Grand County – a photograph around every corner
February 8, 2008
As interior designer Penny Spencer looked around Grand County for photo-friendly scenes to showcase around her new home, she was struck with so many possibilities.
Searching for art for her own home, she said, is what got her going as a professional photographer – and now the Grand Arts Council announces an artist reception tonight in tribute to her work.
“It’s the first opportunity I have had like this,” she said. “It’s exciting. As an emerging artist, I look forward to meeting people and getting feedback.”
Spencer and her husband had been coming to the Grand County area for more than 30 years, selling their publishing business and becoming part-time residents in 2004.
“Grand County is so beautiful, what a privilege to live here. There is so much to photograph,” she said. Even with a list of photos she would like to take, Spencer said a lot of times the shots just happen, when she happens to be “at the right place at the right time.”
She’s always loved the art of photography and specializes in both monochrome and color pictures, snapping them with her Canon SLR digital camera – a gift from her husband. The artist said she is “drawn to the intimate landscape” and is inspired by “just about everything in Grand County,” although she admits this can sometimes scatter her focus.
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Her photo exhibit will also include images from her travels, as well as portraits of people and pets.
“I believe I have always known I would love to pursue photography,” Spencer said. Her passion began as far back as high school.
“And since then I have always had a camera close at hand. I don’t go anywhere without it,” she said. “I believe this is something I have to do, like it’s just part of me to be a photographer, wherever it takes me.”
To anyone out there who is also interested in pursuing the field, Spencer admitted she’s not sure she’s qualified to give advice but that she was happy to share some things that have worked for her. She encourages photographers to “Play, experiment. See what works best for you – what’s your style, walk around a subject and ‘see’ how the light works, how it changes with the angles.”
Spencer also said instructional books and magazines on photography “have been a valuable asset” in her research, as well as attending art shows, visiting museum collections, and taking workshops and classes.
“Ask questions,” she said. “I have found photographers to be a great resource and they love to share.”
She hopes guests who come to the reception “see the hand of God (through her work), the beauty of His creation. I believe that’s what I am called to do … to communicate His gift to all of us. Even the simplest things have a story to tell. Take time to observe. How does it speak to your soul?”
Although she’s just starting out as a photographer, Spencer has several new pieces she’s already working on, as well as a Web site. She’s also looking forward to a “winter scenes” class with famous nature photographer John Fielder next month. Work she’s already developed may be viewed locally at the Grand Lake Art Gallery off the boardwalk.