NEW PORT RICHEY — Paula Showen’s photography career started with a single-lens reflex camera, a roll of film and the birth of her daughter. Thirty years later, what started off as a hobby has blossomed into a full-time job for the New Port Richey photographer, the featured artist for October at the Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery.
Showen plans to offer gift certificates and mini portrait sessions at the gallery, a variation from the normal model of the gallery, to sell the art featured there.
“It’s something different than what the gallery typically does,” Showen said. “I’m a photographer instead of an artist, and instead of the gallery selling art pieces, they’ll be selling my services.”
Several of Showen’s pieces will be featured in the back room of the art gallery on Grand Boulevard. An opening night reception for the “Small World, Big Love “ exhibit is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 4.
The general public is invited to the reception, which in addition to featuring Showen’s photos, will display mixed media artwork and photography by local artists. All works are created around the theme of kids and animals. Each piece will in some way convey the endearing qualities of children and animals, and the love and close bonding that occur between people and their pets.
A special collection of works by the art students of Day Spring Academy Middle School will be included in the opening.
Showen’s contribution to the gallery this month is an exhibit featuring local children of various ages dressed in tutus, floppy hats, newsboy hats and lace-ruffled rompers. The photographer provides the clothing and accessories for children up to the age of 3 and does a variety of portrait work, all incorporating the latest trends in digital photography.
At her New Port Richey home, Showen has a special room dedicated to her studio. Backdrops and light kits await new clients and framed photos of past portraits line the walls. The systems analyst-turned photographer shoots everything from newborns and maternity photos to senior portraits and weddings, but prefers to work with children.
“When you specialize, in order to be really good, you have to know every detail of what you’re doing,” Showen said. “There are so many tricks to the trade with kids, and it’s the same with weddings or any other type of photography. I want to be really good at this.”
Showen is constantly updating her skills and knowledge of camera technology through photography classes. She likes the challenge of coming up with creative and innovative portraits. Instead of a paintbrush, she wields a Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III.
“I think that I’m a frustrated artist,” Showen said about her inability to paint or draw. “I’d like to be artistic but I’m not, so I do it through use of photography-painting with light. It’s not easy to just pick up a camera and start shooting. It’s more than that. It’s your lighting, your composition, rule of thirds.”
In addition to her business, Paula Showen Photography, Showen does volunteer portraits for the Heart Gallery, an organization that displays photos of adoptable children in galleries, and has participated on countless photo contests, though she doesn’t place much value on them these days, instead choosing to focus on capturing memories for families.
To preview Showen’s work, visit the Paula Showen Photography website, www.paulashowen.com. The Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery is at 6231 Grand Blvd. For more information about hours of operation and upcoming exhibits, call (727) 848-6500 or visit nprgallery.com.