By Joel Hall
Scott Ash, of Peachtree City, has been flying 757s for Delta Airlines since the 1990s.
Before his job as a commercial airline pilot, and his earlier career with the Air Force, he shot photography with a 35mm Mamiya MSX 500 camera that he bought from money earned, while working on a farm during his high-school years.
His parents eventually bought him a brand new 35mm Nikon FE, which went with him all around the state of Colorado, and later to the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs.
"Anytime I didn't have a military commitment, I would grab my Nikon, hop in my Ford Bronco, head to the mountains and go hiking, backpacking, camping, or cross-country skiing," Scott said on his web site. "I always returned with a couple rolls of film that I couldn't wait to get developed."
When Ash began piloting international flights for Delta four years ago, he found himself having one-or-two-day layovers in cities across Europe, Central and South America, and India. He decided to blend his love of travel and photography. He would take artistic pictures of the people and landscape wherever Delta would take him.
In October last year, one of his photos of a fairlytale-like castle in Segovia, Spain, won first place in Arts Clayton's 2006 Juried Photography contest.
As a result, Ash's work is being displayed through the month of August in an exhibit called "Wanderlust: The Photography of Scott Ash." The Arts Clayton Gallery is at 136 South Main Street in Jonesboro.
The word wanderlust comes from having an irresistible impulse to travel. Ash's wife of 23 years, Kim, said that the word describes her husband's personality.
"His favorite place is the place he's yet to be," she said. "He's like some long lost relative of Marco Polo, because he loves to travel. He never gets tired of it."
Kim said that usually, when her husband makes a flight, he will take off in the evening and arrive early in the morning in another exotic location. He will sleep for a few hours, get on a train and explore the countryside, get a full night's sleep, and fly back the next day.
However, his photos are hardly the kind an average tourist would take, says Karen Powers, Arts Clayton gallery manager.
"I am always excited to see what a country looks like through his lens," said Powers. "The sense of place he is able to provide in his work ... you feel like you are there. It's better than a stamp in your passport and a lot less hassle."
Ash's photography includes still life, seasonal photography, portraits, and photos on canvas, featuring digital painting techniques which mirror early impressionism.
"He concentrates on whatever is available and appreciating each place for what it provides," said Mrs. Ash. He has an uncanny ability to cut through the extraneous and get to the meat of the matter."
As the interviews for this story were taking place, Ash was on a new adventure, making his first international flight to Africa, making stops in Dakar, Senegal and Johannesburg, South Africa.
"My first thought when I heard that he was going to Africa was, I can't wait to see what he comes back with," Powers said.