We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony C. Gayles II and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tony C., how does your business help the community or world?
Initially, my business began as a way to share my photography with the world however, I have recently uncovered a much deeper meaning. Life in the 21st century is incredibly fast-paced and I’ve noticed that very few people have the opportunity to slow down and truly live in the present – even the children are bogged down with schedules that their parents can barely keep up with. I believe that there are countless activities available to us that grant us the ability to ground and center ourselves, but I firmly believe that nature has the ability to do this on a subconscious level – it can revitalize your soul without you even being aware of it. To answer your question, it is my belief that my business helps to remind people that nature is out there patiently waiting for us to return to it, she’s ready to breathe a new type of life into us and in order for that to happen we have to slow down and be present. In short, my business helps the world by [re]integrating nature into the human experience via photography.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I like to think of my art as an outlet for Mother Nature. I am simply the medium through which it passes. Getting to this stage in my profession was a bit challenging, but the lessons learned will accompany me for a lifetime. What I am excited about most is seeing my skill level evolve, I believe that there is always room for improvement so there is never really a limit to how far one can go. On the flip, one of the main challenges I have faced is learning to be confident in my craft without seeking external validation. This still comes up from time to time, but I am getting better at recognizing when it surfaces and reminding myself to stand in my truth regardless of what others think. Something I would like people to know about my story, is that finding your “calling” or “purpose” usually starts with finding yourself. There’s a lot of inner work involved but once you find your truth and make the conscious decision to stand in it, your world will completely change.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would without a doubt introduce them to the endless outdoor activities our beautiful state has to offer. First, I would take them up North and explore those areas. No desert trip is complete without hiking and stargazing, Flagstaff and Sedona are wonderful places to do this on top of being a great retreat from the heat. If time permitted, I would show them some of the gorgeous monument sites and state/regional parks: Monument Valley, Petrified Forest, and Watson lake just to name a few.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My first shoutout must go out to the Universe for supporting me unconditionally and always pointing me in the right direction. In addition to that, there are three women in my life who have shown an unlimited amount of spiritual and physical support throughout this journey to set a foundation for my business. Those women are: my Mother, my Grandmother, and my God Mother.