Tony Gale – ChatterArtist April 2014
Our ChatterArtist for this month is New York-based portrait and lifestyle photographer Tony Gale, an Aries, born on March 26. Tony was recently a participant on the PDN 30 Panel held at the SVA Theater on West 23rd Street, during which it was revealed to be his birthday on that same exact day! As I thought about it, I recognized some of the Aries characteristics in him, starting with when Tony mentioned during the panel discussion (about how to survive when you are first starting out) that he worked as a cook part-time to help pay the bills, until he had enough work photographically to sustain him.
As we know, the Planet Mars, God of War, rules the sign of Aries. Mars is therefore associated with all weapons, especially knives – they like to cut. Besides the military and law enforcement Mars is also connected with other professions that like to cut including butchers, cooks, chefs and hairdressers. So even though Tony’s dream was not necessarily to become a chef, the kitchen was a natural place for him to be. Another connection with cooking is that Mars is associated with the Tongue and your sense of Taste.
On his website About Page Tony says: Tony Gale is an award winning, portrait/lifestyle photographer. Tony was raised in Bellingham, Washington (90 miles north of Seattle) and spent most of his time as a child exploring the woods behind his parents’ house. At 19, after visiting Bruce Lee’s grave in Seattle, and taking his first photo with a disposable camera, he bought his first camera. He promptly broke it and bought his first SLR. At 21 he moved to Seattle to pursue photography and in fall of 2000 moved to NYC, the center of the world.
Three things popped out for me – the 1st is that fact that he spent his childhood “exploring” the woods… Aries is the Adventurer and the Explorer – that’s what they do. And we see much of Tony’s adventurous nature not only in his photography but also in his personal life. Which brings me to the 2nd thing in that statement, which was visiting Bruce Lee’s grave, and his natural attraction to Fighting and the Martial Arts. And the 3rd was where he mentioned he broke his first camera – Aries is connected with Accidents.
One of my favorites of Tony’s personal projects is a series entitled Some Interesting People that has evolved and grown over time, and even has its own separate URL now. For this particular project Tony asked people to nominate “interesting people” to have their portrait taken. The subject had to be specifically nominated by someone else and say why it was they were nominating this person. Aries (and all Fire signs) are connected with Inspiration, so here for example is one of Tony’s favorite stories, which embraces both Accidents, Athletes and Inspiration.
Vic Calise: Vic is a paraplegic; he was injured in a mountain Biking accident almost 18 years ago in Forest Park, Queens. We became friendly about 2 years after his injury. When you speak to Vic for about 2 minutes you forget that he is in a wheelchair and you think of him as someone who can do anything that you or I could do. And he does. We have two young daughters, 9 and 6, and they think their Dad can do or fix anything. He is a disabled athlete who competed in the Winter Paralympics games in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and who has stayed involved in the sport of sled hockey since. He works for NYC parks as the ADA coordinator to make all parks accessible to people with disabilities. He also organizes events throughout the 5 boroughs for kids with disabilities. He is frequently asked to speak at different events and organizations around the city. He is also about to complete his Masters degree, all while being totally involved in our daughters’ activities (soccer coach) and working full time. And he has a great personality; most everyone who meets him is drawn to him in some way. [Nominated and described by Susan Calise]
So when Tony’s not holding (or breaking – just kidding, he only did that when he was younger) a camera, he is most likely to be found training or competing somewhere in the wild outdoors, because he is also an avid and accomplished Triathlete himself (yep, that is swimming, biking & running folks!) and he volunteers with The Brooklyn Tri Club. Aries and people with a strong Mars are usually very tough physically. They may not be the largest fighters on the team, but they are strong and tough! This also explains why Tony enjoys and is very good at photographing Athletes.
The Brooklyn Tri Club is not the only place where Tony gives generously of himself and his time. He has also been on the Board of APA NY (American Photographic Artists) for many years and has taught workshops on Photographic Lighting around the country and classes here in New York City at Parsons The New School for Design.
Now, I have known Tony for years, and run into him at just about every single photography event there is in New York. I truly believe that Tony Gale is in fact, the originator of The Selfie because no matter what event or where you run into him, he will immediately whip out his camera and take a photo not of you, but with you. That’s why, if you go to my Facebook page – you’ll see this – almost half the photos on there are of me with Tony… and he probably took the majority of the other ones he’s not in! If you think about it, the basic principle of The Selfie ties in nicely with the Aries trait of being shall we say a little “in-your-face” at times? But Tony does it in such a nice way that you forget what it is he’s doing, and before you can even get home from the event, or get mad at him, you’ve already been loaded onto Facebook and “tagged!”