Friday, March 25, 2011


Dave Phalen is an accomplished photographer, living in Columbus, Ohio. Since his story is from a long-ago memory, there aren’t any associated photos. Instead, we’ll intersperse some of his beautiful contemporary work throughout the text.

We all can probably remember a time when we've allowed others to make us feel small.  In "Hubris Descending," Dave shares an old memory that still evokes a twinge of pain.


I'd love to know what you think of the "Relentless Pursuit" series. Please leave a comment below or email me with your suggestions on what you'd like to see on this blog. If you have a story to post on this theme, contact me. And be sure to take a look at my photography site. I'd love to hear from you!

By the way, you may get a better view of the photos and the text if you enlarge your browser screen.


Michelle Alton


Several decades ago I was taking a Creative Arts Program photography course at Ohio State University. Some of the class members were all-star photographers, at least in their own minds and were very vocal in sharing their opinions with the class. Since that time I have known several professional and many outstanding amateur photographers and have come to realize that my classmates were nowhere as good as they thought. In fact they were, at best, average photographers.

My Town

I don’t remember the specific assignment but we were to go photograph some subject and bring our photos in to a future class. I was shooting an all manual Minolta SR101. In preparation for my shoot I loaded my camera with a fresh roll of Kodak film I then pulled the film lead over to the windup roll and hooked it to the cogged wheel, closed the camera back and cranked the lever to bring the film completely across the shutter, and went on my way merrily shooting until the film was completely exposed. I then rewound the film back into its canister and took it to be developed.

Texas 2008

Chilled Chihuly

On class night all I could think of was how the self-important, arrogant “expert” students in the class would view me as a complete incompetent. If I knew then what I know now I would have just dared them to say something disparaging about me. And they would have been made to look as small as they were!

If These Walls Could Talk

I caught up with the instructor before class-- a young professional photographer picking up some extra money by teaching this class, and told her of my mishap.  She didn’t say anything but when it came time to show our work she merely said “Dave doesn’t have anything tonight.”  And she gave  no explanation .  I’ve always been grateful to her for her kindness not to expose me to a humiliating critique by fellow classmates.

Not Today

November Afternoon

Sunday Morning

  All photographs by David Phalen

David Phalen BIO 2011

Retirement and digital technology have re-energized my lifelong interest in photography. Subjects that I find most appealing are buildings, windows, doors and bridges. I like to focus on a specifically unique detail of a structure. Flowers are also frequent subjects, sometimes en masse but often just a single bloom or petal. I try to find details such as an insect or dew drop to add interest or texture to my flower photographs.

My work has appeared at the Mac Worthington Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, the High Street gallery in Worthington, Ohio and in 2009 I had a solo show at Caterina’s in German Village. One of my pieces won Best in Category at the 2009 Downtown Digital Arts festival. Last year my image “My Town” was the winner in the Columbus Monthly photo contest.

On line my work can be seen at and in my gallery on



Joe DiGilio said...

Phil, your story is thought provoking and your photography top shelf. You sure have "the eye".

Joe DiGilio said...

Excuse me for calling you Phil Dave. Guess I had one of those moments we all joke about. DA!

LauraEm said...

I so much enjoyed your story, Dave. So many times in life I can recall the feeling of someone's mercy and kindness towards me when I had fallen short of the mark. The golden rule was exersized in class that night by your gracious teacher & this wonderful memory has stayed with you even until now! That's powerful and you've written your story so well. You're an amazing photographer, too. So, as it turned out your classmates sure had nothing on you! :) !


Dave said...

Many thanks to Joe and Laura for your kind comments. Muchly appreciated!!