If you’ve traversed Main Street in Placerville in the past five weeks, the photographs in the new Jim Powers Gallery have probably caught your eye. They caught the eyes of a group of photographers on Feb.27 who hustled into the gallery to inspect the brilliant details more closely.
Powers, 57, opened the gallery of his own photographs five weeks ago — the culmination of a dream. ” I haven’t done any advertising yet, only foot traffic, but I’ve sold quite a few prints already.”
One print of Emerald Bay at sunset was purchased by a couple who had been married there. “Emerald Bay was the first place I photographed, but this is only the second time in 12 years I was able to pull all the colors you see,” said Powers.
He grew up in El Dorado County and had a career in carpentry and construction until it was derailed by an accident on the job.”My first job at 17 was tearing down the Coronet Building and building the Black Oak Mall on Main Street,” said Powers.
Powers was also a sculptor who used a camera for taking photos of his sculptures. “I was using a friend’s camera, but it didn’t work, so I went out and bought my own digital camera for about $1,000.”
Thirteen years ag0, when Powers broke his arm in several places on a construction site and the resultant surgeries kept him out of work for three years, he began to use his camera to photograph nature.”I was praying for something to do while I was out of work and I was blessed with this.”
Powers quickly developed a passion for the art and began buying photographic magazines to teach himself how to compose shots.”It’s taken 12 years of dedication, determination and an absolute love of photography to get to this point where I have gallery quality work.”
Powers has progressed from the small camera he started with 12 years ago to his current Canon 5D MarkII which is designed for landscape photography. He prints his photographs on his own printer using premier luster paper. Doing the work himself has allowed him to focus on producing exactly the image he sees, with a faithfulness to color and clarity of detail.
It’s the level of detail and resolution Powers is able to pull out of his photographs that make the work gallery quality. Some of his landscapes are framed and some are infused onto specially coated aircraft aluminum which makes the colors brilliant and luminescent.
“The metal is specially polished for photography,” said Powers. “I asked if I could tour the facility where the photographs are done, but they refused. It’s a secret process.”
Powers uses the same framing company that framed Ansel Adams’ photographs so the frame work is quality. “But I don’t do black and white. I love color,” said Powers.
Another facet of Power’s gallery is gallery director, Margie Statterfield who will be managing the gallery when spring comes and Powers is off tracking down more photographic opportunities. “She used to manage a Thomas Kinkade gallery and she arranged all the photographs here,” said Powers. “I’ve got the best of two worlds with Ansel Adams’ framers and Thomas Kinkade’s gallery director. I’ve got a high-end gallery, but I’m able to keep the prices down.”
Whether the photograph is framed or on metal, all the pictures are vibrant, almost three-dimensional in effect. A framed sunset at Emerald Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge pulsing with light, an iron door in a Placerville downtown alley bursting with red, are some of Powers’ favorites, but he loves them all. He pointed out one shot of Glen Alpine Falls he is especially proud of. “It took me 10 years to get that shot. I went there 10 times a year trying for it. Finally, about six months ago, I got the shot I wanted.”
Jim Powers Gallery is located at 360 Main Street in Placerville. Winter hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. Contact them at 530 622-1797 or on Facebook.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.