Spending the night in a cemetery may sound a bit strange. But photographer Richard Ashmore, a native of Orange, was in Hillcrest Cemetery on Texas 87 for five nights this past summer searching for the perfect shots to depict the glow-in-the-dark crosses marking graves.

Now, a panoramic view of the cemetery at sunset, with the crosses glowing and a touch of orange glow on the horizon from the sunset, is on display in the Texas Works 2008 exhibit. Ashmore has two other photographs from Hillcrest as part of the invitational exhibit at the Buddy Holly Center Fine Arts Gallery in Lubbock.

“It’s the biggest show and the most prestigious show I’ve done,” Ashmore said.
He was given 150 feet of space to fill for the exhibit, which features other photographs he has made using hundreds of digital shots. The panoramic view at sunset is titled “Illuminated Memories” and measures 7.9 inches wide and 52 inches long.

Another photo from Hillcrest is a 3-dimensional shot of a statue of Jesus with lambs, along with the glowing crosses, titled “Eternal Memories” and measuring 12 inches by 25.5 inches. Also from Hillcrest is “Connections,” a photograph of a memorial bench with a grave in the background, and a handwritten message from one of the deceased teenager’s friends.

The Hillcrest shots aren’t the only ones on display from a selection Ashmore calls “Grief.” Others include a rock tomb with simple cross from Big Bend National Park, and old Confederate graves from the Natchez Trace in Tupelo, Miss.

Ashmore is a 1991 graduate of Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School and earned two-year degrees from Lamar University-Orange before earning a bachelor’s from Lamar University in Beaumont.

He is a scientist and did a master’s thesis for Texas Tech on giant, prehistoric bivalve clams. It was his geology and paleontology treks in the deserts of the Southwest U.S. that inspired his artwork. He began taking photographs of the science trips and became enamored by the landscapes.

Digital cameras led him to the creation of the art photography as he takes hundreds of digital shots and finely combines them on the computer to make huge works.
Though he now lives in Lubbock, he travels frequently to Orange to have his photographs printed at Infocus and framed at Pinehurst Gallery.

He said he could find similar services in big cities like Dallas or Houston, but not the personal attention he finds at the Orange businesses.
“It’s almost like dealing with a friend instead of being a number,” he said about Infocus and Pinehurst Gallery.

Besides the “grief” selection at Texas Works 2008, Ashmore’s photographs are divided into the categories of “former societies,” “human-altered landscapes” and “geology.”
The past summer, he acquired a new Canon digital camera and he is impressed with the resolution in the giant prints. His previous cameras had 250 dots per inch on the prints, while the new camera produces 500 dots per inch.

“Not only does it make you feel like you’re there, it’s like you are there,” he said about the panoramic prints.

His photographs cost thousands of dollars to print and frame. The works are for sale, but few have been sold. He said people like his work, but the large size of the photographs makes them hard for the average person to display.

Ashmore’s photographs can be seen at his website, richardallenashmore.com. The display at Texas Works 2008 will be up until Feb. 10.