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.
After college, Karen worked as a lifestyle photographer for 14 years. Then, searching for something more, she set aside her cameras to pursue a Master’s Degree (MDiv). At that time many photographers were transitioning to digital, but being busy with her studies and with work afterwards, Karen never did so herself.
She finally began making photos again in 2006, after an eight-year hiatus, when she was given a digital camera by her husband. This time, rather than being guided by the wishes of clients, she followed her own interests and vision, her work leaning towards the intersection of photojournalism and fine art.
Karen's images are often inspired by beauty and grace but she does not shy away from photographing suffering which can at times be visceral and heartbreaking. The earth, sky, and sea and all who live therein awaken her passion to be a voice for the care, protection, and reverence of all that is precious in this world.
I have been quiet when I should have spoken. 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. What if we could understand these communications too? Is there a way to get a sense of these conversations, visually through the lens?
Scientists are only now beginning to discover how animals converse. Dolphins, elephants, and whales are known to have complex forms of communication. What are they saying to each other, to us? My dog often speaks. I can usually guess at what she wants but I cannot understand her vocalizations the way she seems to understand mine.
With my camera, I explore what the unheard might be saying to us through their expressions, stance, or a particular moment in time.
“If You Could Hear My Voice,” is the title of my most recent project. It is a question which is explored through images of animals. Yet this question is also an undercurrent to much of my work.
Juried/Invitational Group Shows:
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 TBA, Mobile Arts Council, Mobile, AL
2015 Point of View, Mobile Arts Council, Mobile, AL
Awards & Publications:
F-Stop Magazine, #86 Street Edition, Group Exhibit. Dec. 2017
Mobile Art Association, Honorable Mention. 2017
National Geographic YourShot, Lines/Patterns/ Textures. Oct. 27, 2017
Art Grant Recipient, Mobile Arts Council. 2017
The Guardian, UK Print Edition, Journal Section. Jan. 27, 2017
National Geographic YourShot, Lowlight Story. Dec. 2, 2015
National Geographic YourShot, Daily Dozen. Nov. 21, 2011
Colors of the Coast, Merit Award. 2014
National Geographic YourShot, Daily Dozen. Dec. 3, 2009
National Geographic YourShot, Daily Dozen. Oct. 19, 2009.
Singing River Art Association, Merit Award. 2008
Gallery 450, Mobile, AL. Summer 2017
Cat's Gallery, Spring Hill Village, AL.
Cathedral Square Gallery, Mobile, AL.
F-Stop Magazine, Home Theme, Nov. 30, 2017
F-Stop Magazine, Home Theme, Nov. 25, 2017
F-Stop Magazine, PortfolioStreet. August 30, 2017
F-Stop Magazine, PortfolioStreet. August 29, 2017
Womiphotography/Woman in Photography. August 28, 2017.
Womiphotography/Woman in Photography. August 22, 2017
National Geographic YourShot, Editors' Favorites:
6:39 PM. Dec 7, 2017. David Y. Lee
Friday Night in Greenville. Diane Cook & Len Jenshel
The Long Walk to Denali. Editors: Matt Adams, Christina Shorter, David Y. Lee, and Guest Editor: Gloria Salgado Gispert
The Face of Fire. Editor: David Y. Lee
Burning Basket. Homer, Alaska. Editor: David Y. Lee, Matthieu Paley
Confidence. Editors: Amy Toensing & Christina Shorter
On Viedma Glacier. Editor: David Y. Lee
A New Story. Editor: Joni Schrantz
Spontaneous Dance. Editor: Joni Schrantz
Brown Pelicans. Editor: David Y. Lee
Mrs. Rosalynn Carter & Mr. Jimmy Carter. Editor: Jeanne M. Modderman
Blue Sky Day. Editor: Jane Sobel Klonsky
Prothonotary Warbler. Editor: Asher Jay
All Puffed Up. Editor: Asher Jay.
Afternoon Drive. Editor: Jeanne M. Modderman
Petals on Parade. Editor: Peter Essick
Bugs in My Ear. Editor: Peter Essick
Accidental Aurora. Editor: Monica C. Corcoran
Friday Night in Paris. Editors: Stephen Alvarez & Christina Shorter
Bamboo Trees by Mirror Lake. Editor: Becky Harlan
Beneath the Surface of Things. Editor: Jim Richardson