April Customer Spotlight – Penny Polakoff

Welcome to our nineteenth Bergen County Camera Customer Spotlight. This monthly posting features a customer who’s made an impression on us. They might have grown in their understanding of photography, gained a mastery of the craft and / or have become a strong advocate of our way of doing business in the world of photography. During the next month you will see this customer’s images displayed on our digital signs in store, in our emails, blog posts and social media.  

Penny Polakoff is our customer spotlight for the month of April. We hope you both enjoy and are inspired by this new addition to In Focus and look forward to your comments and suggestions. Below you will find a word from Penny, followed by some of her images in the gallery below.

“I am a photographer living out my second act in Hackensack, New Jersey. Looking back, my love for photography actually started in college, I just did not know it at the time.


In 1975 I saved up to purchase my very first camera, a Canon AE1, so that I could shoot a particular home located on a hill near my dorm. I was intrigued by the intricacies of the architecture and the textured craftsmanship of this amazing structure that looked like a castle. And at just 18-years-old, I could not help but notice how various parts of the house danced to life at different times of day. The best part though was seeing how the details I captured would translate into the printed copies that I waited days for from the local camera shop. Oh, how times have changed!


After college, I spent more than two decades without a camera in hand. I was laser-focused on raising my family and teaching at the local high school. But in 2005, at age 48, with two grown children and no more daily commitments, I moved from the only place I ever called home, Jenkintown, PA (suburb of Philadelphia), and headed up north to start a fresh new life reclaiming my former passions and finding new ones.


After moving to North Jersey, my college roommate who grew up in Bergen County, NJ suggested I go check out this camera store called, Bergen County Camera. I remember walking into the store feeling a little intimidated, but I walked out smiling because I had purchased my first digital “point and shoot” camera, the Konica Dimage X350.


Monday through Friday, I work fulltime as a paralegal in a busy matrimonial law firm, and every other minute is spent capturing what gives me the warm and fuzzies. I am particularly drawn to landscape and architectural photography, with a special love for capturing first-light, where I get to immerse myself in the day yawning itself to life bringing with it an entire world of unknowns.  


Fourteen years and seven cameras later, I am now the proud owner of the Sony A7rii, and I look to capture magical moments in time that I can make my own. I play with shadows, depth, perspective, reflections, motion and leading lines. I edit my images to unleash the power and energy that flows through me and into each shot. I’m a photographer that loves creating a snapshot capable of telling a complete story. What the story unfolds to be is different for each viewer. My final images are meant to echo the state of my heart when shooting, and to elicit emotion and connection through my art. There is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than looking at this beautiful world of ours through the lens of a camera.


My knowledge and understanding of photography grew tremendously after moving to North Jersey, but I owe all of this to my friends at Bergen County Camera. Often over the last 14 years, I have walked into the store many times, just because I wanted more knowledge and I would leave ready to go practice what I learned. I also recall vividly on one occasion when I wanted to buy a better camera, but I was sent away and told to learn how to use the camera I had. I did not realize then that the advice I was given was so valuable, because it made me start to explore the vast internet and watch videos on end. I have visited other camera stores in New Jersey and New York, but there is truly no store quite like Bergen County Camera. It is a store where lifelong friendships are made.”

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