You'll see signs of Betsy Allen all over the Schlow Centre Region Library. There's her portrait hanging on the wall, the gallery space bearing her name...
"It's just gigantic. If you go into the space and look up, you'll see my name all over the place," said Allen.
And for the month of February, you'll see dozens of pieces of her art work.
"I think it's wonderful. The library gallery space is visited by many people in the community. It's really sought after by artists, so it takes a long time to get something accepted for the gallery space," said Allen.
And she would know, because even though the library named the space after her as a retirement present to honor her 30+ years of service as the Library's Director, she had to wait a long time to be able to exhibit her work.
"I think I waited a year and a half," she said.
But she says it was worth the wait, and her photographs now line the walls of the gallery.
"I really enjoy this space," she said.
Her love of photography started many years ago as a hobby with her husband.
"But his photographs were in our house, and mine were never on the wall. His were all over the walls, he died about 8 years ago, and that plus the fact that my father had given me a digital camera with a zoom on it, really changed my life, because all of a sudden I realized I wasn't taking landscapes the way my husband had, but I had something to say with the photographs I was taking," said Allen.
She says she's inspired by textures, colors and all the tiny details many people don't see in the hustle and bustle of the world we live in.
"I think my skill is not really in my photography, it's in what I see. And then I take a picture of what I see," said Allen. "I'm a good observer."
And one that doesn't doctor her photographs. At most, she says she may crop a few images here or there, but otherwise, she doesn't digitally manipulate the image at all.
"Mostly, I just use my zoom and I just use my eye to look for things that are interesting and different," said Allen. "And when I realized I could zoom in on them and really get a lot of detail, I realized that I had something special."
And she's taken that talent all across the globe.
"I took that photograph in what had been a leper colony. Many of the buildings are now abandoned, and this cat, had managed to get inside the building and scratch the screen enough to get in the building, and was just sitting on the ledge, and I find that particularly fascinating," said Allen.
"This photograph here is of a barn wall on route 414. When I was driving by at one point, I saw, it was sort of shiny, and it seemed to have things all over it, so I stopped. I've learned to just use my intuition. If I think something is going to be interesting, then I'll stop and take pictures," said Allen. "I took a lot of photographs of this wall, which turned out to have roof shingles on it. It's a very interesting photograph and an extremely interesting wall."
An interesting photograph she hopes inspires the next generation of artists.
"Everybody has a creative streak. Everybody just needs to sort of stop and just enjoy what they see and try to capture it in whatever way they can, whether it's a drawing or a photograph, or whatever way they can, but those things are precious, and for me these are all memories of places I have been," she said.
As for her home, which once exclusively held the photographs of her late husband, well Allen says her photographs now proudly hang alongside them, and she adds, "I think he would be very proud of me."
Betsy's talent doesn't stop at photography. She also draws, paints, makes fabric collages and art quilts. She also paints silk scarves and makes origami boxes, so she is quite the talented and busy lady, but not to worry! She said she is enjoying every minute of her retirement.