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Hazen Journeys from Cookie Dough to Image Flow

Longtime pastry chef is turning a hobby into burgeoning second profession with a current exhibit at City Hall and another in March at Miller Ave. photography hub.

Blithedale Canyon resident Barbara Hazen picked up photography in 2002.

Though she had a passion for it, camera-wielding often took a back seat over the next decade as Hazen, a former pastry chef at Postrio who trained at the California Culinary Academy, raised three kids and tried to launch her own retail business. In early 2008, she launched Sables Gourmet Cookie Dough, selling high-quality pre-packaged cookie dough in dozens of stores like Whole Foods and Mollie Stone's.

Hazen, 54, closed Sables in 2010 and found herself immediately drawn back to photography.

"I was really longing to get back into it," she says.

In an effort to push herself to take photography more seriously, Hazen entered the 2010 Click Off, the Art Commission-sponsored photo competition. She garnered the top prize in the Dark Side of Mill Valley category and, perhaps even more importantly, connected with Stuart Schartz at the , the that specializes in helping budding photographers create exhibit-quality prints and mastering digital photography tools.

"They've given me advice all the way along," Hazen says.

In early 2011, Hazen spent time along upper Grant Avenue in San Franciosco's North Beach, particularly around Caffé Trieste, the longtime gathering spot for artists, poets, musicians and Beat Generation aficionados.

"The intent here was to capture a glimpse of some of the current residents, café goers, artists, artisans, transients, tourists, shop and gallery owners along Grant Avenue," Hazen says.

The resulting collection of photos is on display through Jan. 31 at and was part of the earlier this month.

In April, Hazen will have a very different type of work on display at the . Dubbed "Time Piece," the photos explore Hazen's collection of old watch parts.

"Breaking out of the assumption that this was all these items had to offer in terms of photography, I began to play with various methods of motion, light and various water effects," Hazen says. "This freedom to literally play with these discarded watch parts gave them new meaning and intriguing beauty that one would not normally associate with these inanimate objects."

The 411: Barbara Hazen's "Grant Street" exhibit is in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 26 Corte Madera Ave., through Jan. 31. "Time Piece" opens in April at Image Flow, 401 Miller Ave.

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