Photographs by Denise Gallagher
I consider myself a painter who photographs. I had given up on painting about ten years ago since I didn’t feel I could authentically express what was mine to express. Then, about eight years ago, I fell into photographing what I came to call my “magical landscapes.” These images came almost effortlessly and opened up worlds I never imagined. I credit this experience with giving me the courage to explore the real world. During the last five years, I have traveled around the world twice for extended periods of time. I tend to perceive now that most every landscape has the potential to be a magical landscape, given the right lighting and composition.
When I travel, I love to simply wander, to experience a place with no agenda, simply to be available to receive the beauty of the moment. It is an open and receptive state and, in a way, capturing the image is just part of the process of relaxing and seeing 180 degrees. I’ve heard there are books on the zen of photography. I would say I fell into it naturally.
I’m from Philadelphia but I currently live in Fairfield, Iowa. When I return to Iowa after traveling, I create “Ritual Art Events” which I show at our local art gallery. At these evenings, I interweave short films I have created with my images, using transitions and movement (à la Ken Burns), spoken word, and soundscapes. One of my latest films combines the real with the imaginary magical landscapes. Having the imagery projected large, merging with other images and set to music, feels closest to what I consider my authentic voice.
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Denise Gallagher is a photographer/painter, occupational therapist, and world traveler, currently living in Fairfield, Iowa. She has exhibited her paintings and photography extensively in one-woman and group shows, and has produced ritual art events at ICON Contemporary Art Gallery in Fairfield and also, on a smaller scale, as she travels. She believes her therapy work and art work are intimately connected, one informing the other. Denise received a BS in Art Ed from Temple in 1979, including a year at Tyler Rome, and went on to receive an OT degree from Jefferson College of Allied Health in 1986. Denise has traveled around the world twice during the last five years, photographing daily. This past year she did volunteer work with Syrian refugees in Greece and taught Tai Chi in Bali. Visit her website at www.denise-healer-artist.com