Conversation with Galia Alena

In Conversation, Giveaway, Guest

Today I’m excited to share an interview with professional photographer and visual poet -“in just about any medium I can lay my hands on” – Galia Alena, a true Renaissance woman from Australia who explores every aspect of the creative process through her work. She also happens to be a multi-award winning photographer with a BA in Literature and Women’s Studies, a Diploma in Photography and Visual Arts, a mixed-media artist, workshop facilitator and online teacher. (I told you she does it all!) A mutual photography friend introduced us earlier this year, and I was honored when Galia invited me to be part of her Camera Craft Collective starting next week. I’m thrilled to be sharing her work with you today, and can’t wait to hear what you think!

Tell us a little about your background. How did you get into photography and how has this influenced you as an artist?

Photography, I kind of fell into it and I was kind of born to it. I grew up in a household that always had a darkroom and my parents were big cinema fans, involved in the initial set up of the Sydney Film Festival. Film, photography and literature were part of the household culture and I think that informs much of my work as an artist, this sense that an image can hold so much, that it can be part of a story, part of a dialogue. While I was at uni doing a degree in Mass Communication/Film (which later became a degree in literature and women’s studies), I decided to do a photography course as part of my application for film school and landed myself in a 4 year professional photography course, paid my dues as a photographer’s assistant to many different Sydney photographers and managed a commercial studio…one thing led to another. When my son was born I started my own studio which was a love letter to him (and my daughter when she joined us). The rest, as they say, is history…

Viewfinders-Galia-Alena-vista

Who/What inspires you?

What inspires me- light, magic, words, colours; the sight, sound and smells of a new city; glittering beaches where the waves wash up ancient stories; those intersections where it all just falls into place and somewhere deep within we are stirred into remembering something we had forgotten we’d lost and still we’ve been searching for. At its essence it is the beauty and fragility and temporality of life that inspires me and stirs my soul to be fully present, fully engaged.

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Your work has a very sensual quality; I love this! Could you talk about how this came about?

Hmmmm, how did that come about. I don’t know, they say that every image is a portrait of the photographer so I suppose its just an extension of the way I see the world.

I hadn’t really thought about my work as being sensual before. Its always so interesting to hear what others see in my work, in the images as a body of work. For me they are just image after image, one at a time, a response to the moment. Yet now that I’m thinking about it I would hope that they are sensual, what else is there. Perhaps it is because I want my images to express more than just the surface vision. I’m trying to get close to the essence of an experience, what I felt in the moment, the deeper connection, what the conversation was, whether it be with place, moment, mood, person. And how else can we experience that other than through our bodies, they are the portals that connect us. Photography is a way for me to slow down and step deeply into the moment, the present. A deep breathe and I am seeing beyond the surface to the heart and spirit of things and my images aim to display as much as is possible of this soul of things. Both the capture and the delivery (processing) are an attempt to explore and express that, the infinite now.

What’s currently in your camera bag?

Mostly I shoot with my iPhone and I have a G15 point and shoot that I love for many reasons. For professional gigs I get out the big girl cameras, Canon EOS-1Ds and a 5D. One of the contributors for Camera Craft is inspiring me to shoot some 120 film, its been awhile, but I’m thinking I might get my Hasselblad out and go lomo on it, there’s an alchemical magic to film that I’m missing.

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You explore many artistic mediums from art journaling to pottery to painting, not to mention giving tarot readings and leading women’s groups! How does this fit in with your photography?

Its all creative expression, all part of the dialogue with life and its all me. I’m sure it can look confusing from the outside I guess “who is she? what does she do?”. For me its all the same, its just me following my curiosities and my conversations and exploring. Its all part of the same pilgrimage, I just wander down various paths as they call. Naturally there are dialogues that go on between the mediums, intersections where they collide and transform each other. That’s such an interesting part of it too. I believe its all part of our own unique conversation that we can have when we follow our own wonder. All those various threads make up the fabric of a particular person, unique, tattered, layered and rich (you can read more about that here: http://www.galiaalena.com/art-as-magic).

