Gay migrated from landscape design to photography when her interests in the relationships and the beauty of nature began to take precedence with her creative goals. While working at her drafting table, she would observe the birds outside her window and over time, the desire to be a part of their world drew her into her career as a nature photographer.
The stories behind the photographs are as interesting as the photos themselves. The interaction between animals of different species was of particular interest to Gay. She would spend hours waiting for the right moment to capture the intimacy of a butterfly as its wings first opened. She would grow specific flowers in her garden to attract butterflies and bumblebees.
Gay kept detailed journals of her observations about the environment and its myriad creatures, including those orpahned animals brought under her care by the Missouri Conservation Commission. Often she would raise the baby animals for her photographs and prepare them for life in the wild, while at the same time, capturing amazing images. The variety of animals she nurtured is evident in her images — turkeys, raccoons, opossum, turtles, foxes, geese, squirrels, deer, wolves, coyotes, myriads of songbirds, and many more.
Gay made the transition to the world of digital images and a computer-based business model when she was over 70 years old. She said she was glad she finally had a reason to sit down. This transition also allowed her to care for her husband in his illness, spare her energy, and explore a whole new medium.
She traveled widely as a photographer and her images capture the natural beauty of New England, Europe, California, Africa, and Central America, far beyond the Midwestern garden and landscape she loved so much. She worked and lived in Columbia with her husband Jim sharing her love for political activism, wry humor, artistic pursuits, and lifelong learning with numerous friends and family.
Gay took enormous pleasure in talking about her pictures and was honored by the longstanding support of magazine editors, stock agencies, and professional photography associations. We would like to extend her thanks to the many helping hands and friends she made through her photography even though she never had the chance to meet most of these people in person. At the risk of missing some important names (agency affiliation excluded) we would like to thank Desmond Powell, Sonia Wasco, Dan Russelman, Sean McConnell, Christine Bielik, MJ Dempsy, Trudi Bellin, Mary Ann Koebernik, Michael Jungert, Guido Rossi, Lourdes Pillar, Kathie Woods, Brooke Stebbins, Pat Bruno, Melinda Rathjen, and Betsy Reid for helping transition the business to Vermont and for offering advice and their seeming endless patience in answering questions. Finally a special note to the unseen hands of the Alamy web-designers for the sleekest kindest website of them all.
Click HERE to read a marvelous story about Gay from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
EXHIBITS AND SHOWS
Gay's work has been featured as covers and internal imagery in many national and international journals and catalogues as well as greeting cards and fine art.
Solo gallery showings
Poppy Gallery, Columbia Missouri
The Columbia Art League
Boone County Bank
Columbia College Circular Gallery
Exhibitor at the National Wildlife national photo tour in 1986 and 1987
VISIONS Photography Show – Popular Choice Award, Three time winner
Professional organizations/publications include:
Audubon Magazine, calendar, and cards
Sierra Club (weekly and monthly calendar versions for over 15 years), greeting cards, bookmarks
Coldwater Creek covers (4 separate issues)
Birds and Blooms (catalogues, books, and magazines)
ASMP journal of media photographers
Cards for Hallmark, Healthy Planet, National Federation, and Daydream
Her images have been represented by several national and international stock agencies such as:
TIPS International, Milan Italy