your photographs? I want people to feel some of the emotion I experienced when capturing the shot, if they can get a sense of that moment from my perspective and share in that for the brief time they’re viewing, then I’ve achieved my intention.

What gear, apps, technology do you use most to help you be successful? My trusty Canon 5D Mark III is my camera of choice, along with a simple set up of 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 lenses. I also always carry a prism and some other light modifiers to play around with. Another big key to achieving the aesthetic in my images is the Tribe Red Leaf ELMT presets for Lightroom which are incredible.

What essentials do you pack when traveling? I always take my AirPods everywhere I go, I adore listening to Podcasts while traveling and my wide music collection is really important to have with me wherever I go.




What motivates you to keep taking photographs of the world around you? Just the wealth of beauty this world offers, from huge sweeping vistas to tiny details of a flower, there’s always something new to see and experience, and capturing that in photography lets you relive that over and over again.

What is something you wish you knew when you first started shooting? That although gear is important, having a simple set up and really knowing your equipment is far more important than constantly buying the latest and greatest.

If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself? Enjoy today, don’t worry about tomorrow.

Favorite breakfast cereal? Curiously Cinnamon.



Favorite coffee shop? Upshot Espresso in Sheffield.

Favorite view? The inside of a tropical greenhouse with sunlight streaming in.

First photo ever taken? I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing it was probably a flower, I’m pretty obsessed!

Road trips or flights? Flights, I find them exciting and there’s something magical about being transported to somewhere half way across the world so quickly.





Do you prefer the heat? Or the cold? Cold, I don’t deal well in heat.

Where are you based? Sheffield, UK.

Give us one piece of advice? Do the things that make you excited/content, don’t worry worry about what others think, only you can tell your story properly.


I’m currently shooting with a Canon 5D Mark III and my dream would be to upgrade to the 5D Mark IV.


Letting Go | An Essay by Brandon Roberts

Ben Ashby

Brandon Roberts

Journal Entry Vol.2 #21
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 12:41pm
University of Montana Soccer Field, Missoula, MT

When I really start over and hand everything over to God or whatever it is, it is so scary and my immediate reaction is to control the situation. I know, always, what the right answer is, because I’ve tapped into my inner compass. It’s boils down to wanting to save my ass and face at the same time. I can’t. I have to pick one. No matter what it is, it’s scary. The big things always are and even the small stuff.

It’s about being honest with myself and stepping outside of my comfort zone. I like to keep with things that are comfortable and easy. Eventually, after holding on for dear life, I let go, and I find the courage to take one small step, then the rest follow. When that happens it feels good, and I get motivated to really let go. All of this happens when I listen to my gut. It’s always the right voice. Always. These steps always lead to pure bliss, moments of serenity and complete happiness and excitement for the future. 

After all is said and done, this cycle repeats over and over again. That is life. 

The Folks | Torsten Muehlbacher

Ben Ashby


THE FOLKS 007 || @clickpix_eu


How has digital technology impacted your work both positively and negatively? Digital photography has made the work much easier. You can see immediately whether the picture I like or whether I have to do it again. The learning of the photography is also much faster, since you can see any mistakes immediately on the screen and then “repair” them. The drawback – you don’t think so much about the pic you make. You can save thousands of them on a Memory Card, so it´s very easy to make here “click” and there “click”…. With analogue films you had about 12, 24 or 36 picture on 1 Film. There you think about what and when you make a picture.



How and when did you realize that photography was your passion? Even in my youth I discovered the passion for photography. At that time still with analog film, later on digital. Now the camera is a constant companion on my hikes in the mountains and traveling.


What gear, apps, technology do you use most to help you be successful? I use mostly a full-format or also APS-C camera with lenses between 14 and 70 mm. For landscape photography, I prefer these wide-angle shots. At home, I first look at interesting locations with Google Maps and plan further with various apps like PhotoPills or The Photographer Ephemeris. Of course you should not forget to check how the weather is developing.


What essentials do you pack when traveling? When I travel, I usually only pack the essentials in my backpack. Camera, lenses, rechargeable batteries + charger, tripod, memory card and a few filters. 




If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself? Don´t put too much money in bad/cheap equipment. Pay a bit more.


What is your favorite view? When I stand at the top of a Tyrolean mountain and look into the distance.



Road trips or flights? I like both of them! Sometimes I combine these two things. Fly to a destination, take a rental car and drive through the country.


Do you prefer the heat or the cold? I prefer temperate climate. In the past 10 years, we have mainly traveled to Northern Europe. When it´s around 25-30°C – then its okay. But also winter is a great time for Northern Europe – then you can see the magical northern lights.



Where are you based? I live in Tirol / Austria, near Innsbruck.


Give us one piece of advice? Grab your camera, go out and take pictures! Enjoy the nature and keep a few impressions with your camera. But do not forget to enjoy the landscape also with your eyes.