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Share with us a favorite photograph.

Oh my, a favourite photograph, I don’t even know where to begin- there’s the photo of my son moments earthside, b/w and grainy, there’s that time when the light was just right and I captured a moment of my daughter gazing out the window, or that image walking behind my family, picnic basket swing, empty, sun setting, feet light and covered in sand- the little moments of our lives, precious precious moments that linger only in our memories and pixels.

Or those images that connect me to the whole, Life…

I’m told your favourite image is supposed to be the one your about to take, the next one or perhaps it is the last. I’m putting this one, because it is a recent image, and it represents a thread I want to pull on, some ideas I wish to explore. Is it a favourite, no, but it has my attention and curiosity for now and it has light, and shadows and mist:

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If you could share one gem of wisdom to your fellow photographers, beginners and veterans alike, what would it be?

I believe we see with so much more than just our eyes so when we shoot we should be using all our senses. An image should speak from and to the whole of us, beyond the visual to the quintessential.

Any projects in the works?

There are always projects in the works, a girl can’t help herself, especially not a multi-passionate, some would call dilettante but I prefer the term Renaissance Woman. We have Camera Craft beginning shortly, on the 27th of June, with an AMaZing line up of inspirational women offering up some of their photographic magic. I’m currently in the middle of a free photo invitation a {Still} Life which is being held over on Instagram, and I have the next Circling with the Goddesses session beginning soon. I also have an Oracle series of paintings I’m working away at.

Beyond that my feet are getting itch and the open road is calling me to come and explore with my camera and journal, and I’m dreaming up a workshop/retreat in Paris. Sounds yummy right.

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Galia-Alena-headshotlight chaser ✯ wanderlust gypsy ✯ clay slinger ✯ paint splasher ✯ word crafter ✯ sacred journaler ✯ beauty unveiler  ✯ soul feeder

I’m a beauty unveiler, light huntress, moment caresser and visionary poetess working with photography, painting, journaling, tarot reading and whatever else sings to my soul. Ultimately, all of my work is about helping people peel back the layers to experience the intense beauty of each moment allowing access to both their intuitive wisdom and a deeper connection to spirit and self.

I’m in love with the creative process and consider myself a visual poet working in just about any medium I can lay my hands on although I am a professionally trained photographer and a so called “self-taught” artist. I live in the insanely beautiful Blue Mountains, just shy of Sydney, with my family, our cat and all the winged ones who frequent our garden. Each day here is a wondrous delight of tiny miracles through either the glorious light or magical mists.

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This week we’re giving away a FREE SPACE in Galia’s Camera Craft e-course, including my guest contribution, Making Space in Your Photography, as part of the Camera Craft Collective! Camera Craft, The Art of Seeing begins Monday, June 27th, and my class will run during this segment. Camera Craft, Into the Light begins August 29th, and our winner will gain access to both segments of the course.

To win, all you have to do is COMMENT ON THIS POST! For additional chances to win, comment on Monday’s Post, comment and/or share either of these posts from the Viewfinders’ Facebook page, reply and/or retweet either post from our Twitter account, or comment on and/or repost either post from our Instagram feed. Be sure to tag us when commenting or sharing on social media so we can be sure to find you and add in your extra chances to win! The winner will be announced this Friday on our Facebook page.

9 Comments

  1. Holly: thanks so much for this great Interview with Galia…. very inspiring:) Thanks to the both of you for sharing this:)

  2. What an inspiring post! I love this sentence- “For me its all the same, its just me following my curiosities and my conversations and exploring.” A big yes!

  3. Love this interview…Galia is so creative in many ways and on so many levels. My favorite is the magic of her words…the way she weaves a sentence, a paragraph into a beautiful tapestry rich with meaning. Evocative, sensuous, yummy words full of passion. xx

  4. such a fabulously inspiring interview! so glad for this chance to learn a bit about wonderful you, Galia! thank you so much, Holly! xx

  5. I really love the way you use color in all of your images… Beautiful collection of your art – it was fantastic to meet you, Galia!

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