Gary Christiansen

Hardware stores were always dark and mysterious places to me as a child. Hunting in the dimness, I was very aware of the soft colors, textures and the dirtiness of it all, I liked it. Along the way, someone might direct me to aisles of worn boxes and interesting items. Then, they might explain how things were supposed to fit together because that was how the world worked. Those were the rules. That was O.K. However, I found it much more exciting to find my own treasures and lay them out with my own sense of creativity. These created images in my head of “what could be.” “Click”, that image was the correct one. Or, no. “Click”, this was the one. Then, on to something else. Sometimes I would draw my little inventions with glimpses of whimsy or abstract forms. They were important, depending on my mood.

To this day, I know that this is how I go about “clicking” images in my photography world. The ones that pull me in the most (and hopefully others) are those with a good amount of mystery. Using 35mm Kodak film in my Canon EOS 3 camera, the images are imprinted forever as archival pigment prints.

Born and raised in Fresno, California, I have a good sense of the different locations that surround me—desert, mountains, ocean and, of course, the San Joaquin Valley with its extensive flora and fauna. Watercolor painting and mixed-media were early dabblings in the arts, but photography has always been my favorite art form since high school. With some dark room experience with black and white film, all of my color images came from the Kodachrome slides of old until it was no more.

One has to pay the bills and, for most, the creation and sale of art does not fulfill these obligations. After earning a psychology degree along with teaching and counseling credentials from California State University, Fresno, I careened off into a career of middle school and high school adventures in the counseling area. With another certification in music and art therapy that emphasized journaling, the intertwining of counseling and art became an easy workable mix for me. Photography captures those personal moments for each of us. Music and art feed the emotions for good photographic images.