Gray Wells Photography Featured at Sunset River -- Opening Reception July 9

Art photography by Gray Laughridge Wells will be featured at Sunset River Marketplace, the eclectic art gallery in Calabash, N.C. from Saturday, July 9 through Saturday, August 13. The collection of works titled Artfull Images consists of 20 photographs, many interpreting nature, particularly of the Brunswick Coast. An opening reception is being held at the gallery on July 9 from 2 to 5 p.m.

The North Carolina photographer says, “I was hooked on photography as a little girl sitting on my father's knee in front of his enlarger. Sitting in the dark seeing the image shine on the easel, dropping the paper into smelly chemicals and watching the photograph appear was sheer magic to me. Accompanying him on photo shoots from Appalachian mountaintop peaks to gleaming white beaches up and down the east coast are the wonderful memories of my very special childhood.”

Early in her career, Gray worked in the news industry. She spent 16 years with the New York Times-owned Star-News in Wilmington, N.C. Describing her experiences, she said, “I photographed wildfires, drownings and all manner of violence. Working in the news industry you learn to think fast, grabbing shots as they come at you. You learn to work in a myriad of circumstances when you're dealing with news issues, most you can't plan for. Photographing people dealing with life's toughest moments or life's greatest joys was always a learning experience – emotionally and artistically."

Throughout her career, the versatile shutterbug has also worked in architectural, food and fashion photography for various publications, including Wooden Boat magazine and Tasteful magazine in Wilmington, N.C.

Gray, who grew up in Marion, N.C., cites her father, an amateur photographer, as one of her major influences, along with the late Joe Nesbitt, who served as photo chief at the Star-News from 1958 to 1982.

In a telephone interview, Gray said, “Probably my favorite piece in this show is the school of minnows. My husband had taken our granddaughters out fishing and while I sat on the dock waiting for them to return, all these little minnows were just darting around like crazy.”

Wells adds, “Moving to the coast of Brunswick County in North Carolina in 2007 brought me back to enjoying the art of photography. Watching the tide come and go on the oyster beds or an incredible tie-dyed sunset over Shallotte Point are inspiration to me. The sights, sounds and smells of this special place has sparked a new interest in my work. My father taught me what to look for all those years ago and I've never stopped looking since.... “

Gallery owner and style consultant Ginny Lassiter said, “I was intrigued by Gray’s images as soon as I saw them and knew I wanted to build a show around her. Gray has a true photographer’s eye. She looks at the same objects we all do, yet she sees something completely different.”

Sunset River Marketplace is located at 10283 Beach Drive (Hwy. 179) in the historic fishing village of Calabash, N.C. just north of the state line. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information about the exhibition, art classes, onsite framing or any other gallery events, call 910-575-5999 or visit the website: The gallery’s Facebook page  also lists special events, new artists and other happenings.