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Photographer Profile: Ashley Gruber

From issue 96 • The Photo Annual

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When did you start shooting professionally? December 2010. Jered (her husband) and I were still in newly wedded bliss and a new friend of ours, Søren, asked if we’d be down for shooting that winter’s Castelli catalog. Jered freaked out and bought a new camera…. This was the first time we had two cameras, so when we started shooting that freezing cold, but beautiful day in Flanders, he handed me a camera, told me to aim that little box in the viewfinder and start shooting.

Who and what have influenced your photography? I was never really exposed to photography as an art form growing up. Obviously, I saw it in ads and magazines, but I didn’t think much about what was behind it. I felt a shift in recent years with a desire to spend more time looking through photo books, magazines, Instagrams—just digesting and consuming with a more conscious eye. I find inspiration in graphic design and thinking about how I can make images that show more texture or contrast to be more visually interesting.

How far has your imagery come since you first started putting your name on images? Here’s a little secret that we’ve never publicly told [I knew that already -Tim]: We share photos. Sometimes, Jered takes mine. Sometimes, I take Jered’s. Only we know who took what. We don’t do it to confuse people, but to tell a more cohesive story, and we work and think as a team. That said, I do feel like I’m creating things that are more and more intentional and trying not to freak out every time I have a camera in my hand.

Ashley Gruber ||| Athens, Georgia

Has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the way you see the world? We haven’t really shot “out there” in the big, wide world, yet. We’ve done some commercial work close to home, but not in a way that has really interacted with the virus.

What camera and lenses do you use, and whether print or digital? Four Nikon D850s: two for me, two for Jered. I try to keep it pretty simple: 24–70 and 70–200 are my go-to lenses, and I keep a musette with a 14–24, just in case. Print! Of course! There’s nothing better or more rewarding for us than to see our work on paper.

Where is your favorite place to shoot photos? Italy. God bless the Italians. I’m sure it’s partly a matter of time spent there versus other places, but man I feel good there.

Name a sport that you haven’t shot that you would like to shoot? I actually don’t care all that much if I’m shooting sport or not, as long as it’s interesting and makes me feel something. Soon after we got home this spring, I took a picture of our neighbors, Dave and Gale, on their 50th wedding anniversary. I showed up the day of, and they had totally forgotten about it. “Oh! It’s today?” They were in the garden working…and they were both dirty. They made the obligatory “Oh, but we look awful” protests, but five frames later I got what I was after. I think the camera is a magic door: If you are brave enough to knock, sometimes people will open it for you.

Instagram: @ashleygruber
Twitter: @a_gruber

From issue 96. Buy it here.