Tuesday, February 9, 2016

K A R E N K U E H N - MAVERICK CAMERA The Photographs & Stores of Karen Kuehn

28 years ago I took a leap of faith. I was in school about to launch my photography career with very little knowledge of how to actually do it.  I thought about where I would like to work and the kind of images I would like to take and two magazines came to mind.  Rolling Stone and the National Geographic.  I did my homework and found out that NGS did an internship.  Immediately I prepared myself for this position and felt it would be the next step for my life.  Many apply for this and I was one of three that were accepted that summer to be a part of the intern program.  I was on cloud nine going to Washington DC two days after graduating from the Art Center College of Design. Top of my class by the way!  After arriving I was assigned to go to the Yukon.  Being a former US Park Ranger this was heaven for me.  I met Brad Washburn and Barry Bishop, both key players in mapping and climbing Mt Everest.  A dream trip for a young photographer.  The internship is usually about 3 months in length and I was extended to 6 thankfully.  That winter while working in and out of the NGS offices I made the most of my time and reached out to editors in NYC as the directors Rich Clarkson and Tom Kennedy were encouraging me to head east.  I was reluctant but I did and after contacting over 40 editors and art directors I was well on my way to the Big Apple.  Via train I arrived with my backpack and gear. I taxed to a friend’s apartment to crash for several weeks while I tried to get my feet on the ground.   Thank you to Linda Draper a terrific friend and illustrator I had a safe place to be while showing my portfolio.  In three weeks I met so many creative’s and shot three jobs as well and so it began this journey of being a NYC based photographer.  I wasn’t a city girl.  Country was written all over my face and my clothing; cowboy boots, jeans and outdoorsy apparel not like the sheik New Yorkers at all. 

New York Magazine’s top photo editor Susan Vermazon along with Laura Broadus gave me my first assignment on the Bowery photographing a photographer named Nan Golden.  We were so opposite but we made some great images together.  Frannie Ruch of Elle was a main stay for jobs early on and so was Mark Jamison for New Look Magazine giving me several interesting projects.  I met so many greats in our industry and I suppose my portfolio was very different as I am a conceptual thinking person as well as a journalist at heart.   I like solving problems be it light or ideas or a location that tells a better story I tend to think out of the box, around the box and in the box.  No limits really. 

I have been told that my career is fascinating and the life I have had to date is packed with stories I should share.  So several years ago I started sorting those images to pull some gems into one book.  Well so many that one book can’t handle a lifetime of my content.  I paired it down to some of my favorites.  I’ve had a long respected career of creating a story within a frame.  I tend to be modest and that probably hasn’t helped my overall story but since working on so many other book projects I have come to a clear place that I don’t have to be the best in the world but I have to be the best I can be for each subject work with for that is the most important aspect for me daily.   I’m dedicated to truth and beauty and honest image making.  It’s a fine line.   The business of photography is ever changing and the budgets are disincarnating to spend more time on projects unless you’re backed by just a few of the major magazines.   You have to be part of an editor’s top choice to get consistent work.  While in NYC I was riding that wave and it was fantastic.  I will be forever grateful and with that idea I would like to share some of the adventures with you.
Photography has given me so much inspiration as a platform for meeting people and exploring all kinds of topics.  It’s a career of education that you can’t buy but rather you live.  I’m rich with adventure and skill sets that have been brought to me via the camera.  A tool I can only love with my heart and eyes.  I hope you like this project.  It is meant to inspire a kinder creative limitless self.  The journey shared is so much better.  Photographers go into situations and if open they come out co creating.
I love my life and photography has given me so much more than I could of reckoned.
Enjoy the journey.

Once the kickstarter has presold 350 books in 60 days I will have one month to make all finishing touches with the designer.  I have a book rep ready to send to press overseas.   The same pressman did my CARGO CULT book featured on Amazon now.  That book is a success pre-selling 1300 copies in 60 days.  I am hopeful that we can sell far less and manifest a full pressing.  Your pledge will help this happen.  Once the book press checks we do the final and I feel at the very latest it will be delivered by August pending  import.  I feel it will be sooner but I want to not underestimate  any details needed to make this project stellar.  I hope it inspires young photographers, and old.  My journey has been amazing and its relatable full of humor and heart.  Thank you for your time and I can only hope you’ll share and be apart of this book project as it comes to life.

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