We are so excited to welcome the amazingly talented Karen Alsop to the Pretty Forum Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her beautiful child and animal portrait photography, and be sure to visit her website Story Art. Thank you so much Karen for taking the time to share your work with us today!Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
My love for photography was inspired by my Grandfather. Popa was an avid photographer and he introduced me to the camera and the darkroom. During my teen years I spent much of my time capturing imagery and developing my own prints in my darkroom.
Although I spent many years capturing natural moments through portrait and wedding photography, my focus now is on digital photographic compositing. I have a love for dreaming up a surreal idea and making it come to life through photography and photoshop. My style is complex, whimsical and tells a story. I love light and playing with light, both in camera and later by ‘painting with light’ in photoshop.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
At the time of this interview I use a Canon 5D Mark iii and a variety of lenses. My most used for compositing work is my 16-35mm as it provides an interesting perspective, particularly for background plates. I do love my Sigma Art lenses too, both the 35mm and the 50mm.I am planning to purchase the new Sony A7rii which looks perfectly suited to my compositing work. The 42mp resolution will enable me to capture detailed imagery that can be printed large with no loss of quality. The 4k video will suit my video and cinemagraph needs. I also love the fact that it functions so well in low light.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I love the golden hour. I love a backlit scene. I always look for beautiful sunlight breaking through to produce soft rim light on a subject. I love sunlit specs of dust in the air and soft atmospheric sun rays. I recommend going for walks during this magical time of the evening (1 hour before sunset) and just look for that quality of light.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
I love photographing children and animals. My imagery captures children’s imaginations because the images are telling stories, they are representing books and dreams that children may have seen in their own minds. Children and animals can be challenging because often you are not able to direct them specifically, instead role playing and waiting for the moment play a part in getting that perfect capture. I enjoy the challenge of working with the unknown. What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Wow, this year I have learned many lessons. My business has gone from everyday wedding/portrait photographer to internationally recognised digital photographic artist. In the last year, I have pushed my own boundaries back and put everything I had into making this genre work for me. I followed my passion and worked extremely hard to bring Story Art alive. So I’d suggest the biggest lesson has been work hard, follow my passion and don’t give up.If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
As above, it would be to follow their passion. Whenever I run workshops, or speak to photographers, this is the subject I want to bring home to them. Every person on this earth has passions – areas of interest that are totally ‘them’. Perhaps they haven’t yet recognised exactly what that is, or maybe it’s ever changing. I loved weddings and portraits when I was focusing on them, and I was passionate about that genre. However nothing compares to the passion and dedication I have to this Story Art digital compositing work. My passion for my work has gone to a whole other level. So I encourage photographers to seek that deep passion in their own work, think outside the box, and don’t be afraid to take a risk.What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love bringing the art in my mind to life. For a long time I didn’t think of myself as an artist. But, photographers are artists, a camera is just another artist tool, a way to bring a vision to life. I’m so thankful that I live in a day an age that enables me to be an artist with tools that suit my natural skill sets. I can’t draw…. at all. Even my stick figures are terrible. If I’d lived in a time before photography I’m not sure what type of art I’d be creating.I also love the flexibility my business gives me, particularly in being able to spend quality time with my family. My children are quite young, and I love that this genre in particular enables me to include my family. I can take my kids with me to shoot background plates. Quite often, they are models in my personal project images. The family will be travelling with me worldwide next year as we run workshops internationally.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Already I have been given some amazing opportunities to share, teach and inspire. I’m working towards being in demand worldwide for custom digital photographic artworks both commercially and for private clients. I want to continue teaching and speaking across the world. When I started Story Art in 2014, my aim was to build it up over 3 years and see if it was viable in the long term. My hopes have been far exceeded and I’m thrilled about how quickly things have moved for me with this endeavour. I can only imagine what may be around the corner for me. As long as I keep working hard, pushing the boundaries, delivering new work and marketing that work, Story Art can only grow.
About the Artist: Karen Alsop is an award winning Australian, Melbourne based photographic digital artist. Expanding on two decades of photographic and graphic design experience, Karen brings photography and art together to create stunning artworks that tell a story and take the viewer into another world.
Specialising in Portrait Art, her digital portraiture captures the personality and character of her subjects by placing them within a visual story highlighting their interests and loves. Karen particularly enjoys creating whimsical, conceptual images of children and animals.