Artist Statement – Jim Gale
My love of photography began when I was about 12 years old, learning to develop and print B&W in a school art class. For years I used my grandma’s old range-finder camera and by the time I was in high school, I had built a small darkroom in the basement. Throughout college, I worked as a free-lance photographer to help pay the bills, along with being the college paper photography editor for 3 years (the Stylus at SUNY Brockport). As editor, we had complimentary tickets to all music shows on campus, which became my first experience with photographing live music shows. At the end of college, I was at a crossroads. I was considering local jobs in photojournalism. However, many professional photographers I had met advised me that it would be tough to make a living, especially if you valued things like health insurance or retirement savings. In the end, I decided I loved photography too much to try and make a living with it. This allowed me freedom to pursue only projects I cared about, on my own terms and those ‘projects’ boiled down to nature and music. My parents were both music lovers (Dad played classical piano, even with a damaged finger from the Korean war) and Mom found a used copy of “The Complete Backpacker” (Collin Fletcher), which soon motivated my first 4-day solo backpacking adventure at 14 years old. One summer, while in college, I had saved enough money (barely) to hike the entire 2000 mile Appalachian Trail, and since then, my passion for backpacking has evolved into a passion for documenting my adventures so that I could preserve and capture the details and the beauty I saw through my lens. It still amazes me how much a single image from 40 years ago can bring back vivid memories I thought I had forgotten.
After college, I went to graduate school and earned a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Washington State University (1987). Since then, I have worked as a Molecular Biologist, and currently design and implement new oncology/genetic tests at Tricore as part of the Assay Development team. Moving out west also offered me the opportunity to learn white water rafting and kayaking.
I really had not gotten back into music photography until I moved to Albuquerque and discovered the Outpost! After my first show at the old Morningside location, I was hooked! Although my taste in music is very eclectic, I was drawn deeper into the beauty, improvisation and creativity of Jazz. Since I could never afford all the shows I wanted to see, I approached Tom about an exchange of my show photographs for free admittance. This arrangement as the volunteer “house photographer” has now lasted over 23 years! At this point, there are few (if any) other clubs or performance spaces that have such a complete and extensive photographic documentation.
I now have been giving the opportunity to show some of my landscape work at the Outpost which features a mix of old film (and infrared film in 4×5 sheet size) and newer digital work. Most of the photographs are from New Mexico and the Southwest. The large B&W images were some of the last I developed and printed in my garage darkroom, and while I have embraced digital, I find there is something unique and beautiful about the analog film/print that is hard to reproduce in digital.
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