Doctor finds inspiration from far-away lands

Dr. Charles Gillespie not only finds joy in helping his patients heal. He also adores photography, and has been practicing his art since he was in high school.

Dr. Charles Gillespie not only finds joy in helping his patients heal. He also adores photography, and has been practicing his art since he was in high school.

ALBANY — While trying to preserve the history of Southwest Georgia’s health care industry, Dr. Charles Gillespie has been engaged in something else close to his heart.



One of the pieces Dr. Charles Gillespie submitted for the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit is a photo of Yosemite National Park.

Gillespie was one of several physicians that submitted his works to the Albany Museum of Art through the ongoing “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit.

In order to develop his craft, Gillespie has traveled throughout the country as well as to places such as New Zealand, Egypt, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and France. He has more than a dozen hard drives full of photos he taken over the years.

Even though he was instrumental in the establishment of the EMS program in Georgia, photography is how some people know him best — and he has the portfolios and awards to back it up.

Among all the photos he has taken, there were a few that stood out to him. In all, he submitted three of his photos to the exhibit.

One was taken in Yosemite National Park, which displays a mountain view.

“That was one of the most beautiful scenes I had been hit with,” Gillespie said. “The first time I saw the view was in a training course. My wife and I, while we were in San Francisco, went to Yosemite in the winter.

“I made the same picture in the snow, then I put a slide show together showing a summer and winter view.”

Gillespie retired in 1998, and used the additional free time to mature his photography skills.

“It gives me a sense of satisfaction that I didn’t waste part of my life after retirement,” he said.

His interest in photography blossomed while he was in high school, when he was a member of his school’s annual staff. After getting his hands on his own camera for Christmas in 1950, he was asked to take a few photos.

The rest is history.

“I’ve always enjoyed the end product, as well as creating the product,” he said. “It’s been a pleasurable journey.

“Pretty much everything I look at is a photo.”

Indeed, he holds steadfast to the belief that a thousand pictures could come from a person’s backyard alone. He has been known for taking a camera with him wherever he goes, even stopping to get a photo of a cotton stalk.

“I don’t think people take the time to watch the flowers,” Gillespie said. “Go back and take a photo of the cotton stalk. If you don’t (take the time to notice it) the opportunity will pass you by.”

He still has some of the photos he took during his high school years, as well as the first camera he owned.

“It was a novelty I picked up and started expanding,” Gillespie said. “As I went along, I was able to purchase new equipment.”

Gillespie said, like many of the other physicians who have participated in it, that this exhibit will hopefully be able to shed a light on the area’s doctors that people don’t often see.

He’s hopeful for that, if for no other reason, so others can see what he has seen.

“The physicians in Albany are talented,” he said. “I know of several that should be out (promoting themselves).

“Really, I just thank the Lord I have an eye for (photography).”

The exhibit, open through Friday, is being sponsored through Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s centennial celebration.