Childhood Dream of Becoming a Photographer Becomes a Realty

Published December 7, 2012, Pawtucket Times

Some times an appreciation for the arts takes hold of your soul later in life and sometimes it takes place during your childhood.  For thirty nine year old Briana Gallo, she was intrigued with photography at a very young age, which began while playing with her dad’s old Nikon camera.    Today with pride and excitement, she finds herself participating in her first show, selling her photographs at the 30th Annual Foundry Artist Holiday Sale.

Looking Back

“I could ride [a horse] before I learned to walk,” remembers photographer Briana Gallo, who grew up on a 100 acre horse farm in Missouri.   Little did the five year old child know that the seeds of her desire to be a professional photographer was gently planted while taking ‘pretend’ shots of imaginary scenes.  Years later, this ultimately created and shape her photographic style as an adult.

Gallo’s imagination guided her photography.  “I want my photos to be full of emotion, with people becoming an integral part of the image.”  For those looking at her work, this Northfield, New Hampshire resident wants them to see the image as she saw through the lens, feeling that they became part of the exact moment the photograph was taken.

When Gallo turned ten years old, the pain of her parent’s divorce pushed her away from photography, taking her to Florida to live with her mother.  As a sophomore at ArmwoodHigh School in her new community of Brandon, Florida, the young student again picked up a camera joining the school’s year book staff.  “I was all over the school clicking away, capturing each and every moment”, she says.  Gallo ultimately did take on the responsibility of becoming the editor in her junior and senior years.

Snapping Pictures at College

             After high school, Gallo entered  Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where she majored in English, with two minors – teaching English as a second language, and of course, photography.  The budding photographer made a few dollars on the side by taking photos at sports events and sorority and fraternity parties. “Photography paid my bills,” she says, but noting that it took “absolutely no creativity.”

As a college senior, Gallo traveled to attend photo workshops in Santa Fe, New Mexico, mostly focusing on landscapes and slide photography, however, these trips also reignited her love for riding horses.  After graduating college, she ran a horseback riding program for boys in North Carolina.  Gallo, who grew up on a Missouri horse ranch, trained Arabians to become “kid horses” in North Carolina for four year.  This experience ultimately led her to meet her husband and marry.

Her last winter in North Carolina, Gallo found her old manual camera. After wiping the dust off, she took a photograph of a White Zinfandel wine bottle, which became an award winning photo.  The internal calling to become a professional photographer was reinforced when the wine company bought her photograph to use in an advertisement.  “This was my sign,” she says.

Relocating to New Hampshire, the couple would become Directors at Interlocken, an international summer camp. Gallo fell back on her college skills of teaching English as a second language, combining it with photography to work with the campers who came from all corners of the world.  She also ultimately served as the camp’s marketing and staffing director, too.

As a Camp Counselor, “I suddenly found myself back in the heart of photography,” she said, “…not taking pictures but teaching the craft to the youngsters.”

In time, the young couple bought a ranch in Northfield, New Hampshire to establish, Driftwood, their own camp and boarding facility.  During the summer, they offered two three-week horseback residential riding programs to children.

Gallo realized that the skills she honed while training horses would also make her a better photographer as well.  “Training young horses requires the eye, patience and steadiness needed to become a professional photographer,” she said.  Ultimately, closing her ranch allowed Gallo to bring photography back into her very hectic family life, especially with the time it takes to raise two small children under age seven.

With the purchase of a Canon 7 D and learning about the digital darkroom at  Rhode Island School of Design,  Gallo was off and running, to become a professional photographer.  She traveled to Honduras, with the nonprofit group, Shoulder to Shoulder, to create a photo essay of their work.  This allowed Gallo to provide photos for use in their fundraising, telling their story through many of her camera lenses.  She also did her photo-philanthropy for City Arts and Mount Hope Youth, Center  located in Providence.

Last year, Gallo traveled to Cuba, learning photo-taking tips from the world renowned travel photographer Lorne Resnick., where the experience propelled her into the world of fine art photography. Today, Gallo reflects on her life’s journey where she has found a way to do all that she loves – to be a mom, to work, to travel, to practice photography while at the same time, helping others.

Looking back over the years, Gallo has come to realize that “art is not what you see but what you make others feel.” With Gallo’s attempts to become a full-time photographer, she adds “I’m definitely stepping into unknown waters, it’s kind of like getting on a young horse for the first time.”

Buy Local, Support Your Local Artist Community

             Gallo becomes one of 65 seasoned artists who will show their work at the Foundry Artist Association’s thirtieth anniversary holiday sale, considered to be one of the top regional art sale, showcasing jewelry, glass, pottery, clothing, artwork, photography, and furniture.  As for the last ten years, this Christmas event is held at the historic Pawtucket Armory, located Exchange Street in Pawtucket.  Kicking off last weekend, the holiday sale reopens this Friday, December 7th, noon – 8 p.m., with jazz singer Debra Mann performing from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ; Saturday, December 8th, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and closes on Sunday, December 9th, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Foundry Show, for Gallo, a first-time Foundry Arts Association participant, allows her to showcase her unique photographic work (her website is www.courageispower.com) to thousands of shoppers, who want to purchase one-of-a-kind photos, with the added benefit of not having to pay sales tax on their purchase.

The show is free to the public with free parking in the adjacent parking. All major credit cards accepted.

For additional information and directions to the Foundry Artist Show visit the website, www.foundryshow.com  and or visit Facebook .

Herb Weiss, LRI ’12, is a Pawtucket-based freelance writer who covers health care, aging, and medical issues.  He can be reached at hweissri@aol.com.

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3 thoughts on “Childhood Dream of Becoming a Photographer Becomes a Realty

  1. Greetings! I’ve been reading your site for a long time now and
    finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx!

    Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

    • Glad you got the courage to catch up. Little did you know I am a native of Texas, coming from Dallas Texas. Also graduated from UT Austin, too. If I may ask what do you like on my blog.

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