Charles Gattis’ love for photography began at the age of 12, when his father, realizing his son’s fascination with pictures, gave him a set of old dark room equipment and converted a downstairs bathroom for his use. The process of taking pictures and developing them yourself fascinated the young boy. A year later, a friend of his father, who owned a camera store and studio, invited Charles to come to work for him. On Saturdays and after school, he would mind the camera shop, help set up equipment in the studio, and work in the darkroom–his greatest thrill.
This early job ended when the family moved the following year to Jacksonville, Florida. There his family joined a downtown church pastored by a minister who was an avid photographer. Knowing that Charles had an interest in photography as well as a calling to the ministry, this pastor quickly took him under his wing, gave him his first camera with manual adjustments, and mentored him in the art of taking pictures.
After this time, the interest in photography grew dormant due to the demands of school, vocation and family. For a while, he mostly took snapshots of family or tried to capture images of sites seen on vacation. In 2003, this love for photography moved once again to the forefront as Charles was appointed Sr. Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville, a church with a contemporary service that used videos and still images in the worship service. Here he became aware that a fairly new software program called Photoshop gave him the same opportunities for post processing images that he once had in the darkroom, but without the need for expensive equipment and additional space in the home. Not one for playing golf, hunting, or fishing, photography became his primary interest outside of work and family, as well as a source for many new friendships.
By 2007, he was already taking on-line classes and attending workshops to develop and hone the skills needed to become an accomplished photographer. He joined the Huntsville Photographic Society in that year, though found he did not have time to participate until his retirement in 2012. On-line he studied photography through the Bryan Peterson School of Photography and lynda.com. He also attended weekend workshops taught by the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. In 2012, he attended a weeklong workshop in Zion National Park, taught by Tim Cooper, a professional photographer who graduated from that school. Since that time, he has studied under Rick Sammon, Mike Moats, Bill Fortney, and Jack Graham in similar workshop experiences.
After his retirement in 2012, he became more involved in the Huntsville Photographic Society, served for 2 years as the Primary Competition Chairman and now as president. He has recently achieved the level of “Silver Fellow” in HPS. In 2013, he joined the Photographic Society of America and for several years facilitated an on-line Macro study group for PSA. He was juried into the Huntsville Art League in 2012 and exhibits in their gallery at Lowe Mill.