Photo of Elizabeth by Beth Riley
Elizabeth started her study of photography in high school with her first class in black and white photography and darkroom in 1988. She always loved working with people and thought she would eventually go into child psychology. But after starting college in Austin, TX, she decided to pursue photography so that she could combine working with people and her need for a creative outlet. While in college, Elizabeth founded "The Children's Vision" in coordination with Austin Area Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation. The program used photography and journal writing to help children and their families cope with life challenging illnesses by guiding them through various feelings while encouraging them to express their hopes, wishes, fears, and anger. The children were given a special journal and Polaroid camera. Volunteers worked one on one with these young cancer patients, photographing them in black and white to document their challenges. Elizabeth held a position as Director of this program for four years, raising funds, obtaining grants, training volunteers and preparing exhibitions of photographs and journals to inform the public. She also volunteered her time during the four years to work with the children that went through the program.

In 1995 Elizabeth decided to pursue her photography further by starting her own company, Elizabeth Galecke Photography. She was ready for an adventure to a new place, so did some research, and found Raleigh, NC the place where she felt she would like to live and start this new business. Elizabeth chose to specialize in a unique style of candid portraiture. She uses black and white film to portray her subjects who vary from children to brides to pregnant women and everyone else in between.

A current endeavor Elizabeth is working on with clients is called “A Day in the Life.” She will spend the entire day documenting a family from the time they wake until they go to sleep at night. She captures moments that truly express the people she is photographing. This can be done at home or on a special vacation. The photographs are either enlarged and hung gallery style in the client’s home or carefully edited and bound in a book to be treasured for generations.

One of Elizabeth’s largest commitments is giving back to the community that has helped her business become successful. She has always felt close to childhood causes as well as charities for women and life-threatening illness. Over the years she has become involved in many different charities both as volunteer and donor.

For 9 years Elizabeth has served on the planning committee for “Picture This,” a photography exhibit and fundraiser for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina. Each year she donates a session for the silent auction as well as participates in the photography exhibit. Elizabeth has also donated her images of children for use on the Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina’s invitations, newsletters, and annual reports.

In 2001 Elizabeth decided she wanted to host her own fundraiser that would benefit a charity she felt close to but also help out her peers who were artists in the community. She named her event “ A Day With the Arts” and chose Make A Wish North Carolina to benefit from the first fundraiser. The all day event held at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh and started with an art show and sale that showcased 30 North Carolina artists. After the art sale the space was transformed into an evening party where local musicians played for guests and hors d’oeuvres were served that had been donated from local restaurants. From there the night then changed again to a dance party with local djs. An impressive raffle was also held where items were raffled individually throughout the evening that had been donated from local businesses. $7000.00 was raised for Make A Wish through the event. Another way that Elizabeth has volunteered for Make A Wish has been through photographing children who are going through their program. She has even photographed two of the children during their wish.

The Second “Day with the Arts” was held in 2003 and benefited the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Eastern North Carolina. $5500.00 was raised for the charity.

In addition to her work with local non-profits, Elizabeth has made efforts to support small women-owned businesses in the Triangle. She founded a group called Chix in Business in 1999. The goal is to help women grow stronger businesses, build friendships among peers in the small business network, and give back to the community through charity events. A Chix in Business website connects the businesswomen to each other and the public. Monthly business presentations, a group email system, and special events, both social and philantropic ,help with education and networking while presenting opportunities to give back to the community. In 2006 the group was formally incorporated as a not-for-profit and Elizabeth elected President of the 18 member Board.

Future goals for Elizabeth include finding an organization to host a program similar to the one she started in Austin working with children with life-threatening illness. She would like to be able to work on a referral program through local hospitals and have the means to photograph the children, exhibit the work to raise funds for research, as well as provide families with images to keep. She also daydreams about having a small eco-friendly inn in the mountains or somewhere in Canada or Europe where she can garden, cook and entertain as well as provide a wonderful retreat for people to get away.