Artist Penny Stowe has been growing in her love of photography since her retirement in 2010 from 30 years of lab work.
Her artwork has been recognized on several occasions, although to her it has “all just been kind of a fluke.”
“I’m just sitting here at home minding my own business and all these great things happen,” the 62-year-old Pendergrass woman said as she spoke about her artwork and the various places it is displayed. “It’s just my hobby and my passion.”
Four of Stowe’s photographs were recently selected for the Gainesville Bus Shelter Art Project, which is the installation of 15 pieces of art on bus shelters in the community by the city of Gainesville and Vision 2030 of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce with help from the Quinlan Visual Arts Center.
“Art was selected in order to introduce artistic works which build on the Gainesville Connection brand of connecting people to family, friends, recreation, business, government, education, retail, nonprofits and places of importance,” according to a Quinlan news release. “Thematically and visually, works are focused on the connectivity of people to the community.”
Stowe recalled her interest in photography began when she started taking photographs with her Polaroid camera as a teenager.
“I run across old photos that I have from when I would set up a little nature scene and take a horrible photograph with a polaroid,” she said.
Nature has also been a constant in Stowe’s life.
“I’ve always been interested in science,” she said. “I have a bachelor’s degree in biology.”
Therefore, she has been drawn to photography and science throughout her career and life.
“When I was working, I worked at a lab and I looked at microorganisms under the microscope,” Stowe said. “I got a camera and a microscope adapter, so I was taking photos even of that kind of thing ... I like it when I can combine things like that.”
Now, she focuses more on photographs of nature, which is an added bonus for woman who became a Hall County Master Gardener when she retired.
“That just opened up a whole new world for me because I learned about native plants, which I had never even thought about before,” she said. “I learned about native plants and the benefits and the wildlife they attract, which is what I like to photograph. I combined my love of photography and science and insects and nature.”
At the moment, Stowe is just ecstatic her photographs were chosen for the art project. She said her plan is to “spread the word and teach other people about the benefits of native plants.”