The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Bonnie Davidson
The Courier 


Sean Heavey Opening Downtown Photo Gallery Friday


Bonnie Davidson / The Courier

This is just a small glimpse into the gallery that will be opening Friday, Feb. 13. Local photographer Sean Heavey will be opening the doors between the Loaded Toad and the Wheatgrass Arts & Gallery and allowing the public in to see some of his favorite works of art.

There's a few days to wait for the anticipated opening of Sean Heavey's photo gallery in downtown Glasgow. The opening has been months, one could even say years in the making. Heavey, a local photographer celebrity most known for the "Mothership," has kind of been working toward this in a quiet way.

The grand opening event will take place on Friday, Feb. 13. Local Outdoor Life Editor Andrew McKean will be there for a book signing, and the Wheatgrass Arts & Gallery will also be showcasing their artist of the month, Whitney Paju.

Paper has covered the windows for months, as he's spent time working on electrical, plumbing, painting and insulation issues. He's replaced furnaces and water heaters and put a lot of TLC into the building that had been left in disrepair. He bought the building about three years ago. Originally it was with the idea of setting up the yoga studio for his wife in the back. With the yoga studio a success, he continued to restore and repair the building.

"I've spent hundreds of hours and months on this building," Heavey said.

The Wheatgrass Arts & Gallery, and the children's consignment shop eventually located itself on the right side of the building, and the budding coffee shop, The Loaded Toad, sprang up around the same time. Both openings meant lots of time and work into repairs and upgrades for Heavy, who has done a lot of the work on his own. He said he also had a lot of work and repairs to do on the roof.

After tenants were happily placed into the building, it seemed the right time to focus on something he always kind of wanted, his own photo gallery. "I liked to do shows and I always wanted space to do that," Heavey said.

But he said the point isn't so much about showing off, it's about making the building something that the town could experience and enjoy. The idea is to hang out over a cup of copy, see local artist works on one side and enjoy Heavey's work as well.

When the opening happens, the doors will open, connecting the coffee shop and the galleries. He said that its going to create something in town that hasn't quite made it to Glasgow before.

Heavey wasn't always focused on photography, but his focus shift isn't quite surprising in regards to his background. He started interested in motion films. He grew up in the Seattle area and had a fascination with film. He ended up in Montana after looking at the college in Bozeman. At the time a perfect place to get away from home, hit the skiing slopes and work on a film degree.

He ended up working for a camera shop when they moved back to Seattle before he finished his film degree. The shop was into the digital age a little early. He played a little bit in a dark room, but really embraced Photoshop and the digital movement. He also worked with the college and was able to utilize weekend seminars and equipment during this time on digital photography, new software and other important bits of information that led him closer to a hobby that was growing into an idea of a some kind of career.

He ended up moving back to Bozeman to finish up his degree and found himself in Glasgow as they were coming to help fix up a rental house for his mother-in-law. Oddly enough, they still live in that house. He said he spent time working with Mattfeldt Electric to repair some of the electric work. He ended up finding work with the company that was growing at the time. That was about eight years ago.

While he's been working with an electrician, he's continued his photography on the side. He said that he really enjoys exploring landscapes and loves the Eastern Montana side of things, which isn't often portrayed in Montana photos, books and movies. He explained that the plains have kind of drawn him to pay more attention to the sky, and how the light reacts to the land.

He said one of his first times exploring the area was taking a trip up to Thoeny and around towards Opheim. He said that he took one of his favorite panoramic shots. A shot where the sky was the focus during sunset, where all the hues of purple and orange lit up the sky and the moon could be seen. He said it was about 30 shots stitched together.

"It was just an epic sky shot as the sun went down," Heavey said.

He said Glasgow and this side of the state has grown on him and he doesn't really plan on leaving. Although the travel bug does bite, he enjoys taking trips around the United States to visit various areas and said that the family was looking forward to a trip down to California this summer.

His time as a photographer is now more focused to just having fun and seeing photos that aren't always just that perfect epic shot. He said that now he focuses more on the emotion of a shot. Stating that sometimes those imperfect shots can gain more emotional responses.

"It's trying to get people to connect to it," Heavey said.

He spends time deciding on the best types of prints, and said that he also doesn't place glass over a lot of the photos he displays. He explained that the glass kind of separates the viewer from the photo and can sometimes create a glare or change the light.

For viewing of the completed gallery stop in at 529 2nd Ave. on Friday.


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