SEARCY-BASED photographer Ashel Parsons has always tried to look at the world a little differently. When she was a young girl growing up in Atlanta, Ashel spent her time looking up at the stars, dreaming of becoming an astronaut. So at 14, after her family moved to Searcy and there was a small municipal airport just up the road, Ashel started working toward her pilot’s license. She was then seeing the world from on high, the landscape of the Earth spread out before her, the creations of mankind reduced to miniature.
Then during her freshman year at Harding University in Searcy, she picked up a camera, more or less for the first time in her life, and everything changed. “It came naturally,” she says. “It wasn’t just like a hobby. It was like I truly … I don’t know. There was just something that connected with me.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that Ashel’s consistently driven to capture new perspectives in her work, to see the world from an unexpected angle or point of view. Sometimes it’s the image of a loving couple reflected in a pool of rainwater. Other times, it’s a father holding his child, both in silhouette, as an enormous sea creature passes just beyond the aquarium glass in front of them. And sometimes it’s the view just beneath the water’s surface at Greers Ferry Lake on a hot summer day, when splashing about is the only item on the agenda.
“We all are in the same world,” she says, “yet we see it very differently.”