Phil Gallagher started teaching himself photography, when he a was young man living in south-east Queensland, working at a local Subway store – sandwich artist by night, passionate disciple of his hobby by day, it wasn’t long until he could ditch the casual job, and start shooting full-time. Lost & Found spoke to Phil about analogue equipment, weird souvenirs, and the benefits of a good cry.
Tell us about where you live?
I live in small town called Mullumbimby, which is close to the popular town of Byron Bay in Australia. It’s a great mix of families, free thinkers, and passionate creative folk. We have the beach 10 minutes one way, and mountains and forest 10 minutes the other, which suits me just fine at this stage of my life.
What are your favourite sounds?
I love the sound of some of my old camera shutters. It’s like hearing an old friend’s voice, after not seeing them for years. I never get sick of a good old mechanical shutter, and that slap of the mirror, or the film advancing.
What’s a book that moved you?
Genisis by Sebastiao Salgado. The effort that went into this book, and the reasons why he made it, moved me so much that it changed the way I look at photography, after years of being a working professional. Think big bold images of the world that stop you in your tracks. I’m not a reader, so it’s all about visuals for me.
What’s heaven for you?
Being in and around the water with my friends and family is when I’m happiest.
It could be sitting on the beach, under the shade of the tree, air temp hovering around 27 degrees, water 22 degrees, and some sushi, coffee, and cold beer around.
What’s the most remarkable sight you’ve seen in the world?
That question is way too hard to nail down to one sight. Some of my highlight locations are Fox Glacier in New Zealand, Teahpoo in Tahiti, Oregon Redwoods in the USA, Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, the coastline of Esperance in Western Australia, Shibuya in Japan, and Easter Island off Chile.
I love the sound of some of my old camera shutters. It’s like hearing an old friend’s voice, after not seeing them for years.
What’s right with the world?
People aren’t content with the current state of the world, and so they’re asking questions, and looking for solutions. Whether it’s political, environmental, or simply why a certain method or product is the only option, I love how things are changing and people’s ideas are improving the world.
What do you like most about your photography?
When I can share a photo with someone, whether it’s a shot of themselves, a loved one, or a moment from a shared journey that they never knew existed. Being able to create, share and preserve a moment in time is a really rewarding part of photography.
What’s something that gives you anxiety?
The day I won’t be around to enjoy my children. I know there has to be an end, don’t get me wrong, but it’s something I don’t like to think about. When that thought comes across my mind I get all hot and sweaty. That’s anxiety, right? Or am I just drinking too much coffee?
What’s something you wonder about?
New places, new photo ideas, or scenes, I want to explore and document. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, all over the globe, but I’ve only just had a taste of what’s out there. Future travel is high on my list of things to do, while some of these places are still accessible.
Do you have a favourite souvenir from your adventures?
The traveller’s curse is dragging stupid things home that you love, and that evoke memories of great adventures, but no one else in your home can understand why you hang onto them. I’ve got dried piranhas from Brazil, petrified wood from the forests of Oregon, and match boxes from Morocco, but my photographs are always my best souvenirs.
When was the last time you cried or yelled at someone?
I don’t cry a lot. My wife says I should do it more often to release stress. I had to make some big business decisions a while back, which effected other people, and that made me sad, so the tear ducts were flexed. That was more of a stress release, I guess, where I usually tend to save my tears for births, deaths, and the odd laughing fit.