An interview with
If you are not yet following Karen – read below and see why you should be…..
What types of photography do you shoot?
Whatever's in front of me! In my current reality selection (I live in the Sierras of California) , that means lots of gorgeous landscapes and up close nature shots for the most part. I'm very fortunate to have it around me all the time. But I definitely take flights of fancy when I go places. Cities are fun… people are interesting… animals are endlessly expressive. Since I'm not good at fussing about lots of gear, you'll probably never see me shooting in a studio. But then, 'never say never', right?
No matter what I shoot, it's all about the moment for me. The completeness of a moment, captured. They are so precious, these moments of ours… strung together they're an entire life! I try to always listen, to see, to be shown what the 'moment' has to offer. If I can successfully capture the results of that, whatever I'm shooting – I feel strangely satisfied. There's really nothing like it.
Why did you become a photographer?
Y'know… maybe it was destiny. Or just family habit! My mom's side of the family is crazy-documented all the way back to the 1800's when they came here from Norway. SOOO many photographs it's almost a movie! So of course I grew up with my mom snapping EVERYTHING. That started it, I suppose… but I think that for me, photography is really my heart reflected in art. The thing that makes my insides really, truly happy. The one place I can just say things that maybe I'd self-edit otherwise – I can just let that creative force pour right on through me and not second guess it. I tend to be such a second-guesser in other areas. But not so much in photography.
So I think in a certain sense… I never 'became' a photographer… I always WAS one.
Do you want to become a pro photographer where you make all your income with photography? Have you tried this yet, and if so how difficult have you found this to be?
Well, I do have a vision about where I'm headed with photography… but it's not a strictly conventional one. It's a new development for me, this new direction… and I'm feeling my way with it right now. Looking. Listening. Formulating. Working on my craft. Finding my "signature". Letting things unfold. Creating from 'vision'.
I CAN tell you that I don't intend to ever turn photography into a "lens for hire" kind deal. It's time in my life for a different approach – to everything! In my photo world, I shoot what I like. Whatever moves me in some way. If you like it, awesome. If you don't, that's cool too. It's my own personal experiment; let's see what happens if I'm completely, utterly uncompromising about that. I've been the queen of compromises in my life. The on the soul's satisfaction scale, the more I compromise, the more I feel "Meh" at the end of the day. There are no qualifiers for "Average". You can't really say "I feel extraordinarily Average today!" or "How awesomely Average that is!". Yeah, not so much.
I want to live my big words (big in terms of meaning)… "Fantastic!" "Magical!" "Extraordinary!". Now THAT'S a life worth showing up for. So I'd like to see what happens if, in photography, I ONLY do what feels good. This is what I want to find out now. It's a life thing. My mother always swore it was the key to the kingdom. I suspect she may have be right.
I see you are shooting mostly landscape and outdoor work, why did you pick that style of work and also are you looking to branch out to other styles?
Oh, I've been branched out before, for sure. But right now I live in a place that kind of lends itself to landscapeage. (The Lake Tahoe area). I haven't even begun to scratch the surface there! This most recent round of raising the bar in my photoworld has meant learning new equipment, new processing, honing my skills in all new ways. So what better place to work on all that than my own groovy backyard? I grew up on a ranch, so my ties with nature run deep. I'm most at home outdoors, around nature… it just kind of lives in me. So did I 'choose' landscape work? I kinda think it chose me. I sometimes feel like the earth and sky open up and give me these amazing moments. I'm often surprised by it. I mean, who dreams this stuff up? But there it is, beauty and life in all its Mother Earth glory… like a bit "Ta-Daaa!"… and I get to document it! I'm very fortunate.
I've been going on many of the G+ photowalks that have cropped up over the past few months. They've been awesome. That has me broadening out into more urban environs, which is also a ton fun! Alot more rules than I'm used to thought. heh. Like I said before, I just like to shoot whatever's in front of me. Find the story… the moment… in anything. It's like this ongoing, constant invitation that inspires me.
What types of feedback have you had towards your work? In General and on G+?
Well, the only feedback on my work I've had in the past was good. But it was also friends and family, so I kind of discounted it. Isn't that awful? Kind of a slap in the face to everyone who said something nice about my work. But I wasn't really producing the kind of images that I REALLY wanted to either, so it always felt a bit off-kilter.
I really switched gears at the beginning of 2010, with a nice little Canon T1i that my husband gave me for Christmas. I use a 5DII now, but I'll forever have a special place in my heart for that little T1i. Because that was when I began to learn how to use Photoshop for real, process images… make a little artfulness along the way. But I was learning new things in a new way – and not so much wanting to widely share those early attempts.
But when I jumped into G+ when it first rolled out, I was VERY surprised to receive a ton of good feedback! It was kind of surreal, because I went from NO feedback in a room by myself to strangers from around the world taking the time to stop by and say "hey, I love this". Not feeling invisible anymore, hanging out with folks who get what you do, who get the deep value of art, and whose passion for what they do leads… just does something to you. . My deep and abiding love of photography had already woken up wicked hungry. Once G+ started to roll and whole new world opened up. I began to feel alive and creative, in a way I only ever felt as a kid. I think photos are meant to be seen and shared. I don't think photography is meant to be a solo sport. Something about beauty opens people up. Connects us. A whole other cool thing happens when you start sharing your work. Stuff changes on an elemental, primal level. We connect, see, feel, hear in a whole new way. I honestly think it heals on a subtle, deep level.
Since I also write and tend to think and see the world in stories and movies, I started connecting those dots on G+ too. Story + photos. That has been incredibly well received. I've been surprised… even though I certainly HOPED it would be something people would like. People have been truly kind and generous. G+ is a place where you get to see the best of the best… in art… and in people. At least that's been my experience.
Of course, if I post something that doesn't quite hit the mark – or just doesn't land for some reason – I just don't hear anything at all. Which is also informative!
Name 1 or 2 other photographers on G+ that you feel deserve to get interviewed… as in their work personally moves you but you do not think anyone might know about them..
There are so many! I don't mind giving these to you privately, but I feel like if I answer this in an interview, then I've let down the ones I didn't mention or worse yet… forgot!
Where can we find out more about you and your work…. and do you do other things other than photography you want to mention?
Well, I do voiceovers professionally. Two of the coolest gigs I've done lately are the navigation voice for MotionX-GPS Drive (check out the Cougar, hehheh)… and most recently the voice of the guide for Stuck On Earth, the fantastic travel app for the iPad thathas just released. It's freaking AWESOME!!! Trey's work has been a huge influence on me in photography… so getting to put voice and photography together in one brilliant project with someone I like and admire a great deal has been amazing.
I hope everyone who reads this marches over to www.StuckOnEarthTheApp.com and downloads it – because it's both jaw-droppingly awesome and it's FREE! The photographs are from photogs all over the world… and are a feast for the eyes. Not to mention you quickly find cool spots to shoot in a new place, make a trip and it'll save to your iPad so you won't even need the internet to retrieve it when you're there. And mine is the Voice of the Guide throughout the process. I'm really thrilled about it… and so incredibly delighted to be a part of it.
If folks are curious to hear from the voiceover side of my world… they can check it out at www.karenhutton.com
It's a big, bold life out there… live it!