nurse / photographer / mother
"never look to how someone else is doing it"
we know no one has it all OR does it all, but Ashley Wexler comes pretty darn close. she’s a nurse (“i knew i wanted to help people”) AND a photographer (“i love capturing a person”) AND a mom of two. her secret? “me time, without feeling guilty about it! it helps with balance.” here’s how she walks the line.
where do you live?
“i live in Sonoma with my husband and two babies. (not really babies, but that's what i always call them). Ruby is 6.5 and Bodhi is 3.5. my husband was living up here when we first met. it took a couple years, but eventually i made the jump. in April, it will be 12 years that i’ve been here. and in July, we will have been together for 14 years. (WHAT?!?!)”
what do you do — professionally, personally, passionately?
“professionally, i am a nurse and a photographer. i work in interventional radiology / cardiac catheterization lab, and my photography is focused on families and weddings. both roles fulfill parts of what i want to share with the world, and the energy i think the world needs. both make me feel like i’m sharing my talent with people and making them feel good, comfortable, beautiful and cared for.
personally, i NEED time with my girls. grown-up time in my life is vital!!!! it helps with balance of being a mom, a partner and having two jobs. it also lets me know i’m not alone, that the things i experience are totally normal. and they make me laugh. women supporting women is SO important to me, and i’m unbelievably lucky to have a lot of women in my corner.
passion? this one's tough. my kids are still little and our family needs one another so i don't know that i have outside hobbies that really ignite me. being great at my jobs is really important to me — ALL of the jobs, even being a mom. and, man, do i have strides to make and things to work on in that arena. taking excellent, empathetic care of my patients, being a resource in my department, taking pictures that my clients are all over-the-moon happy with? those are my passions… for now.”
what path led you here?
“i started taking pictures when i started traveling in my teens, back in the day of film. i’ve always loved the feeling of capturing a person at their core, showing who they are in a picture. it's unbelievably satisfying. i didn't start nursing school until about a decade after my first go around at University of California, Santa Barbara, where I completed my Bachelor’s degree. i had a hard time choosing what i wanted to do. but i had a checklist that my job had to fulfill: i knew i wanted to help people, and feel like i was adding to the world. i never wanted a desk job, i wanted to be on my feet and move all day. i wanted to be financially independent. my sister is a nurse as well. i started looking at her life, her schedule, her freedom, her helping people and I ended up enrolling in nursing school. she was onto something and i wanted in!”
SOMETHING YOU’VE LEARNED “ON THE JOB”?
“every single person has a story and has lived a life. we have a tendency to overlook the older generation, and when you take the time to get to know them, they have lived these amazing lives, seen the world, raised babies, fought in wars. they have something very important to share. also: everyone is creative. it doesn't matter what they do for income. the jean jacket that i’m wearing in some of these pictures is a masterpiece created by a coworker of mine. she is so creative. i had the butterfly patch, and she found this Japanese wrapping fabric, and sewed it on the back of my jacket. she did it for a few people in our department. it's incredible work.”
YOU ARE A MULTI-HYPHENATE (TO PUT IT MILDLY). WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD SHARE?
“never look to how someone else is doing it. what works for them may not for you. what you have to bring to the game (whichever game that may be) is important and your point of artistic view, way of shooting and sharing people through the lens, nursing view, patient advocate view, parenting view — they're all valid and they're all necessary. the comparison game will only make you feel less than — and who needs that kind of energy in their life?”
best book you read lately?
“i don't read books, i listen to them — who are we kidding. i have two small kids, and i fall asleep one page in at night. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah absolutely blew my mind. it takes place in a time that i honestly didn't think i’d connect with. i was wrong. it was so beautiful and heart wrenching and it made me cry. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was also one i couldn't wait to get in the car to listen to the story unfold. one of my all-time favorites is White Oleander. great book. it's been nice to get back into my imaginative brain and see these characters in my head.”
piece of époque on current rotation?
“the all day short sleeve is so good! versatile and totally my style. i love a classic piece with an edge and the cropping of it is my jam. but i’m also eyeing the go to long sleeve and the one midi skirt… so cute. i have a tendency to wear solid clothes and fun shoes.”
favorite way to sweat?
“lifting weights. makes me feel strong and i love that at almost 43 (and only being 5’1”) it's unexpected from others. i also love me an F45 class. they push you, have fun machines and go by so fast!”
three random items you can't live without?
“coffee, tequila and human touch…”
not-so guilty pleasure?
“me time, without feeling guilty about it. we live in this go-go-go society and honestly, i’m done with it. and i go A LOT. but when i need a break, i break. i am lucky enough to be able to do that, i know not everyone can.”