Camera: At the moment I use a Sony A7RII and a Fuji X-T2 – but mostly the Fuji is in my Bag.
My dream camera?! Well….there are always new cameras, with better sensor, faster, cooler….But i think the the best camera for me is the one I just have with me. 


Grant + The Greenhouse

Ben Ashby



Grant's birthday was the other day, so happy late birthday to him. Once a year or so we meet up to take some photos and catch up on life. I wanted to revisit a series we did two years ago at a greenhouse in Lexington. The clothes are a mix of his own and pieces we collected from Fox House Vintage in Lexington, Kentucky. 




The Folks | Corey Favino

Ben Ashby




How has digital technology impacted your work both positively and negatively? Digital technology has allowed me to view life from a different perspective, it has allowed for me to gain a greater appreciation for the beauty of this planet because with digital technology and my camera I’ve been able to capture things I would have never of had the opportunity to actually see (i.e. the milky way). Digital technology has also affected the way I enjoy life. I love to share the things I’m doing and adventures I’m on through social media so I feel as though I’m always posting something or uploading something and it seems to be taking away from the actual enjoyment of the adventure itself. Something I’ve been trying to balance lately. 


When you think about your favorite work, what makes it stand out from the rest? When I think about my favorite work, I think about the journey it took to get there. My favorite work is some of my milky way shots and the reason they’re my favorite is because of the tiresome and long journey it took to get those shots, behind the scenes stuff that most people will never know about, but because of what I went through to get them, they’re my favorite pieces. 


How and when did you realize that photography was your passion? After I dropped my marine biology major my freshman year of college, I was sitting in a mobil gas station parking lot with my best friend explaining to him the dilemma I was having with choosing what I want to do with my life, and he said to me, “your always taking pictures when we go exploring dude, and they’re good. Pursue that.” And the rest is history! 


If you weren't a photographer what would you pursue? If I wasn’t a photographer I would definitely try and pursue some sort of involvement with different charities and devote my life to that for a few years to get the opportunity to travel and help people along the way. 


Has any one person or one location stood out amongst the rest when you think about your past work? The Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, Rhode Island has always held a special spot in my heart. It was the first place I ever captured a picture of the milky way after trying for months and months, it was 10pm, late September, and I don’t think I’ve ever screamed louder when I saw what I had just captured on my LCD screen. 


What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a new subject? The biggest challenge I face when shooting a new subject is finding the vibe. I tackle each shoot with different vibes and I don’t usually ever determine that vibe until I’m there, so finding that vibe is usually the toughest part, but once its established, the shots just flow!


What message do you want people to receive when they look at your photographs? The message I want my photos to read is to adventure. To take what life has given you, wether it be your current life situation, your environment, your job, anything, and make an adventure out of it. I try and inspire people to not just sit at home waiting for the next season of your favorite Netflix show to be released, but to go and watch a sunrise, go star gaze, get lost and find your way back home, enjoy your life while you’re here, and always remain happy. Life’s too short to be anything but happy. 


What essentials do you pack when traveling? When I travel, I tend to pack my hammock, my tripod, an excessive amount of camera batteries, and a blanket! I always end up using and needing my blanket so i never travel without at least one!


What motivates you to keep taking photographs of the world around you? The thing that motivates me to keep taking photos is the feedback I get. Hearing someone say “your photos have inspired me to go watch a sunrise” or “your photos inspired me to go star gazing!” or even “your photos have inspired me to start taking photos again myself” stuff like that is what keeps me doing it. Knowing I can be an inspiration to people, wether it’s just little things like going to watch a sunrise, those are big things to me. 


If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself? If I could go back 10 years, I would tell myself is no matter how unrealistic they sound, always follow your dreams. I didn’t realize that until I was 19 years old. If I had known that when i was 10, I would've pursued photography from the get go, I never saw it as a profession, just a fun activity, but now that I’ve discovered its my passion, I haven’t looked back.


What is your favorite breakfast cereal? Favorite breakfast cereal is 150% cocoa puffs. 


What is your favorite view? Favorite view would easily be the night sky. Something about a sky full of stars makes me feel like a little kid. I could never get tired of it.


Road trips or flights? Definitely more of a fan of road trips, because along with the excitement of having an awesome destination or end goal in mind, you get this awesome adventure along the way of seeing new things and exploring new places.


Do you prefer the heat or the cold? Definitely more of a heat fan, big ocean lover and dedicated surfer so the cold doesn’t allow me to really enjoy either of those things, but I can still enjoy a nice winters day! 


Where are you based? I’m based right now in Rhode Island! Going into my senior year at the University of Rhode Island with definite plans of packing up and heading out soon after graduation this May!


Give us one piece of advice. One piece of advice is: don’t have a plan B. Having a plan B is indirectly doubting your plan A. Find your passion, set your goal, and give 110% to that and only that. 


I currently use a Sony a7 full frame mirrorless camera! Cheapest full frame mirrorless I could afford on a college budget, and my dream camera is the newly released Sony a9