Photo by Willy Conley

Born profoundly deaf, freelance writer, photographer and theater/film artist Willy Conley is ceaselessly in search of ways to enrich and uplift the deaf — and human — experience. He recently shared with Images Arizona a collection of his photographs that he refers to as “watergraphs.”

“Although not a native of Arizona, I am a lover of all aspects of the Southwest,” says Conley, a retired professor/chair of theater at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. “These images are from my periodic visits to the state over a span of 22 years, beginning in 1997.

“‘Watergraph’ is a term I invented that came from taking photographs of water reflections that have been turned upside-down. Depending on environmental factors like the wind, debris in the water and the color of the sky, each inverted reflection creates a painting in its own right, bordered by whatever is surrounding the water.

“Just as an artist chooses a type of frame and size to present a piece of art, these natural mirrors have their own self-contained frames in which they present themselves in the landscape. All reflections are recorded as is, without any double exposures or extreme image manipulation. This has been a part of my serendipitous quest around the world for water reflections that range from little puddles to large bodies of water.”

Have a snapshot of Arizona life? Submit your photos to or tag #imagesaz on Instagram for possible publication in an upcoming issue.