A Healing Journey: the Story of Gage Salyards

By KBJR News 1

January 26, 2013 Updated Jan 27, 2013 at 9:28 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -What started as a hobby for fine–art and landscape photographer Gage Salyards developed into a lifelong passion for capturing nature's beauty. It's a passion Salyards says has no schedule.

"[I like to] get on the road and see what I come across, see what I find and explore. That's where I get the most satisfaction, and generally, that's when I get my favorite images," said Salyards as he sat on his couch at his Island Lake home. Photos he had taken from throughout the years hung on almost every wall.

Salyards has already gained a reputation around the Northland, with companies like Enbridge Energy featuring his rich–toned, canvas printed photos throughout their new West Duluth location.

"It's not like you go down to the tourist shop and you get a picture of the bridge. You get something like this, which I think everyone has really enjoyed," said Enbridge employee and Marshall High School friend Megan Morton.

Salyards says he finds solace in the healing qualities of his work, which often keeps him isolated from the general public.

"Most people don't have the opportunity to be so isolated. That's why people go on vacation—to get away from everyone," said Salyards.

But then came the discovery 3 ½ months ago of a lump in his neck. The diagnosis: thyroid cancer.

"The good news was the doctors told me it was the best type of cancer to get—what a strange thing to say or hear," said Salyards, laughing. While it didn't hurt to talk, the recent surgery he had undergone had weakened his voice to nothing more than a steady whisper. He added he's looking forward to that subsiding.

And along with the diagnosis came the realization that Salyards isn't nearly as isolated as he thought. Medical costs have drained him of funds he had saved for a once–in–a–lifetime opportunity to study overseas under a photographer who Salyards calls profoundly inspirational, and since his surgery, people have helped raise over $6,000 to put toward his journey.

The hope, say donators, is that they can bring this artist's dream to life the same way he's brought the Northland to life in his work—that is, as long as he doesn't find New Zealand too appealing.

"He's taking pictures for my wedding in September, so he's not allowed to leave for too long," said MOrton, laughing.

And as ever–grateful as he is for the support, for now, Salyards says he's just hopeful for the latest round of tests to come back clean.

If you'd like to see more of Salyard's work, or if you'd like to contribute to his $10,000 goal, check THIS LINK OUT

THIS LINKT features Salyard's work.

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness