For the love of photography — and each other

Jan 10, 2019

MARION —There’s a story of dedication and love behind every photo in the “Photography of John Gallagher” exhibit at the Benjamin D. Cushing Community Center. There’s the love of a photographer for his craft, but also the love of a wife that has brought these photos back into view.

Six and a half years ago, Gallagher was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Though he writes that “I still feel like the same person I always was,” he no longer remembers how to use the computer to edit and print the images that he has taken over the years.

So three years ago his wife Christine Gallagher decided to learn how to do it herself.

“It took me a year to be able to find his photos on his computer, and then to be able to transfer them over to my computer, and send them to various printers,” Christine said.

But now the results of both of their hard work— his hours in the garden and yard waiting for a hummingbird to visit a particular flower that he had focused on, and hers in learning how to use the technology to share his images — are on view for all to see through the end of the month.

The photos in the exhibit are all on sale, and at the Jan. 10 opening reception a handful them had already had “sold” tags next to them. The proceeds from the sale will all go to benefit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Selling photos may be rewarding, but seeing them is sometimes just as much a triumph for the Gallaghers.

“Whenever he looks at the printed photos and says, ‘This is amazing!’ I think ‘Yes! I did it right!’” Christine said. 

“We have great teamwork,” John agreed. 

Gallagher took most of his photos in his backyard, with a few taken on trips. His photos focus in on the beauty of the natural world, whether at the macro or micro level.

Watching Christine and John interact, there’s no question about their devotion to each other.

“One of the reasons I love taking photos in the garden is because you work so hard in the garden and I need to display your flowers,” John said to Christine.

And she works hard to make sure those photos are appreciated.