If you see Lake Highlands resident Victoria Crook digging through garbage or picking up stuff off the side of the road, don’t think twice about it.

It means she’s working.

Crook is a still-life photographer and creates artistic images in her home studio out of things most of us would throw away, such as empty cigarette packs or old bricks.

“I never thought I had any talent before,” Crook says. “When I started doing this, the creativity started pouring out. It opened up a whole new way of living for me. I see things differently. I notice more things.”

In addition to things thrown out, Crook also creates still-lifes from flowers, vegetables and knick-knacks she has collected over the years.

Crook bought her first camera in 1986 on a whim. She had never photographed before and thought it would be fun. She took a class at Eastfield Community College, and the whim quickly turned into a passion.

“It’s just mesmerizing,” Crook says. “I know in my mind it’s science, but it seems like magic.”

For many years photography was a hobby, but now it’s a full-time job. She and her husband moved to New York for a few years, and when they moved back to Dallas, they built a home in Lake Highlands with a photography studio. In addition to the still-lifes, Crook also takes children’s portraits and does Polaroid transfers.

“The thing I enjoy about photography is one day I can work with people, the next day I can spend in the studio, and the next day I could be across the country or at the zoo. There’s so much diversity,” Crook says.

Crook’s pieces can be seen at Art Encounter, 325 Northlake Shopping Center. Her pieces range in price from $35 to $425, and portrait sittings vary in price. For information, call her voice mail at 993-5950.