Visit Karen's gallery in The River Arts District of Asheville, NC ~ Riverview Station Building, 191 Lyman Street #104

A Few Words About Lighting in My Photography Process

Since 2012, I’ve created fine artwork exclusively in my studio because I prefer to control all elements of the photographic process. While not all photographers take this approach, I’d rather not to leave any part of subject lighting, composition, background, or camera settings to chance.

I’ve studied lighting techniques and equipment in depth, and frequently use multiple light sources to illuminate specific areas of my subjects while allowing other areas to fall into varying depths of shadow. This precise control of light and shadow is a hallmark of my work. It’s what gives the images such extraordinary depth and often creates such a prominent three-dimensional effect in my art.

When shooting, I do it in a completely dark studio, with the only light source being those which illuminate the subject. The ambient darkness further enhances the perception of depth by causing the background to recede away from the viewer while the subject appears to “pop” off the surface.

I’ve been fortunate to have numerous opportunities to train professional photographers in this technique at various association gatherings.


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Born and raised in the beautiful green mountains of Vermont, Karen holds a deep-seeded connection to the ever-changing landscape of the mountains. Her photographic subjects reflect her reverence for the extraordinary beauty and fragility of the natural world. Karen's career in photography began while working with nonverbal, autistic and learning disabled children on improving their communication skills. With a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, Karen developed computer based communication systems using photographs that she took with her clients of objects and people in their lives. Photography helped these special-needs individuals see the world in different ways and facilitated their creativity as well as their communication skills. For several years, Karen juggled careers as both a speech-language pathologist and a professional photographer, but when she became a mother Karen realized that she could not continue careers in both fields. She took a “break” from her work as a speech-language pathologist, and ultimately, never went back. For the past several years, Karen has explored the fine art of still life photography, as well as abstract images using smoke with objects she hand-created. Her still life images containing botanicals, sea shells, butterflies, fossils and geodes, as well as her totally unique images of smoke have earned her national and international accolades, as well as coveted awards, including many from juried, fine art competitions. After living in many parts of the US, Asia and Europe, Karen has settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

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