Portrait of Moore Photography adjunct instructor Ashley Smith

Ashley Catherine Smith is a Philadelphia-based artist who works in photography, video and fibers. She also runs an event photography business in addition to teaching as an adjunct instructor in Moore’s Photography program. 

Read Ashley’s answers to the five questions we always ask in our Faculty Five series, and learn more about her practice and her teaching style.


What’s your earliest memory of being creative or knowing that you wanted to do something creative with your life?

I’ve loved art classes since elementary school, but it all solidified for me in high school. I had an awesome art teacher. I was interested in painting and photography, but at one point had to take a ceramics class. I remember being so bad at ceramics. My teacher sat me down and talked with me about how there was no reason I should be doing poorly in an art class, and that she would let me work with mediums I was more invested in, then grade me on the art I made. 

It was the first time, not just as a student, but in any facet of my life, that I felt like I was being treated like a grown-up with an understanding of my own strengths and interests. That was a really important experience for me. It made art the thing I clung to as a huge part of my identity, which has stuck with me ever since.

Who is the artist or designer who has influenced you most and why?

Elinor Carrucci has a huge influence on the way I photograph. Her work about family and intimacy inspires me. I also admire her extreme vulnerability. And Kate Gilmore’s video work. Sometimes I need a reminder that art is supposed to be fun. Kate’s work always brings me back to that.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently, professionally or otherwise?

This summer I traveled to Hungary, to work on a photography project about my family. I was really close with my Hungarian grandmother. She died in 2020. I went to Hungary to spend time with her brother and my cousins. We spent a lot of the trip recreating old family photos. It reminded me how much art has to offer me as an artist, the way it motivates me to find myself in places or have experiences I never would have had the nerve to explore otherwise.


Ostffyasszonyfa, 2023 and 1963. Images courtesy of the artist.


What is it like in your classroom at Moore?

The small class size has allowed me to really collaborate with the students. I want to find out what’s going to help them grow and then teach those things to them the best way I can. I get just as much out of my relationships with my students as they might get from me as their professor. It’s a super special place to be a teacher.

If Moore had a mascot, what would it be?

Mr. Noodle. (If you know, you know.)