The blog of Michael McAleer Fine Art Photography

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Raising Ebenezer

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;

hither by thy help I’m come;

and I hope, by thy good pleasure,

safely to arrive at home.

Beginning sometime in late 2011, people began going to a portion of the beach in Galveston, Texas and building things.  They began building cairns, stacks of stones.  It is wonderful public art and an expression of creativity.  I mean if God gives you rocks you make cairns right?

Cairns themselves have a long history.  Stacks of stones to commemorate special events,  special places, to mark the burial ground of someone important, or to mark the way on the path date back to early man.  Cairn is a Celtic word but the object itself cuts across cultures and time.  People have been building memories and marking extraordinary places for a long time.

“Here I raise mine Ebenezer,” comes from an evangelical hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  The idea that the author expresses in the words comes from an Old Testament passage, I Samuel 7:12.  “Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.”  (From the translation, “The Message”)  Samuel built a cairn to remember God’s help.  When I was walking through the area looking at the cairns and photographing them, that song came to mind.

We all need places to remember, places to mark the way in our lives.  We even say I have reached “a milestone.”  People used to put down stacks of rocks to mark how far a mile was.  We remember the marks along the way and arrive safely home.  Besides that, God knows we all need a little help sometime.  Perhaps the simple act of stacking stones becomes a simple way of saying grace.

I have no idea about the motivation for the cairns that began appearing on the beach, but who cares really?  What matters is that people stop and take moments to stack stones and remember.  What are they remembering or forgetting?  Is their particular story under every rock?  I think it is.

What photography does is allow us to participate in their art. Then just for a moment we can write our own story about why those stones, that shape and form, become a memory and a help.  The blog posts in this series will remember what these creative people have built on a rocky stretch of beach.

I invite you to write your own story about one of the photos in the comment box below.

For more of my photographs see  You can purchase these and other pictures from my website.

Simple Perfection


Almost Monolithic


She Left Her Pearls


I Have My Chance Now

I have always wanted to be able to hang my photographic art in a really cool, really exciting gallery.  I have my chance now.  I have been asked to participate in the beautiful Village Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas.  The wonderful thing is that there are so many accomplished artists participating.  I feel very fortunate.

Now you might say, what is so great about a gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas?  I think there are a couple of things that might surprise you.  First, Fredericksburg is a great historical city that is gaining in popularity as a tourist destination.  With new art galleries, two WWII military museums and beautiful Hill Country scenery, it makes for an ideal destination.  Second, it is becoming a new art destination for Central Texas and for Texas in general.  You might think that all the galleries only feature Western art or Hill country scenes.  While there are beautiful examples of both, several new galleries, show very beautiful contemporary art from US and Mexican artists.

The Village Gallery and Working Artists’ Studio is owned and managed by Debbie Magee.  She and her family have a long history of supporting the arts and artists.  Debbie has her own art and studio in the gallery.  The Gallery is a co-op where each of us contributes time as a docent supporting one another.  The Gallery is located on the West end of Main Street at number 211 and occupies a beautiful historical building.

Some of the other gallery participants display beautiful works of art.   Karen Raidy has some absolutely lovely portraits in her portfolio.  It isn’t just that her art is photo realistic, it is magnificence.

Beth Hughes has her art right in front of the room I am in.  Her part of the hallway at the gallery is gorgeous.  She works mostly with oils and pastels.  Some of her work from Tuscany just makes you want to gaze and be there.

My wall at the gallery includes nine of my photographs.  I am the only photographer in the gallery and as several people mentioned during Art Walk, there doen’t seem to be very many photographers displaying at the moment in Fredericksburg galleries.  I tried to choose some of my most colorful and interesting pieces to display.  On my Home Page you can click on the slide show and see the works I have displayed.

Be watching for my next blog post : Raising Ebenezer: The Beach Cairns of Galveston, Texas.  Here is a preview:

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