Young photographer's work was 'evidence of goodness'

The Beach Gallery in Milford will hold an art event and fundraiser called “Evidence of Goodness,” on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 3 to 7 p.m. The work of young photographer Christopher Haley, who died unexpectedly due to an undiagnosed heart condition on Jan. 4, will be showcased and offered for sale.

Haley, 28, was a self-taught photographer who discovered his passion in the last years of his life. His work hung in the Beach Gallery on Broadway and was often recognized at the Firehouse Gallery, where he won two “People's Choice” awards.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to an aspiring young photographer chosen by Haley's family. The family hopes to find someone devoted to animals and to the sunrises of Long Island Sound, someone who will walk in “Christopher's shoes,” carrying on his legacy.

Beach Gallery owner Elizabeth B. Wright discovered Haley's talent when he walked into her gallery with his small digital camera and shyly asked if he could show her a few shots. Neither of them could have predicted how far and how quickly his journey as an art photographer would explode from there.

“Christopher didn't have a car, which helped him see the everyday things. The results were often called surreal and they were,” Wright said. “From kissing egrets to deer peeping out from tiny trees to rusting pipes and rotting pilings to spectacular sunrises over Charles Island - Christopher had a natural talent for recognizing and capturing the profound beauty of common and often unappreciated sights of life on Walnut Beach, Myrtle Beach and Silver Sands.”

Haley was often out and about at the crack of dawn, in the rain and on icy mornings; frequently coming home with drenched shoes and pants. He became known by locals as a regular at the Beach Gallery and at monthly art strolls where he was always eager to chat with prospective customers, art lovers and fellow artists about his work. Wright frequently left him in charge of the gallery and said he was beloved for his friendly, genuine nature and his generosity.

“If you were lucky enough to have met him, admired his work, and bought a photograph, Christopher was known to have added another photograph to the purchase for free, just because he saw you admire it and thought you should have it,” Wright said.

On the many nights Haley had trouble sleeping, he stepped outside his beach cottage with his camera. He witnessed and captured the few fleeting moments when surreal hues of pink, purple, orange, red and gold burst into the sky before the beginning of a new day.

“Chris once told me that moments like these made him believe in a higher power and gave him 'evidence of goodness' in the world,” said Nicole Haley, his sister and one of his biggest fans. “My brother savored these moments of grace to carry him through difficult times. I will always aspire to learn from and live my life in a way that honors his legacy of love, light, creativity and compassion.”

“Evidence of Goodness,” an art event and fundraiser celebrating Christopher's legacy, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 21, 3-7 p.m. at the Beach Gallery, 2 Broadway in Milford. This event will be the public's one chance to take home a Christopher Haley original photographic print, matted, or matted and framed.

The event will also feature music by Stephen Bennett and his harp guitar. For more information about the event, email beachgalleryct@yahoo.com.