My work embraces a moment in time with spaces that allow and promote solitariness and contemplation. Spaces and things that provide an opportunity for the viewer to imagine the space before or after viewing through a memory or dream of the future.
Gayle Ellis Davis, is a Harlem, New York based photographer. She has been honing her digital photography skills over the past several years. Ms Ellis Davis began shooting in the late 1970’s when music and the arts were burgeoning in the lofts, clubs and studios of Washington, DC and New York City. With her pentax camera, she captured candid portraits of working artists and musicians and documented the Jazz era from a woman’s perspective. She worked with black and white film and available light. She subsequently worked with color film and slides and did a significant portion of her own dark room work.
By the mid 1980s Gayle was a single mother with two children so she felt she had to put away her camera at least temporarily. While working full time and raising her two children she put herself through law school, moved around the country several times and carved out a career as an Executive with a major non profit. Upon retiring Gayle ended her temporary hiatus with photography and began shooting again.
Ms. Ellis Davis began shooting all around the city and Harlem and Morningside park where there were so many opportunities to explore new subject matter. Although, Street photography was very different from her original focus, she successfully found the intensity and intimacy that she once captured in her candid portraits in the portraiture of the street.
Ms. Ellis Davis’ work is her art with a perspective influenced by mid century abstract paintings, by Henri Cartier Bresson, Ansel Adams, and Roy DeCarava. Her work is a derivative of Street Photography, candid, mirthful, intimate or wistful. She effectively expresses her unique perspective of subjects/objects that are around us all and usually overlooked. Her work invites you to stop and look and to smile, Her photographs are a “still life” for a hectic world.
I have loved photography and taking photographs for so long that in all likelihood it’s genetic passed down from my Grandfather who had a photography studio in the 1940s in Brooklyn, or from my older brother who was a professional photographer. It seems as if I’ve always had a camera whether it was a Brownie, a polaroid or a pentax. Yet with this love of the craft I’ve never trained formally. I’ve apprenticed at a studio and worked as an assistant to a professional photographer but these were short stints of time and not consequential. So it may have been limiting for me in terms of technical knowledge to not have had formall training however I believe it gave freedom to develop my own vision. If I were a painter my work (I) would be considered “Outsider”.
My early works were from a documentarian perspective. I photographed the arts and artisans of color with their focused energy and passions while they were working. Now, when I shoot I strive to capture the beauty of found things and places. My photographs are an attempt to turn an ordinary street, a local park, the seasons – the trees and leaves in the autumn or frost and snow in winter into a work of art.
My work embraces a moment in time with spaces that allow and promote solitariness and contemplation. Spaces and things that provide an opportunity for the viewer to imagine the space before or after viewing through a memory or dream of the future. When I shoot I see into the thing of beauty.