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Around the Factory with Dave Ashby

December 18, 2011
By APRIL LINE - Sun-Gazette Correspondent , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

The Pajama Factory is so great that some artists have a space there even though they live in other towns.

Dave Ashby is one of them. The photographer lives in Bloomsburg and commutes to Williams- port to use his studio.

Ashby has worked as a professional photographer for his entire adult life - even when he had the obligatory retail sales job just out of college, he was freelancing as a photographer.

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He said, "I've pretty much always taken pictures. Even when I was in college. My first job was taking photos for Pocono White Water in Jim Thorpe, PA."

Originally from Media, "everybody's hometown," Ashby has lived in Bloomsburg since college. He studied at Bloomsburg University. Now, he lives there with his wife who works in fundraising with Albright Care Services, Lewisburg.

When asked why the Factory, he said, "That's probably a long story, but I like the energy here, and the fact that there are a lot of artists. It puts you in a creative mood. There's a good vibration."

A lot of Factory tenants say similar things about the collective, artistic energy, but in Ashby's case, it's not just a creative muscle massage, it's about business, too. He said, "I wanted to do the First Fridays, but I didn't want to do it outdoors."

He also said that he likes the look of the space at the Factory and that he is "always finding new places to shoot."

Ashby uses his studio at the Factory anywhere from a few times a week to once a month and shares the space with Dave Stabley, a painter, who teaches at Penn College.

He photographs all manner of things but he said portraits are his primary source of income, but he also shoots fine art style landscapes and still lives.

He prints all his own images on a variety of papers: watercolor, fabric, cardstock, etc. and is capable of printing on surfaces as big as 44-inches-by-96-inches (approximately 4-feet-by-8-feet). He makes greeting cards from his images and will soon be offering a printing service to artists who need high resolution, high-quality reproductions of their work.

The small area that holds Ashby's equipment is full of framed, matted and acetate-wrapped- prints of his work. Everythings, from panoramas to greeting cards to wall prints. He said "Everything here is for sale."

A particularly slick thing about digital photography is that the original is saved on a disk, so there can be as many prints as demand dictates.

Of course, there are lots of artists running creative businesses and services at or using the Factory, but Ashby makes the Factory part of his work.

He said, "I bring clients here and [photograph] them in the Courtyard."

He views everything he does as an opportunity to photograph, so he doesn't think of the mountain biking, hiking, or traveling he does as distinct hobbies from photography.

Still, he boasts a number of excellent adventures and even though he no longer does weddings, he acknowledged that a lot of young, professional photographers cut their teeth shooting nuptials.

Even though he was no longer just-getting-started when he got the opportunity, his favorite trip to date was to the Galapagos Islands where he traveled to photograph a friend's wedding.

He also has traveled to Costa Rica, Ecuador, and he walked across England. He drove across the United States a couple of times, once to mountain bike 200 miles in Colorado, and is often accompanied by his dog, Nikon, a black lab.

"He's forgiven me for switching to Cannon," he said. "I used to shoot with a Nikon, but when I went digital I switched to Cannon."

When asked if he ever lost any expensive equipment on any of these adventures, he said, "Not on an adventure, but I did drop an $8,000 camera into a waterfall once while taking high school senior photos."

He was quick to assure that the equipment was insured and even joked about how it was one of the first professional digital cameras available, and that it was only 3.5 megapixels.

He laughed and said, "Now my phone has an 8 megapixel camera." Professional grade cameras have as many as 18 megapixels.

Ashby has a website where you may check out his images, services, order prints or contact him. The URL is



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