Local photographer Christa Galloway was on the other side of the lens on Saturday November 3rd as she accepted first prize in the category of "Evidence of Man" at the BMFA Annual Juried Photo Show award ceremony.
Galloway has photographed many people receiving awards during her time as a photographer for the Enterprise-Bulletin, but this was the first time she had her photo taken for winning an award. And all it took was 15 years of dedication and perseverance.
Winning the BMFA Photo Show has been a challenge for Galloway since she was 15 years old and was first introduced to photography at Jean Vanier High School.
"It was almost by accident... I had to choose an art course to get a mandatory credit, so I went through the list and picked photography," says Galloway, "little did I know, that class would change my life."
Galloway went on to study photography in high school in both Quebec and Ontario. In her OAC year, she was the only photography student at Jean Vanier High School, thanks to the efforts of her Art teacher, Mrs. Balloi. She went on to receive the OAC Art Award upon graduation.
In the photojournalism class at Loyalist College, Galloway won several of the monthly photo contests, graduating in 1998, after which she interned at the Toronto Sun, eventually ending up at the Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin as a reporter.
"Every year I entered the BMFA Photo Show, and every year my work was displayed at the library, but never placed... not even an honourable mention," says Galloway, "That only made me want to win more."
Even when her photography took her all around the world as a cruise ship photographer, Galloway made arrangement to enter the Photo Show.
"Depending on when I had leave, I would print, matt and mount my photos and leave them with my parents with strict instructions for when to drop them off and pick them up. One year I had my entry ready three months early," says Galloway. She only missed a few shows in her seven years at sea.
When she was in Collingwood for the competition, Galloway says she realized how tough it would be to win against high quality of entries from other photographers.
"I thought with my photos of Alaska and Australia, I would definitely win something, but every year I was disappointed. I was particularly crushed one year when I entered the ‘photojournalism’ category with my best work from the newspaper and stuff I’d taken in Petra... and I still didn’t win," she says. "Every year I thought I would win, the competition got stiffer."
In January, 2007, Galloway and her husband, Richard Galloway, left the cruise ship industry to start a photography business, Isis Photography, in Christa’s home town of Collingwood. Although specializing in wedding and portraits, Christa and Richard found themselves doing work for local publications, including mycollingwood.ca and On The Bay Magazine, where they had the opportunity to expand their creative skills.
This year, both Galloways entered the competition.
"I didn’t want to admit it, but I was a little worried about competing against my husband as well as all of the other competitors," says Christa.
Although all of their entries are on display at the photo show, Christa was the only winner in the family.
"When I got the call from that I’d not only placed, but placed first, all I could say was ‘that’s great, that’s great" over and over," says Christa.
Richard is eager to point out that he had a role to play in the winning entry, a photo of windmills in Spain, where he and Christa went to visit his parents during the winter.
"I was just happy she’d finally won, I know how much this means to her," says Richard.
"Although next year it’s my turn," he adds with a mischievous grin.
The Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts Photo Show will be on display at the Collingwood Public Library until November 30th.
Isis Photography currently has a black and white photo exhibition, "Galloway’s Travel" on display at Salon Blue in the Collingwood Center.
You can see more of Christa and Richard’s work at www.isisphotography.ca
These two photographers are making quite an impression on the scene and are getting booked up to 2 years in advance for weddings.