Expressions Community is a unique program recently launched by EXPRESSIONS Gallery. This group of like-minded photographers is participating in a year-long journey to enhance their photographic lives through intention and connection. The profiles below feature each participant’s creative journey.

Simple is Beautiful

By Lisa Allocca

My Ambition: I will create a collection that captures the essence of Cape Cod’s coastal serenity through a series of artistic, minimalist photographs. Each image will showcase the region’s natural beauty in a way that is both evocative and understated. By focusing on a single subject and employing impressionistic techniques, I aim to create a collection that speaks to the tranquility and simplicity of life by the sea.

The images will be shot in various towns along Cape Cod’s picturesque coastline, each offering its own unique perspective on the region’s charm. I will utilize subtle compositions to draw attention to the subject matter, while blurring the background elements to create a sense of depth and atmosphere.

Through these images, I aspire to transport viewers to coastal shores, inspiring them to seek their own moments of peace and simplicity of nature.

Personal Meaning: Five years ago, a new chapter unfolded as we relocated to Cape Cod, embarking on a path to simplify our lives, bringing more balance, freedom, and joy to our everyday activities. We rediscovered the joys of adventuring in nature, reclaiming a passion that had been dormant during the years dedicated to raising a family and nurturing a business. Simultaneously, I picked up a camera for the first time and realized the power of capturing the essence of our adventures and sharing them with others.  

Instagram: @LisaAlloccaphotosFacebook: Lisa V. Allocca

When the Ocean Calls Me Home

By Michelle Aronson

My Ambition: My project will culminate in a collection of images that will be made in various coastal areas I will be visiting throughout the year.  Whenever I am present where the land and ocean meet – be it a sandy, calm beach at low tide or a wild, rocky shoreline with thunderous crashing waves – I feel a deep sense of contentment, belonging, and gratitude. It is from this place that I will allow myself to be guided by the ocean and surrounding landscape, in the making of my imagery.
Although the ocean will be at the heart of my process, each resulting image may or may not include the ocean itself, but rather elements of the coastal landscape I am called to connect with.  My resulting body of work will represent the diversity of the coastal landscape from land, sea, and sky.

Personal Meaning: My very first memories are of living in Hawaii and joyful time spent exploring tidal pools at a nearby bay.  During my later childhood and teenage years, my family resided on a tiny, remote island where daily life revolved around activities in our sheltered lagoon.  Although I have lived my entire adulthood in Minnesota, trading freshwater lakes for the sea – it is still the salty air, sand, and waves of the ocean, that I feel the strongest connection to.  I treasure opportunities to be along the coast, whether it is a place of comfortable familiarity, or a new and exciting location to explore.  A note of personal significance is that my dear mom passed away two years ago.  It is since that time that I have been making more meaningful imagery of the strong connection I feel with the ocean – a connection I think of as a special gift that has been passed from her soul to mine.

Instagram: @mraronson

Feathers, Flow and Flight: Portraits of Avian Grace

By Michael Bennick

My Ambition: I aspire to collect a series of images that will express my love for, and fascination with, birds. It is my hope that each image will contain elements that will illuminate this powerful attraction and tell a subtly different story.

Personal Meaning: With each passing season I have increasingly challenged myself to be present in the moment. As a member of the Expressions Community, I strive to “arrive empty of expectations and leave filled with gratitude”. Several years ago, after a trip to the Serengeti in search of the “Big 5”, I unexpectedly found myself profoundly captivated by the beauty and artistry of birds. Their unique ability to become one with air, water, and land, coupled with the infinite variety of shapes, colors and textures they create, left me in awe. Sometimes speechless!

Instagram: @bennickmichaelFacebook: Michael Bennick

The Journey of a Wave

By Kelly Burneson

My Ambition: I will be capturing and creating imagery that focuses on the many phases of a wave’s journey to shore. These images may consist of the ripples that generate the birth of a wave, its growth and development, the fleeting moment it proudly displays its crest, its inevitable transition to a graceful crash ashore, and the recession back to its new beginning.
I will be capturing specific moments that display Nature’s energy in motion.

Personal Meaning: Cape Cod is embedded in my soul. I have fond memories of spending my summers with my grandparents, cousins, and brothers in Wellfleet. Sneaking into the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater to see Jaws, hours playing on Marconi Beach, Grandpa sailing his sunfish on Gull Pond, and long walks at low tide on the flats to reach the target ship in the far distance. As an adult, my connection with the coast runs deeper both emotionally and spiritually. Having the ability to be in the water all year long with my camera in hand has a profound effect, proving clarity, reducing stress, soothing the mind, and providing a greater sense of calm in my life.

Instagram: @kburnesonphotographyWebsite: www.kellyburneson.comFacebook: Kelly Burneson Photography


By Nora Donoher

My Ambition: To create images of what it is like to experience Untermyer Gardens. The vision is to capture big and small views of this special oasis in one of the largest cities in NYS. My vision of Untermyer as a beautiful oasis in the middle of an urban environment. As opposed to the wedding and marketing photos of it, my photos will reflect my experiences. From the look and smell of its wide variety of flowers, trees, reflecting and cascading pools, the Hudson River, I intend to show it is a place of reflection and peace. Since the Gardens are under renovation, it is also a perfect time to photograph the transformation of Untermyer, or perhaps the restoration of this beautiful place.

