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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Dancing with Light

“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy. Your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.” Photographer Jules Gallatig speaks of her creative space. "Photography grounds me. It permits me to wonder, capture the beauty around me, and inspire others to push forward in life." Jules grew up in Bucks County northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a place steeped in the rich history and culture of our nation's native populations and colonial influences. She credits her parents as the first enthusiastic supporters of her interest in photography. Their willingness to provide the tools of her photographic interest and opportunities for exploration began the foundation for the lifelong journey of documentation.

By the time Jules arrived in high school, she was well on her way to serious study in photography. Her parents not only had the basement rewired for extra outlets they made sure Jules had essential equipment for a darkroom; a photo enlarger, developing trays and chemicals, plenty of running water, and a way to hang her prints to dry. When other students were sneaking out of their homes after everyone went to bed to meet friends, Jules was in the basement developing the images she had snapped that day. She loved watching the ghostly negative film images develop into rich, provocative black-and-white documents of a place and time. Jules was hooked. She intended to pursue photography. To this end, she enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. During her senior year, Jules's work was accepted into the RIT Photography Honors Show, which raised her profile as a talent to watch. Soon after graduation, she found a job as an assistant for a local portrait photographer. Jules states, "This was the job where I gained valuable experience in retouching, posing groups, and learning about the business and industry of photography.

In 1999, adjustments needed to be made in her pursuit of photography when Jules welcomed her son into the world, followed by her daughter in 2001; she found herself refocusing her lens on taking raising her children and volunteering to photograph the school events, which brought an additional skillset to her growing knowledge of not just portraits but photojournalism and large group photography. As her children grew into adulthood, Jules began stepping out into the world, offering her skills for a larger purpose; one was a trip with her church’s medical mission team to Haiti.

Jules became involved with the mission team after the earthquake by helping raise awareness and funds for the team. Jules states, "I informed the team leaders that one day I wanted to go along to document what you are accomplishing with your work.” The day arrived, the images from that trip remain one of Jules’s favorite collections. As a result, Jules exhibited the photos from the mission in the Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Starbucks, and the Doylestown Hospital Art Walk attracting increased awareness for the Medical Team Mission.

"I use the camera to look closer at life, to capture the raw, natural beauty at the moment. I hope the viewer will slow down and notice the beauty surrounding us. Curiosity and wonder are the fuel to my creativity."

Jules relocated to Cave Creek, Arizona, in 2020 to be with her partner John; they were married in 2023; not only had she found love in her relationship, however she also fell in love with the northern Sonoran Desert. She describes, "I found peace and strength in the native plants, animals, and landscapes of this very tough place." Armed with her camera on every outing, Jules takes advantage of the desert's changing seasons and the magic happening moment to moment with the play of light and shadow throughout the day.

"I use the camera to look closer at life, to capture the raw, natural beauty at the moment. I hope the viewer will slow down and notice the beauty surrounding us. Curiosity and wonder are the fuel to my creativity."Moving forward, Jules is a member of the Professional Photographers of America, where she continues to expand her knowledge and skills in photography. Photographer Jules Gallatig is a member of the Sonoran Arts League and is participating in their annual Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour in November. She also has exhibited with the Tempe Art Festival, The Camelback Gallery, the Arizona Art Alliance, and the Arizona Artists Guild.


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