Professor Featured in Local Art Gallery

Richard Daley's photography lights up Skylite Gallery this month

By: Becky Beddoe

An example of Daley's work, on display at the Skylite Gallery in Walla Walla this month.

Walla Walla College professor Richard Daley knows his stuff, and it isn’t all discussed in his classroom.  Although he serves as a full-time chemistry professor at the college, Daley also understands the chemistry between the world and a camera.  

Word has gotten out about his sharp eye, and Daley is the featured artist at the Skylite Gallery in Walla Walla this month.  Although other artists’ work will be displayed, Daley’s photography will be the focus of the gallery for the entire month of May.  

It began when Daley received his first camera at age 8.  He began taking pictures for pleasure, and then the interest grew into enjoying the challenge of getting a good photograph.  “It involves a lot more than just pointing the camera and pressing the shutter,” Daley explains.  Daley also points out that everyone needs their means of artistic expression, and this is his.

The art doesn’t stop when his finger releases the camera button, however.  Once the photos get into Daley’s computer, he enjoys creating styles of art different from basic photographs.  Sometimes he will spend up to 30 hours on the computer, striving to get an image just right.  

A little over half of Daley’s photography is what he calls “documentary photography,” or that which shows what the photographer saw, felt, and thought while taking the picture.  “Others are manipulated in some way to create a sense of the unreal or surreal, may appear to be done in some traditional media like watercolor or pastels, or may be something completely off the wall,” says Daley.

The most frustrating aspect of photography, according to Daley, is the fact that many people don’t consider it a serious art form.  “Somehow, because anyone can press the shutter of a camera, the common thought is that there is more skill required to wield a brush, pastels, or charcoal.  I disagree!” asserts Daley.

To punctuate his point, Daley paraphrases the late Galen Rowell, internationally acclaimed nature photographer: Less than 0.01 percent of all pictures taken qualify as photographs.  And less than 0.01 percent of those are art.

Although Daley sincerely enjoys capturing flowers, rainbows, and landscapes with his camera, he admits that some of his favorite photography subjects are his grandchildren.

Most of Daley’s photographs on display at the gallery this month were taken within 100 miles of Walla Walla, and are presented in various media.

The Skylite Gallery is located at 7 North Second Avenue in Walla Walla.  Its hours are 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, and 10 to 4 on Saturdays.  Admission is free.  Daley’s photographs will be on display throughout the month of May.  For a preview of what you can see at the gallery, visit Daley’s website.

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