Karen first began making photos at age 10 with a little Kodak Instamatic. One day, recognizing her growing interest, her father gave her his old Nikomat. She said to him, “The light meter is broken and I don’t know how to use it.” He answered, “Just read the instructions on the back of the film box and you will figure it out.” That was how she began to learn photography.
Although later on she worked for some time as a lifestyle photographer, she set aside her cameras in 1999 to pursue her MDiv.
In 2006 she began exploring digital photography for the first time. Six years later, her passion ignited, she began pursuing photography more seriously, her work leaning towards the intersection of documentary photography and fine art.
Her photographs echo the voices of those often unheard or stories unnoticed, the quiet places, the everyday details, and the whispers of life. Karen’s photographs reflect her care for places, cultures, people, and all that breathes and is threatened. It is through these images that she invites others to look, to see, and to honor what is precious.
I have sometimes allowed myself to be silenced. Now my words often take the form of images, photographs, which express my own voice and also question: What is the earth saying, the wind, the rivers, the swaying live oaks, the places which contain stories within their walls?
I wonder about the fact that trees and plants communicate with each other. Animals also have their own language. What if we could understand these communications too?
When I walk into an old church, or a place people have gathered through the years, and it is quiet for a moment--I wonder about the stories shared, about the people who came to sit a while and what they might have said.
Is there a way to get a sense of these conversations, visually through the lens?
With my camera, I explore what the unheard might be saying to us through their expressions, stance, or a particular moment in time.
2018 Shades of BW, S. E. Center for Photography, Greenville, SC; Juror Susan Burnstine
2017 MAC Members, Mobile Arts Council, Mobile, AL
2017 Mobile Art Association, Winter Open, Mobile, AL
2017 Art of the Bay, Mobile Arts Council, Mobile, AL
2016 Colors of the Coast, Cathedral Square Gallery, Mobile, AL
2014 Colors of the Coast, Cathedral Square Gallery, Mobile, AL
2010 The Green Room, Mobile Arts Council, Mobile, AL
2008 Singing River Art Association, Pascagoula, MS
2018 Voices of Strong Women, Mobile Arts Council, Mobile, AL. (Opens Nov. 2018)
2015 Point of View, Mobile Arts Council, Mobile, AL
Awards & Publications:
Alabama Magazine, March/April 2018
Lenscratch: Favorite Photograph of 2017. Jan 1, 2018
F-Stop Magazine, #86 Street Edition, Dec. 2017
Lenscratch: The Snow Exhibition III. Dec. 25, 2017
Mobile Art Association, Honorable Mention. 2017
Art Grant Recipient, Mobile Arts Council. 2017
The Guardian, UK Print Edition, Journal Section. Jan. 27, 2017
Arty Award Finalist for Artistic Innovation. Mobile, Arts Council, 2016
National Geographic YourShot, Lines/Patterns/Textures Oct. 27, 2017; Lowlight Story Dec. 2, 2015; Daily Dozen Nov. 21, 2011; Daily Dozen Dec. 3, 2009; Daily Dozen Oct 19, 2009.
Colors of the Coast, Merit Award. 2014
Singing River Art Association, Merit Award. 2008
F-Stop Magazine: Home Theme, Nov. 30, 2017, Nov. 25, 2017; PortfolioStreet August 30, 2017, August 29, 2017; Street Photography Dec. 24, 2017 Beautiful Jan 18, 2018, Feb. 21, 2018
Womiphotography/Woman in Photography: August 28, 2017; August 22, 2017
National Geographic YourShot, Editors' Favorites:
Karen's photos have been selected as Editor Favorites 27 times since 2015. List of Editors includes: David Y Lee, Christina Shorter, Matt Adams, Matthieu Paley, Jim Richardson, Amy Toensing, and several others.
Karen was also the Art Curator for The Lost Garden which was a thriving community garden and outdoor art gallery space in downtown Mobile, AL. It was for this project that she was a Mobile Arts Council Arty Award Finalist for ‘artistic innovation’ for her collaboration with local artists on this project in 2016. The property was recently purchased. The Garden Team is in the midst of discussions with the new owners and so the garden is on hiatus at the moment.