ADA – East Central University faculty member Linda Schaefer’s passion for photography will be on display Friday through Monday (Aug. 2-5) at the JRB Art at the Elms Gallery, located at 2810 N. Walker, in Oklahoma City.
“I find beauty wherever I point a camera,” said Schaefer, whose exhibit is entitled “Sacred Places” and will be a part of Paseo’s First Friday Gallery Walk.
Exhibition times are from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day.
Through Schaefer’s work, viewers are able appreciate the special places she has roamed among various countries including Veranasi, the most ancient city in India; the Tiber River, located in Rome; and the Ponte Sant’Angelo Bridge in Italy along with other scenic places in Mexico and Ireland.
“Sacred places are important for the soul because they help quench our thirst for intimate connection to life’s purpose,” Schaefer said.
She is a photographer and writer by trade, but an artist by intuition as her work has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Parade Magazine, Paris Match, GQ, The Los Angeles Times, and Stern to name a few.
Schaefer began her career as a journalist for Cable News Network (CNN) in 1985, but found that she couldn’t lose her first love – still photography and multi-media documentary work. While serving as a freelancer for the Associated Press she decided this would be her full-time occupation.
This passion, along with the fact that she lived in Brazil during her childhood, led to Schaefer to explore and photograph the Amazon. She hitchhiked with another female journalist on the back of sugarcane trucks and after two days, they found themselves at the entrance of an India village. They were given permission to document the indigenous tribe known as the Xevante.
Back in Atlanta, Ga., Schaefer received grants to document “The Face of America” during the presidential campaign of 1988. Her work was exhibited at both the Democratic and Republican conventions and CNN featured her multi-media documentary.
She traveled to India with her first husband and, following his death in 1992, experienced a flowering of her spiritual life. It influenced her future work as a photojournalist.
In 1993, Schaefer traveled with a Christian medical relief team to Romania. After photographing events in the wake of the end of the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, she turned her attention to Croatia and war-torn Bosnia.
Back in the United States in June of 1995, Schaefer had her first contact with Mother Teresa, who visited Atlanta to open a new Aid’s Home. The encounter was so powerful that Schaefer accepted the great humanitarian’s invitation to go to India and spend six months there.
Schaefer had the rare opportunity to document the work of the Missionaries of Charity. Thousands of photographs later, select images of that experience were selected for inclusion in Come and See: A Photojournalist’s Journey into the World of Mother Teresa.
Schaefer completed a second book in 2012 that gives compelling accounts of Mother Teresa’s 50-year history as leader of the Missionaries of Charity.
She has also continued to explore her artistry in photography. In the past year, she has traveled to Italy, Ireland and England. She was magnetized by the beauty of Ireland and for the first time as a photographer, focused on landscape photography.
Schaefer resides in Ada with her son Paul and is faculty member in ECU’s Department of Mass Communication.