Reflecting on a Career in Photography

The other day, someone asked me, “Why are you in the art gallery business?” It was an oddly personal question to me, but I also realized it’s one that I’ve never answered. It made me think of the carefree time I spent traveling around the world as a surf photographer, chasing the endless summer. For more than 25 years, I was the senior staff photographer for Surfing magazine and was sent on assignments to 50+ countries. It was a time of great off-shore adventures and epic surf moments that will be forever seared in my mind, along with a storage unit full of 35 mm slides that document the beauty and adventure of my life as a surf photographer.

For many years (before the internet), being featured in magazines was the way to get your work out to the world. As the world sped up and life started moving at lightning speed. Life as I knew it had changed and I knew that I had to adapt. I still had a lot to say through my work as a photographer. So I opened my first art gallery that featured my photography in 2008 in Solana Beach, California, right when the bottom fell out of the economy. We kept our business lean, and the locals were so good to us. We started to grow with their support. Fast forward to 2013, we opened a second gallery in the Seaport District of San Diego, and we’ve been there for almost five years now.

Expression of my work in the galleries is my way to show the photographs that interest me. After a lifetime of travel, it is my mission and objective to inspire people to see the beauty in the world. In this age when everyone is a photographer and more photos are being captured than ever in the history of photography, it’s important that you have something to say. It’s my objective that the work in my galleries conveys the hope and beauty I see in the world, and inspires others to see it too.

Recently my work has taken a different turn. I’ve been enjoying the melding of the abstract and reality genre in the ocean realm both in photography and in multimedia art. I want people to experience the feeling of the ocean—what it smells like, what it sounds like, the salty taste of the ocean spray—through my photography. I think these sensory immersions ignite some of our best memories of the beach, which are the happiest moments for so many of us.

I’ve also been commissioned for many commercial installations in the corporate and health care industries. One of my favorite moments of 2017 is when I was approached by a woman who went to the ER for a serious accident and was unconscious. She was in critical condition. When she finally came to, the first thing she saw was my photo, “Enchanted Sunset,” at Scripps Hospital. This was a powerful, life-affirming moment for her. She realized that she would live and seeing the art was proof that she had survived.

Nothing brings me more pleasure than bringing this powerful life-affirming energy to people through my work, whether in corporate settings, hospitals or in people’s homes. An inspired mind is your brain at its optimal state. To be able to pass this gift on to others is truly an honor.

Inspiration is power.

In corporate settings, studies have shown that productivity and morale increases when employees are surrounded by art. In hospital settings, patients need less medication, heal faster and have a better experience when recovering in an inspirational environment with certain types of art, specifically landscapes and water murals.

I hope my work provides inspiration for many years to come and helps people to see the beauty around them. It’s our mission for everyone who visits the gallery to leave more inspired and uplifted than when they came in. | | Solana Beach Gallery: 858.345.1880 | Downtown San Diego Gallery: 619.567.8088 | Message on Facebook: M.Me/AaronChangGallery