Patricia Galagan

As a fine-art photographer, image-making is a language for me, a way of telling what I see. The challenge is to convey meaning and evoke feeling using light, form, shape, gesture, and of course, content. Often this process is intuitive, a search for something that is more expressible in images than in words.

I photograph many subjects but the ones that draw me back repeatedly have a connection to nature and the forces challenging it - especially climate change. I live in New Mexico, a living tableau of upheaval in its volcano-derived geology, frequent massive wildfires, and increasing drought. Here the land is constantly recovering and adapting. Some of my photography projects are meant to draw attention to the likely future of natural landscapes in increasingly inhospitable environments; others are meant to celebrate Nature’s ephemeral beauty. 


Fire Ghosts

George F. Thompson Publishing, 2019

In 2011, The Las Conchas wildfire consumed 150,000 acres of forest in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. At the time, it was the state’s largest wildfire fire on record. My husband, Philip Metcalf (1942 - 2019), and I photographed the aftermath of the fire for several seasons and in 2019, published Fire Ghosts, a photography book about the destruction and regrowth of the forest and the implications for forests in the future. The book includes an introduction by Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography at the New Mexico Museum of Art and essays by environmental author William de Buys, and forest ecologist Craig D. Allen.

“...the book speaks to a long, uncertain process of change that may or may not be healing. Fire Ghosts is a gripping poster for the Pyrocene.”

—Stephen J. Pyne, author of Between Two Fires; A Fire History of Contemporary America


Juniper Futures

One-seed juniper trees, Juniperus monosperma, have covered much of the American southwest for thousands of years. They are so common we barely notice them except in their abundance. Ecologists now think that prolonged drought and rising temperatures could be a fatal combination for junipers at the driest edges of their distribution, where their natural responses to heat and drought could kill them. 

As an artist-in-residence at Bandelier National Monument in 2015, I was inspired by the possible mortality of junipers to photograph individual trees as if they were ancestors whose portraits would be consulted after the species disappeared.



Selected Exhibits

Fire Ghosts, Philip Metcalf and Patricia Galagan, photo-eye gallery, Santa Fe, NM, 2019

Santa Fe Workshops, group show, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba, 2017

Woman, group show, Edition One Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, 2016

Fire Season, group show, New Mexico Museum of Art, 2015

Three Visions of the Landscape, three artists, Bandelier National Monument, NM, 2015

Objects of Desire, solo show, Fotographika Gallery, Gland, Switzerland, 2014

Objects of Desire, solo show, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR, 2014

The Green Fuse, solo show, photo-eye bookstore, Santa Fe, NM, 2013

InSight: Women’s Photography Exhibit, group shows, Expo New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 2012 and 2013

In the Mind’s Eye, group show, Albuquerque Photographers Gallery, Albuquerque, NM, 2011

Captivar La Luz, group show, Blue Star LAB Gallery, San Antonio, TX, 2010



Artist in residence, Bandelier National Monument, 2015

Accepted into the Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum, 2015

Winner, Spotlight Award, Black & White magazine Portfolio Contest, 2015

Winner of Photolucida's Critical Mass Solo Exhibition Award, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR, 2013

Grand Prize, Santa Fe Photography Workshops Portrait Competition, 2012

Winner, Best in Show and Best Portrait, Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show, Albuquerque, NM, 2012