Personal Meaning: Untermyer Garden gives the Yonkers community and the healthcare workers who work next to it a respite from urban city life with its beauty and peaceful surroundings. Untermyer served as a respite for healthcare workers during the height of COVID in Spring 2020, and remains that to today. My focus is to share photographs of this healing place that will bring the viewer to a place of beauty and calm.

Instagram: @ndonoherFacebook: Nora Donoher

Water and Flower Composites

By Reenie Murphy

My Ambition: During the next several months, I will focus on a new idea combining images of my two great loves: the ocean and the garden. I envision the photographic style of water and flowers staying the same as the many already in my collection but starting to look for ways to see how they fit together. My expectation is that either the flower or the water will be more recognizable or highlighted in an image, but the reason for them being together or their relationship (patterns, color, energy, etc.) will also be evident.

Personal Meaning: Both the ocean and the garden are places that feed my spiritual soul. Interestingly, both photography and gardening are later in life hobbies that have expanded over the past decade and bring me inner peace and great joy. It is important to me that the images of both water and flowers are “in my backyard” and I don’t have to travel long distances to find them; whether I am on Cape Cod or my soon to be new home on the east coast of Florida.

Instagram: @reenie.murphy

Reflection on my History with Nauset Beach

By Rick O'Connor

My Ambition: To develop a collection of images of Nauset Beach that captures the beauty, emotion, power and tranquility of this special place for me. To offer images that convey the interaction of, and my immersion in, the elements. To find a way to express how the beach has changed over the years…just as I have.

Personal Meaning: As a young boy, I would spend hours in the surf, surrendering to the rhythm of the tide — sometimes body-surfing, more often just floating along, half in and half out of the water, observing the sea at eye level. I found myself (and do still) immersed in the energizing yet calming sounds of the surf: the crashing and rolling of the waves…their ebb and flow amid the sand and shells. This is also a place where I’ve spent endless hours with family — seeing them from the water, lying on the beach, enjoying great seafood. I have passed the love of Nauset Beach to my children. And now, as I age, I come here for its uniquely, personally restorative powers. On the beach and, especially, in the water, this place is where the sands of time are suspended, and where my worries wash away.

Instagram: @cacoma_rocWebsite:

Beyond the Fence: Boundaries and Connection
in Challenging Times

By Emory Petrack

My Ambition: I will create a collection of images that explore the convergence of seemingly contradictory ideas of separation and connection, using the symbolic imagery of fences. These images will be taken from multiple locations and from differing perspectives. My goal is to be creative with these images, capturing ways in which a fence might portray a barrier, a connection, or a combination of both.

Personal Meaning: I want to expand my creative relationship with photography beyond landscapes. While fences are generally thought of as barriers, I want to move beyond this notion and explore both sides of a fence. I want to expand the concept of a fence separating 2 areas, into one in which there can be simultaneous separation and joining. I will consider how my images can portray the need for separation and individualization while also appreciating the need for community and connection.

Instagram: @emorypetrackWebsite:

Coastal Expressions Reimagined

By Erica Sloan

My Ambition: I will create a collection of composited images that combine various elements of sand, sky and water. The collection will blend moments of ethereal motion and fixed stillness to express multiple feelings that can’t otherwise be reflected in a single moment. My goal is for viewers to have to think about why these images look different. I intend some of the images to be accepted as a single image to the untrained eye, where others will obviously have been created through an artistic combination of multiple images.

Personal Meaning: My passion for photography stems from sharing a beautiful moment in time while holding the feelings that moment evokes. Photography has helped me immensely in processing and expressing my emotions. I want these images to do the same for viewers in both feeling and escaping. Water especially has always been a grounding, peaceful force in my life. I love the quiet power of the ocean, the changing choreography of every wave and the sense of limitless freedom water provides. I want my images to express all of these aspects to varying degrees. 

Instagram: @ericajoy.photographyWebsite: www.ericajoyphotography.comFacebook: Erica Joy Photography

Travel: Beyond the Iconic Image

By Michelle Starks

My Ambition: Over the next 12 months, I plan to create a collection of images that will express my love of travel throughout the US and the world. Each image created will attempt to let the viewer experience the beauty and wonder of the location just as I experienced it. A written statement expressing what makes each image special to me will accompany the collection.

Personal Meaning: In the early 1970s when Star Trek was the show my family watched on our one television every night, I caught the travel bug. Although my brother’s room was basically to be off limits to me, I liked playing with the globe that was on my brother’s desk in his room. I liked spinning the globe and watching the brightly colored countries whirl around before my eyes. I thought how exciting it would be to travel to a purple-colored country. However, it felt like an impossible dream. Anytime I asked my mom about travel, she discouraged it because from her perspective, just a few short years ago public transportation was segregated. And then there was the money. My father would tell me that I would need a really good job if I wanted to travel.
I am now at a point in my life where I can travel. And almost every time I get on a plane, I remember spinning that globe and how far I have come.

Instagram: @beyond_travel_photographyWebsite: