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Meet Carmen Kern

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carmen Kern.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I think I was seven when my folks gave me my first camera. It was a Kodak Instamatic and I remember the first roll of film I had developed had pretty much everyone’s head cropped off. I loved coloring and drawing as a kid but photography seemed so magical somehow. Snapshots of moments that became memories for a lifetime.

I was lucky enough in high-school to have photography as an elective. It was old-school, black and white photography where we rolled our own film, developed and enlarged them in the darkroom. We studied some of the greats in the industry and tried to emulate them as best we could. We made props and painted backgrounds and took pictures of each other. I ended up taking photography for three years before graduating.

I kept at it through college and into adulthood, but things really took off for me when we moved to Phoenix. I signed up for a digital photography course at PVCC. I’d been dragging my feet into the digital world. I enjoyed film and the cameras, but it was time to learn something new. I met people more experienced than I was, they encouraged me and helped me find my photographic voice. I also took a creative writing course and rediscovered my love of fiction writing. I suppose it was only natural that my two creative outlets would feed each other.

Please tell us about your art.
Most of my images I take in the city streets. I have a love of street art, doors and anything strange. I skulk around alleyways looking for anything unique or different that many people might not notice or seek out. Once I started writing again, I began to see a change in my photography. I would look for a scene, a place where I could let my imagination run with the possibilities of what might have happened there. Mini plays would run through my head while I took the photos. I slowed down even more, paying attention to light and texture and anything I could use as a prop in a story. I had been looking for a way to combine my love of writing and photography and slowly, I found a way to do that. I think if there was anything I hope people take away from my photography is a sense of the ‘what if.’ Having a sense of wonder and intrigue about the things you pass by every day. Being aware of the strangeness and beauty of the world.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
For me, success is telling a story that someone can relate to. Taking them on a journey and introducing a new way of thinking that might surprise them, make them laugh, or hit them emotionally in any way. Success as an artist is when you connect with people in an authentic way. Show a little of yourself and at the same time, encourage the viewer to relate or react in their own way and see the work with their own lens. When that happens, there is a connection on some level. And that is a beautiful thing.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My work can be found on my photography website at decent-xposure.com. Or my author site carmenkern.com, where you will find my flash fiction stories along with the images that inspired them.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Credits for artist photo is: Jia Oak Baker.

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Michelle Ross-Sampson

    September 24, 2018 at 4:52 am

    This was a really great piece on you. I LOVED seeing your photos! Good for you!!

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