I’m Ashley Nixon, a photographer, filmmaker, writer, and university teacher, based in Calgary, Canada. I am a curious explorer and passionate communicator on sustainability, culture and natural heritage.
My business and teaching career has focused on environmental and social performance management and communications and includes working in over 30 countries. I currently teach sustainability and writing about images at Mount Royal University. I have a Ph.D. in ecology and am proud to be a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
The Betula Bulletin and getting in contact with me
If you like what you see here or in the other links to my work (see below), please consider getting the occasional Betula Bulletin for some behind the scenes from my work, news and special offers about my books, films and photography. You can, of course unsubscribe at any time.
Beyond this blog you can see galleries of my images in my current photography portfolio. My documentary films (which tend to be short!) are posted on my Vimeo film page. I also run Betula Books, an independent imprint, to publish my own books and those of other like-minded authors in the near future. There’s more about that further down this page.
If you are looking for help or collaboration on photography, films or other sustainability projects, it would be great to hear from you via this contact form.
My Creative Journey
I grew up in Haworth, Yorkshire, a village well-known for its connections with the Brontë sisters, splendid, rugged moorland and featured in Cobbled Together, a book of my photographs and West Riding dialect and other poems by my Mum, Dorothy Nixon.
Exploration was built into me at an early age. Before going to university to study biology, I went on expedition to the Svartisen Icefield in arctic Norway and travelled across Europe by train. After graduation and time working in medical research (anaesthetics) and manufacturing (making and delivering conveyor belts), I qualified as a teacher, and ran university courses in conservation and environmental assessment. I earned my Ph.D. in ecology from Coventry University by studying environmental changes associated with woodland restoration on the beautiful island of Rum in the Scottish Hebrides. An analogue film camera and binoculars, field notebooks and guides tucked into Fjallraven jacket pockets became part of my regular appearance!
My writing portfolio began with a university textbook, Environmental Assessment in Practice (written with D. Owen Harrop, while working around the world as an environmental consultant). Developing Communities in Peru (2018) is a book that emerged from that time when working in mining and energy and raising my new family in Peru. I have also published a history of the Calgary Canucks Rugby Club (2019), photo books about female hockey, pop culture and cosplayers (All Dressed Up) and musical performance (Sledding).
In 2020, I released Beyond the Mask, a book of photographs and stories from local people in Mito about the Huaconada, an ancient ritual dance in Peru, recognized by UNESCO for its intangible cultural heritage. The book (in English and Spanish) compliments my most recent documentary film La Máscara y Más which you can view on my Vimeo site.
I established Betula Books in 2021 as an independent publisher of work (writing, art and photography) on sustainability, culture and natural heritage. The two latest books are Cobbled Together, mentioned earlier, and Social Camouflage, a collection of studio portraits and location photographs that reflect on our changing society and challenged, often surreal, lives during the pandemic in 2020.
If you are interested, please click on the button below and take a look. If you are an author, or aspiring author, looking to publish a body of work that fits within that scope, please get in contact with me.