Old barns and farms have fascinated me for years. However, initially, my photography focused on nature and landscapes with a few barns sprinkled in.
A personal event fueled my barn-filled artistic journey. I explain this event in my upcoming book, ‘Century Barn: History, Heritage and their Humans”:
“Barns and Barnscapes became an intentional focus after two personal events, which I experienced. In 2011, a move brought me back to Spotsylvania; where while in high school I lived on two different farm properties in Spotsylvania County. While traveling through the area and reminiscing, a sad reality would be revealed. The two farm properties where my family resided back in the 1980’s were gone.”
The result of this life event…creation of a significant number of barn artwork and me, a self-proclaimed introvert morphing into the “Old Barn” Lady.
My desire is for each piece of artwork to participate in preserving a family’s barn and farm for future generations to remember.
This body of work is an eclectic mix of scenes from the local area, around America, and distant lands. Some scenes were so surreal they left me awestruck, like the explosion of fall colors around a Massachusetts mill. Whereas two women in Nazareth sharing an intimate story brought me a deep sense of the bonds that make our lives so rich. Still others made me grateful for those ordinary people who become extra-ordinary heroes in defending our freedoms and keeping us safe. Each one has enriched my life in a different way. I hope that my depictions of those scenes, even though they may be but a shadow of their true fullness, will enrich the lives of all who do me the honor of viewing my art.
My first real exposure to art occurred when I took a black and white photography class in Ridgecrest California. The most fascinating part for me was the darkroom process. I was amazed at how cropping, dodging, burning, and double processing could create astonishing images that invoked an overwhelming sense of wonder. Sadly, work and life took me away from the world of art for many years. After moving to Fredericksburg, I decided to jump back in. I purchased a digital camera and a Macintosh computer to begin learning Photoshop.
Some artists do phenomenal representational work. However, I love pushing photographic pixels around on the endless canvas of my digital darkroom and creating scenes that reach out from the window of that canvas and beckon, “Come, share this moment with me.” One shared moment can cheer a downcast heart, revive flagging hope, or touch a soul so deeply that action must be taken. I strive to craft “Moment Windows” that refresh, encourage, and inspire.
Laura O’ Leary
The theme of our June Member’s Exhibit is “Here and There.” This fits in perfectly with the focus of the overall theme of my artistic photographic images. I love to travel, love being outdoors, working with people, working with nature, and working with all types of light. So this June Exhibit theme of “Here and There” encompasses many images through my travels as a photographer. I have to say it was hard to decide which pieces I would select for the show. To narrow it down, I went back to a foundation theme that I always try to invoke in my photography. That foundation is “A moment in time.” The world around us is so beautiful, full of so many moments whizzing past us so fast. Sometimes the things we least expect can be the loveliest things on this earth and if you blink you might miss the moment completely. As a photographer, I try to slow down and capture these moments in time, HERE and THERE, so I can share it with those who will appreciate it and cherish them as much as I do. I hope you enjoy my artistic photography in our June Member’s Exhibit “Here and There!”
Laura O’Leary was born Laura Ann Kieba originally from Philadelphia, PA. Laura has been taking photos with an SLR camera since she was 9 years old. Laura graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Drexel University in June 1995. While at Drexel U, Laura also studied black and white film photography, color photography classes, history of photography & art classes as well as design classes, calligraphy, and other art based classes. Laura married her husband, a Naval Officer in Oct 1995. Laura continued to keep up with her photography skills while volunteering with photography projects through community groups, Navy groups, and friends and family groups, through the many travels and adventures the Navy has taken their family across the globe. During this time some of Laura’s other photography jobs included a Creative Memories Consultant business while rearing babies and toddlers from 2001-2004 and working for Lifetouch National School Studios as a Photographer from 2013 to 2015. Laura now owns her own photography business called Laura Smiles Photography LLC. Laura lives in the Falmouth section of Fredericksburg,VA with her husband Mike, three sons, and golden retriever. She is happy to be back in Fredericksburg, VA where she can live and work in this historically rich as well as artistically rich town while she continues her photography career.