A Look Behind the Lens

Volunteer photographer captures memories, moments

Ashley+Kyle

Lindsay Gogniat

Allie Tribe, Staff Writer

Ashley Kyle
Photo by: Lindsay Gogniat

 

At any event, ranging from award ceremonies to Friday night football games, the flash of a camera comes as an expected sight. Parents eagerly click away on their iPhones, hoping to capture the perfect moment of their child’s big game. In the sea of smartphones and various cameras, one flash shines a bit brighter than the rest: the flash of Ashley Kyle’s Nikon D500.

In recent years, Kyle earned herself the title of ‘the picture lady’ by appreciative students and athletes throughout Decatur. Her photos from sporting events, graduations, proms and pep rallies find a home on her Facebook page, giving parents a place to find snapshots of their students in their various activities. Kyle’s love for photography started off early thanks to a Polaroid camera she received as a gift during her years in junior high. At the time, taking a picture wasn’t a fast–or easy–process.

“You could only buy rolls of film for 12, 24, or 36 photos at a time,” Kyle said. “You really had to pick and choose what was important to capture.” 

Similar to numerous parents, Kyle’s love for photography grew alongside her kids. She photographed her kids during their years at Rann Elementary through their last years at DHS, capturing their lives on film. At first, Kyle focused primarily on her own children before she expanded her sights.

“My son was a XC runner, so I would capture him, then I began capturing his friends. Facebook was new to me then, so I would post my photos there,” Kyle said. “That was my beginning for all things DHS.”

Kyle’s youngest child graduated in 2018, seemingly ending her days of taking photos at DHS events. Luckily, for students and parents alike, the graduation of her last child didn’t stop Kyle. Rather, she dedicated more time to making it to every game, ceremony or banquet possible.

“I love being around students, the excitement of the event, the anticipation of the performance/game/meet… whatever it might be,” Kyle said. “My calendar is crazy trying to figure out when everything is. To decide where I can physically be, which town I might travel to, which joyous experience I’ve just got to be a part of!”

Through her crazy scheduling, Kyle became a staple at every game. Looking to the field, court or stage, fans spot Kyle hard at work, capturing photos for the families of Decatur. With her kids out of school, it gives her a special opportunity- the chance to photograph every student, parent and teacher.

“My motivation is the students,” Kyle said. “Whenever I’m at an event, I try very hard to capture every student there. I want everyone to have that memory.”

One look at Kyle’s Facebook feed and people easily see the passion she holds for capturing every second of the event she photographed. Pictures for different events range anywhere from 100 photos to over 500, with players and smiling fans all making an appearance in the albums she posts. Despite the crazy scheduling, late night games and thousands of photos, Kyle’s love for the hobby never dies. 

“My payment for my photography is so many smiles I can’t even count them,” Kyle said. “I never expect anything in return for my time, except the joy in capturing the memory.”