Sonia’s View: Award-winning local artist offers unique perspective
A vivid rainbow throwing a curve of psychedelic colors through the mist of a hotel water fountain contrasts nicely with the puff of brown sand spewing from an elephant’s trunk as it dusts some pesky flies.
The photographed images come from award-winning artist Sonia Ascher, a native of Manchester and a current Nashuan. Her company, Sonia’s View, offers her photos, presented in matted and unmatted formats, large and small, and in gift-boxed sets of note cards, white or ecru.
“As a young child, I developed a lifelong hobby of photography when my father, Alfred Ascher, gave me a Brownie box camera,” said Ascher. “He was very talented and helped me with my first pictures, mostly of my dog, Blonko, whom I adored.”
Currently, Ascher’s designs are available at Toadstool Bookstore, in Milford, Lull Farms in Hollis and in Milford, and The Cozy Tea Cart, in Brookline, along with the Glorious Possibilities home-decor shop, and the Wine Not Boutique wine shop, both on Main Street in Nashua.
Ascher, a retired leadership and management consultant for the banking industry, said her business evolved from a passion for photography, nature and world travel. It grew as friends clamored for more of the single note cards she gifted them with on special occasions – or “just because.” They wanted the cards to be made available in multiples, in sets. Now, Ascher is celebrating 10 years in business.
Her husband, John Greenwood, a retired educator and avid world traveler from England, is an accomplished photographer in his own rite. He heralds her entrepreneurship.
Ascher said she is never without a camera of some kind. A cell phone camera has sufficed, on occasion, when an animal, bird or butterfly presented an impromptu photo opp.
Flowers, covered bridges and oceanscapes are colorful covers on her note cards. She said she enjoys freezing memorable scenes from across the globe. The journey is shared with John, her husband of five years, and sometimes with her three sons – Barry, Nathan and Matthew.
“We have traveled a lot,” said Ascher. “My husband was a widower who went on 36 trips in nine years at one point, so now we share trips together as a way of exploring history and enjoying other cultures.”
Ascher met her husband on a voyage that circumnavigated South America. Soon, France, Russia, and Istanbul provided fodder for her photos, as did Madagascar, and South Africa. She said that what moves her to snap one photo instead of another is a matter of “inspiration and impulse.”
“I find beauty wherever I go,” Ascher said. “My mantra is, ‘Appreciate what nature has to offer – it’s right in front of your eyes.'”
She said that crafting the note cards is a labor of love. She enjoys a “tremendous amount of pleasure” putting them together. She performs every step, from selecting the perfect images to mounting them on the front of the note cards. Each finished note card is autographed – a personal touch.
Ascher reflected on the process behind a customer’s selection of the perfect note card. She said that considerable emotion is entailed in a customer’s decision to purchase.
“When people buy my note cards, they look at them and they make a purchase after making an emotional connection with the image,” said Ascher. “The process entails putting oneself into the recipient’s mind and visualizing the pleasure to be experienced when the receiver opens the card.”
She said she is proud of the thanks that customers post online. She also is proud that aficionados of her work have reported framing her cards to display as art in their homes or workplaces.
“A special note card forms a tangible connection, one that is more permanent than a text or a tweet,” said Ascher. “It’s not transitory, as it becomes a record of human interaction – a way of staying in touch, letting someone know you care, or perhaps expressing sympathy.”
Ascher’s days with her beloved dog are memories now, but her eye for photographing animals remains discriminating. She looks for cuteness, power and unique coloring, along with a personality that is displayed in a pleasing surrounding.
“Photographing animals is a matter of patience,” Ascher said. “Their expressions show so much emotion and there’s intelligence in their eyes, but they rarely stop moving!”
Her website – SoniasView.com – documents proof. An image of a giraffe, photographed in Zimbabwe, and a portrait of a Barbary ape, taken in Gibraltar, are eye-catchers, as are her Costa Rican hummingbirds.
She and her husband credit Road Scholar, a not-for-profit organization based in Boston, for offering the worldwide educational trips and learning adventures the couple has so often enjoyed.
Other portfolios online and on her note cards share images from Nashua. There, too, are photos of flowers, covered bridges and tea shops. New Hampshire scenery is plentiful. Every season is represented. Holiday themes including Hanukkah ensure that there is a card for every admirer.
“My satisfaction comes from seeing people’s reaction when they select one of my cards to send,” said Sonia. “And, the feedback from recipients is so positive, I’m humbled when they say they’ve framed my cards.”