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Pam Pooley: A Visual Mind

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - When you see Pam Pooley’s exhibition of photographs at the Ruth Keeler Library , it is hard to believe that all the pictures were taken with her iPhone. “Almost every one is from my backyard in North Salem. The morning light… the end of day light… I use an app that changes the color of the lens but I never really believed in Photoshop, or even fancy cameras. I use different lenses to get the effect.”

Pooley has been photographing since her undergraduate days at Amherst. “I have a visual mind,” she explains. As a result, she started a career as a TV producer with Channel 13 shortly after graduation. Several years later she met her husband, Eric , when they were members of the same wedding party.

By 1995 they were raising a family and had moved to North Salem. “It was so beautiful here, I simply fell in love with gardening.” Seven years later they moved to London for three years, followed by another two years in Manhattan. “I stayed away from nature photography. I took urban photographs. But I missed North Salem. I was yearning to be outside.” They were finally able to move back in 2007. “When we came back, I wasn’t used to the quiet and it took a while to get adjusted.”

Along the way, Pooley took horticulture classes at the New York Botanical Gardens. Then she enrolled in a certificate program and became a full-fledged landscape designer. She discovered a great deal on her own, though, learning from her mistakes. “You see those gorgeous plants in the White Flower Farms catalog and then you find out they don’t work where you live. I learned a lot about different soil conditions just through experience.” She has her own business now: Meadoworks LLC .

She is also a volunteer at Four Winds, the psychiatric hospital in Cross River, helping patients and staff through various gardening projects. She continues to write professionally and was the driving force behind The North Salem Review , the literary and visual arts journal featuring work by local writers and artists.

Pooley’s photographs will be on display throughout December. Framed photos are selling for $90 each.

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