I live in Sydney but grew up in Darwin, Northern Territory. I became interested in photography when given a Kodak pocket Instamatic film camera for my 13th birthday. Many years later I took some shots of a dark, thunderous storm front rolling in off the sea and decided then I’d love to be a professional photographer.
I began submitting articles to some popular Australian magazines by photographing and interviewing some of the unique characters living in the territory. The stories often veered to the far end of poetic license to fit the magazine’s criteria — I spun some good old Aussie yarns, to be honest. But all of my articles were accepted, and it wasn’t long before editors from the U.K. and U.S. were calling to buy second publishing rights.
After working in the glamour-shot industry for ten years, I packed away my cameras and decided to get out of photography altogether.
A few years later I was in Tijuana being a tourist wandering the back streets and wound up in a dodgy area. Oblivious, I was snapping away with my SLR when a little lady came over to me and said, “Señor! Put that camera away. You will be robbed.” As I turned the corner, I saw an American tourist being chased by a gang of locals. I immediately tucked the camera under my shirt.
This place intrigued me, so I remained on the street and started shooting from the hip with the camera lens peeking out from under my shirt. When I processed the film, I loved the prints. I had captured the naturalness of people doing their everyday things without being aware they were being photographed. It felt like a spiritual awakening. I found something I loved, and I seemed to know where to point instinctively. Every corner I turned was a scene unfolding before me, and I was in street photographers’ paradise.
Grant Ashford Instagram