Ashley Marston has depicted family life in a unique way with what’s essentially a photographic diary. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Marston’s work receives the highest possible endorsement

Birthing and day-in-the-life photography her specialties

Customers will be the first to tell you about the quality of Ashley Marston’s photography work. But when National Geographic takes notice, you sit up and take notice yourself.

That was the case for Chemainus resident Marston last week with two selections in the magazine’s best of 2018 Your Shot recap.

“It’s nice to be recognized by your peers and such an enormous platform like National Geographic,” conceded Marston.

RELATED: Two of Chemainus photographer Marston’s images picked among National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Her name has become synonymous with being one of the foremost birthing photographers, but she also captures amazing images in a day-in-the-life context, including a daily depiction of her own family for what amounts to a photographic diary that she compiles in books.

“These are the photos that trigger a memory, they become nostalgia,” Marston said. “In my business, that’s what I’m trying to give people are keepsakes.”

She’s always had a penchant for photography, even going back to her high school days at Chemainus Secondary School and continued that pursuit after graduation in 2000.

Marston (nee Kodric) and carver husband John (1995 grad) both grew up in Chemainus and are famous internationally in their respective fields.

Marston said she did a few other things until the birth of their son Noah in 2005 and “I picked up a camera again. That’s where it kind of reignited.”

Noah is now 13 and, following the birth of Tate (now seven) and Sofie (now six) 11 months apart in the same year, “that was about the time I started doing photography as a career,” said Marston.

Birth photography just naturally evolved after Sofie. “I was trying to find myself where photography was concerned,” Marston noted. “I just started to move my business into capturing more of the real moments of life.

“Nobody was really doing it here. That’s why I started to do it, even though it was bad timing in a busy life.”

Everybody thinks it’s the photography of just the birth itself, but “it’s really a collection of beautiful moments around the birth of a child,” she explained.

“What a wonderful way for a baby to be born with all that love and support.”

She’s also now into the fifth year of her daily project to document some aspect of her family’s life.

“Finding the in-between moments between all the chaos were the photographs I loved the most,” Marston indicated.

Nothing is scripted, however. She lets things happen – sometimes there are candid or poignant moments and sometimes just the natural interaction of a family – to capture the shot of the day.

“We’re not trying to depict any kind of perfectionism,” Marston stressed.

“This has been incredible for my clients. They’ve literally been watching my family grow up for five years.”

Changing times have obviously led to profound changes in many industries and photography is no exception, but Marston found her niche.

With birthing assignments, she’s typically booked nine months to a year in advance, but makes sure to take time off during spring break and December. Any families planning ahead might have to try and avoid those time periods for her services, she joked.

Marston restricts her coverage area from Nanaimo to Victoria because beyond that it can be impossible to get there on time when a birth takes place ahead of schedule.

Through it all, “I’ve sort of found a good work-life balance, especially where birth photography is concerned,” she pointed out.

Marston estimates she’s now done about 60 birthing photography assignments overall for clients.

“It’s always wonderful,” she said. “It’s always different. It never does get old.”

Just Posted

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

North Cowichan to pause all logging in forest reserve for 2019

Municipality expects decision to cause $150,000 shorfall this year

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Sound of Music echoes with a surprising amount of cool

Chemainus Theatre review: my teenage self didn’t know what he was missing

Robert Barron column: Thanks to municipal workers during snow storm

I’ve always wondered how anything gets done when mounds of snow fall from the sky.

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Skier sued me to exploit my fame, wealth

The incident happened in Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Most Read