I started my study of photography in high school with my first class in black and white photography and darkroom in 1988. I always loved working with people and thought I would eventually go into child psychology. But after starting college in Austin, TX, I decided to pursue photography so that I could combine working with people and my need for a creative outlet. While in college, I founded "The Children's Vision" in coordination with Austin Area Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation. The program used photography and journal writing to help children and their families cope with life challenging illnesses by guiding them through various feelings while encouraging them to express their hopes, wishes, fears, and anger. The children were given a special journal and Polaroid camera. Volunteers worked one on one with these young cancer patients, photographing them in black and white to document their challenges. I held a position as Director of this program for four years, raising funds, obtaining grants, training volunteers and preparing exhibitions of photographs and journals to inform the public. I also volunteered my time during the four years to work with the children that went through the program.
In 1995 I decided to pursue my photography further by starting my own company, Elizabeth Galecke Photography. I was ready for an adventure to a new place, so I did some research, and found Raleigh, NC the place where I felt I would like to live and start this new business. I chose to specialize in a unique style of candid portraiture. I use black and white film and digital formats to portray my subjects who vary from children to brides to pregnant women and everyone else in between.
A current endeavor I am working on with clients is called “A Day in the Life.” I will spend the entire day documenting a family from the time they wake until they go to sleep at night. I capture moments that truly express the people I am photographing. This can be done at home or on a special vacation. The photographs are either enlarged and hung gallery style in the client’s home or carefully edited and bound in a book to be treasured for generations.
One of my largest commitments is giving back to the community that has helped my business become successful. She has always felt close to childhood causes as well as charities for women and life-threatening illness. Over the years I have become involved in many different charities both as volunteer and donor.
For 9 years I have served on the planning committee for “Picture This,” a photography exhibit and fundraiser for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina. Each year I donate a session for the silent auction as well as participates in the photography exhibit. I have also donated my images of children for use on the Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina’s invitations, newsletters, and annual reports.
In 2001 I decided I wanted to host my own fundraiser that would benefit a charity I felt close to but also help out my peers who were artists in the community. I named my event “ A Day With the Arts” and chose Make A Wish North Carolina to benefit from the first fundraiser. The all day event held at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh and started with an art show and sale that showcased 30 North Carolina artists. After the art sale the space was transformed into an evening party where local musicians played for guests and hors d’oeuvres were served that had been donated from local restaurants. From there the night then changed again to a dance party with local djs. An impressive raffle was also held where items were raffled individually throughout the evening that had been donated from local businesses. $7000.00 was raised for Make A Wish through the event. Another way that I have volunteered for Make A Wish has been through photographing children who are going through their program. I have even photographed two of the children during their wish.
The Second “Day with the Arts” was held in 2003 and benefited the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Eastern North Carolina. $5500.00 was raised for the charity.
In addition to my work with local non-profits, I have made efforts to support small women-owned businesses in the Triangle. I founded a group called Chix in Business in 1999. The goal is to help women grow stronger businesses, build friendships among peers in the small business network, and give back to the community through charity events. A Chix in Business facebook page and yahoo group connects the businesswomen to each other and the public. Monthly business presentations and special events, both social and philanthropic ,help with education and networking while presenting opportunities to give back to the community.
My future goals include finding an organization to host a program similar to the one she started in Austin working with children with life-threatening illness. I would like to be able to work on a referral program through local hospitals and have the means to photograph the children, exhibit the work to raise funds for research, as well as provide families with images to keep. I am also excited to be mentoring students, teaching classes which combine photography and cooking(one of my other passions), working on personal photography shooting quiet landscape vignettes , #eyeswideopen, on my daily meditative walks. And last but not least, planning trips to enchanting destinations with guests who want to learn more about the creative side of photography.