Ashley Nixon moved to Calgary from Peru with his wife, young son, three suitcases, and a camera in 2001. After working fourteen years in sustainable development and external relations with Shell Canada he made a big and bold career shift, setting off on a new creative journey bringing together his artistic talents, scientific credentials, and curiosity to explore and communicate social and environmental issues. He immersed himself in a Diploma of Professional Photography, completing the course much earlier than normal and set up a business to make photographs and films. He also began teaching courses on writing about images and sustainability at Mount Royal University. His photography is currently featured in Exposure Festival’s Emerging Photographer’s Showcase at Contemporary Calgary.
What ‘hood are you in?
I live and work out of my home office in Signal Hill where I also have a small studio to do portrait commissions, although most of my film and photography work is done on location.
What do you do?
I make photographs and documentary films around interconnected themes such as social development, culture and artistic/sports performance, and environmental protection. I also do portrait work and write a lot. When I am in Calgary, I photograph music events such as Sled Island and the dance group Raíces del Perú, who have won cultural awards in the Calgary Stampede Parade.
What are you currently working on?
Since 2016, I have published several photo-rich books. Three of those are about Canada’s game, hockey. Another is a history of the Calgary Canucks Rugby Club who celebrated fifty years of playing that exciting sport last year. I also wrote a book about community development in Peru that features some of my older analogue photography work going back as far as 1995.
I have just completed a full-length documentary about a dance called La Huaconada. It’s an incredibly interesting event, taking place in just the first few days of January each year, high up in the Andes in the town of Mito, Peru. The dance is performed by local men wearing hand-carved wooden masks and has been recognized by UNESCO for its cultural heritage. My book of photos for that project is coming out later this year as well as a book about cosplayers.
Where can we find your work?
You can find my photo galleries plus links to my films, blogs and books on my website.
Make sure to check out Ashley’s photography featured in Exposure Festival’s Emerging Photographer’s Showcase at Contemporary Calgary.