Tell us abit about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.
My approach when working with any client in any environment is to create a space where they feel comfortable and that allows them to be their true selves, unconcerned with performing for an audience. I adapt with each session and I’m not precious about anything- my physical space, equipment, talking about my life. I find that when I share more of myself, others feel compelled to do the same. It’s an exchange of energy and trust.
I’ve been a professional photographer for over fifteen years, self taught since childhood and then received my BFA from Pratt Institute. My subject matter has always been people, mostly families. Growing up with a deaf, Chinese immigrant mother and hearing, white, American father in an African American community, I’ve always been curious about how other people live. What I’ve found in all my years of documenting families is that we are more similar than not. My photography is about celebrating people and life in all its varieties. Holding a mirror up to the beauty that’s right in front of them.
I offer documentary and portraiture sessions for all stages in life- big ones such as births and weddings and in between, transitional ones such as the first day of school or portraits in your big girl room. One of the more unique and my favorite types of sessions is a Fresh48 which takes place within the first 48 hours of you and your new baby’s life together. It’s that mysterious time in between worlds, dream and reality, where you’re still deliriously tired from having just given birth but there’s this surge of energy coming from the new life that’s right there in front of you (or more likely, on top of you). It’s the honeymoon stage and it makes for wonderfully sincere imagery.
What about this session was most memorable?
What was most memorable from this Fresh48 session was the mother. She had just given birth to her third baby the day before and her two other children were both under the age of four. When I entered her hospital room, the baby was sleeping soundly next to her in the basinet and Mom and Grandma were chatting and laughing. I mentioned that her husband and children were on their way up from the parking lot and without missing a beat, she starts child proofing the room, moving around gracefully and with the expertise of a seasoned mom putting caps on bottles, moving bags and carts out of the way all the while glancing at her sleeping, day old babe and noting that on the tv was a show similar to Wild Kratts, one of her older sons favorites. I know that to the untrained eye these might sound like the most mundane tasks, but to me I saw a beautiful woman wearing motherhood like a second skin and I was inspired.
Your best photographer/session advice?
My best advice to photographers is to shoot what you care about, know yourself and your gear. Trends come and go but true skill and authenticity is what defines you.
The majority of the jobs I take on are on location and site unseen so lighting can often be a hurdle as I shoot with available/natural light. Hospitals aren’t known for their flattering lighting but luckily this session took place on a sunny day and the room had plenty of windows.
What gear was used to achieve these?
This was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and 6D with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L and a Sigma 50 mm, f/1.4 art lens.
“My best advice to photographers is to shoot what you care about, know yourself and your gear. Trends come and go but true skill and authenticity is what defines you.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Heather Gallagher is a family photojournalist, documentary event, editorial and commercial photographer in Austin, TX. She is a boy mom & brewery wife, loves whiskey and true crime and watches way too much tv. She is available for travel worldwide and never checks a bag.