When Life Goals Yield Big Visions: An Interview with Bev Hawley

For the most part, a bucket list contains straightforward personal goals. But for some people visions for something beyond themselves come out of a bucket list goal – like a vision for opening a gallery to showcase a bucket list project.

Bev Hawley, a professional children’s photographer in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, is such a person. Her Bucket List Gallery and Studio (The BL Gallery, for short) sprang from a bucket list project, called “Dogs Walk By.” Bev has been keeping and completing her list of life goals for years. I am excited to be able to share with you an interview with Bev. She’s adventurous, talented and inspiring.

Copyright Bev Hawley

Copyright Bev Hawley

You are pretty bold with your approach to bucket list goals. Not everyone will open a studio/gallery in order to accomplish a goal. How did you get to the place where you could do that? 

I think the boldness, if you want to call it that, has come from years of experience with this concept. When I wrote my first 25-30 items on a piece of paper it was more of a whim or just following something someone suggested. I spent very little time on it and very little thought. A speaker on Oprah said something to the effect of, “if you aren’t willing to commit your dreams to paper, why do you expect them to happen?” That made sense to me so I took a few minutes and jotted down a list and set it aside for several years only to discover the list with all of the things accomplished. Right then, I became a believer and have jotted down my hearts desire ever few years ever since. I don’t think it is a matter of boldness taking on some of these things it is rather just taking little baby steps that keep leading you along… I call it following your inspiration. The awesome part is how quite often it is strangers who come into your life totally out of the blue and help one accomplish their dreams, whether financially or just being the right person to take you to the next step.

Can you describe for readers your “Dogs Walk By” bucket list project? Why is that significant for you? How have people responded to Dogs Walk By?

Copyright Bev Hawley

Copyright Bev Hawley

My Dogs Walk By project I am currently working on came about because I longed to have a dog in my life and that wasn’t practical for my family. So I kept noticing other people walking their dogs and I found it very interesting how each owner and dog carried themselves so uniquely. I wanted to photograph the dogs without the person overpowering them, but still having the relationship there. I tried a few photographs but it felt a bit voyeuristic.  I needed a retail shop for credibility and a place with lots of dog owners who walked by.
Fast forward… I’ve been working on the project at my little leased studio/gallery for 6 months now and hope to have all of the images for phase one done by March 1. As I mentioned, the most amazing part of this project to me has been total strangers have volunteered an hour of their time and energy to help me accomplish my goal. I figured several of my friends would step forward and when I ran out of them I would be up a creek. But almost all of the people who have participated in this project so far have been total strangers who loved the idea and even though they didn’t at first know I could photograph anything…. because I had no work to show..they came anyway.  I love how this project has been evolving. I refuse to put it into an organized box and that has really given it wings. I’ll maybe be able to tell you what this is all about in a couple of years… it is truly a work in progress.

What other things are currently on your bucket list? 

Well, I keep that list close until it starts opening up and I need to make it public. I can easily get influenced  if others think the idea is trivial or stupid so that is why I keep my list under wraps.

Can you tell us about your favorite bucket list experience?

Oh my, that’s like asking me which of my children I love most. Each one has played an important role but let me just share a little of what I love about this current project. On my list alongside DWB was also: get out and be more a part of the community, have my white seamless background back in my life to photograph on, have a public window display to inspire others, have a little retail shop, photograph Santa illustrations again. Amazingly enough… all of these things are being accomplished in this little space in a community I had never set foot in, until this year. It would take too long to describe all of the little tiny steps and missteps that led me to this place. But it is following up on those little inklings that keep nudging at you and not outlining where they are taking you. You will be amazed at the ripple effect that starts coming into your experience.

Do you have any tips to offer to someone just starting out with keeping a written bucket list?

Allow yourself only about 30 minutes and jot down what is close to your heart. I wanted a few dollars in a savings account, a digital camera, two weeks alone, and to publish a book… you get the idea. Some felt very easy to do, while others looked magical. Make sure that the things on the list are measurable  and that you can accomplish them. I once wrote down…to love more… which was my heart but not easily measurable. So those type of goals are on another list for me. Don’t labor over your list…if it doesn’t come quickly to mind it shouldn’t be there. My bucket list isn’t a one time shot, it is something I work with when the thought comes to me…usually every couple of years. All of the things on my list are something I feel in my heart.

You can learn more about Bev Hawley on her website and on FaceBook (@theblgallery).

(Photos copyright Bev Hawley, used with permission).