VERNON, CT – From a small camera to modeling, to JC Penney’s sessions from biscuits, to her own photo studio in a historic building in Vernon, Paula Beverage is in a happy place professionally.
“I love it. I’m very happy here,” Beverage said Tuesday as city and state officials commemorated the opening of their Luz studio in the historic Fitch Block on Union Street. “I’ve driven past this place a thousand times. I’ve always wanted to be here.”
And it has – since May 1st. The 2,200-square-meter room has high ceilings, exposed bricks, and natural light. Add in a few details that Beverage used – couches, a magnetic board that will accommodate just about any setting, and a tub (yes, there is an old-style claw-foot tub) – and a photo studio was born.
Two large mastiffs add to the character of the place and greet visitors and customers.
Beverage said she has loved photography since she was 14 when her father gave her a little point-and-shoot digital camera that he claimed was broken. It turned out that the camera only needed a new set of batteries.
“After using that little camera for a good six months, my mom enrolled me in photography classes that summer, and that’s when I got my first digital SLR,” said Beverage. “Needless to say, I’ve never stopped taking pictures since then.”
Beverage said she had experience with a camera on the other end of the lens – as a model. She then tried to make the photos more detailed and secured a job in the studio at a Miami JC Penney.
“I was addicted,” she said.
She photographs clients from newborns to weddings to dinners. The name Luz Photography comes from the person who inspired Beverage to start their own studio – Luz Velazquez.
A visitor congratulated Beverage on Tuesday with a picture of the bride and groom. She then joked about her ability to improvise.
“I was propped up against a car in a parking lot (the picture had trees as a background),” she said. “We didn’t get to the original location, so we were creative.”
The Fitch Block dates back to 1889 and has recovered remarkably from a fire last winter. However, the commercial aspect of the building in the basement was not compromised.
After Tuesday’s ceremonies, Beverage looked out her front window where she can see Fox Hill Tower in Henry Park.
“Great place for photos,” she said. “Yes. I am happy here.”
See more about the studio here.