Minnie Gallman is happy with a camera at hand. And one is there almost all the time.
Minnie grew up in rural Galion, Ohio, on a dairy farm, where she had 160 acres to roam. Her very first picture, of her little sister when Minnie was four, turned up earlier this year among her late mother’s heirlooms. Minnie has been the family photographer for as long as she can remember.
From the Brownie to the Instamatic to her Nikon D300 to the iPhone, Minnie’s cameras have kept up with the times. Unlike a lot of the avid photographers I have interviewed lately, film never caused Minnie to lapse from photography until digital came along. In her lifetime as a photographer she has taken a single, brief hiatus, one that she needed to recover from a creative burn-out. Minnie had to re-learn to shoot for herself, not for the judges at competitions.
What Minnie eventually came to realize is that nature photography is what appeals to her most, because it takes her outdoors, where she has always liked to be. For twenty years, she has done a calendar that features the farm in Galion. “[The farm in Galion]…has woods. It has rolling hills. It has ponds. It has open fields.”
It has pictures.
The calendars are now a portfolio of Minnie’s progress in photography; and, for Minnie’s sister and cousins, they are a touchstone, a way in which they insist Minnie return them home each year. She is still finding fresh ways to portray the homestead: with fall leaves covering the playground swings; or, with milk pods, burst and all over the ground. Unfortunately, however, the 100 milking Holsteins are no longer there.
Beyond nature, Minnie’s desire to keep a camera almost always at hand has helped Minnie become a master of many subjects, as well as a finder of the unforeseen. “[The camera is] something that travels with you. Wherever you are, you can just pull out your camera and occupy yourself. It’s just wonderful.”
The bridge photo in the slideshow above is one of many products of that mindset. Minnie was kayaking with her husband, Phil, on Boundary Channel. Along with him and her paddle, Minnie had her iPhone. As their kayaks left the bridge behind, Phil’s ripples enlivened the waterway. Alert and adept, Minnie made her only shot count. It took first place at a competition last month, whose theme was bridges.
Minnie’s purpose in all her photography is to make the ordinary extraordinary. “There’s no doubt that that ‘wow factor’ is hard to come by. But every now and then you get those,” she says. “I love nature and how it surprises you. But there are lots of [other] things out there to take pictures of.”
Minnie has exhibited in many places in Northern Virginia, as well as a few points just beyond: Hendry House, the Arlington Library, Fairfax County Center, Meadowlark Gardens, George Mason University, the Circle Gallery in Annapolis and, the nature photographer’s holy grail, the National Geographic Society.
You can see some of Minnie’s recent photos in the gallery above; and you can see many more of her best by visiting her online gallery at http://www.pbase.com/photosbyminnie/best_photos. Minnie sells note cards featuring her pictures at The Artisans and For the Wild Birds and, in Great Falls, at The Saddlery.
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An archive of our illustrated Patch posts on club competitions and interviews with club members Bill Prosser, Tom Mangan, Ursy Potter, Margaret Huddy and David Stossel is at the McLean Photo Club's new Facebook page. Please "LIKE" us on Facebook to keep up with the interview series and announcements from the club.
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Our holiday party was terrific. Thank you very much to our gracious hosts Ursy and Carter.
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The McLean Photo Club is in its fourth decade -- and we welcome new members. Or just come to the next club meeting as a guest, to see what the club’s about.
After the holidays, MPC will meet on Wednesday January 9 at 7:30 pm in the McLean Community Center. Tuan Pham will be the speaker. About Tuan: "Photography helps him see deeply without the camera and gives him great joy, particularly when photography and Zen touch to spark a serene inner setting and profound attunement to the present moment." For more about Tuan, click here.