EXPOSED: Kari Rowe Interview
Kari Rowe may stand at only 5’3″ but the energy she brings into any room makes her seem to stand taller than most grown men I know. She is a natural born artist; driven to capture moments in time, create beauty behind a lens, and truly create experiences through photography. Through her raw and unfiltered personality, she makes subjects feel completely comfortable in front of the lens which is another talent in and of itself. She is an accomplished photographer having worked for some of the most respected name brands in the world including Nike, Teva, Converse, American Eagle, and Smith Optics. As well as photographing some of the world’s most well-known names including Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson, AWOLnation, Surfer Julian Wilson and
With the birth of iPhone “photography” and unprecedented access to apps and editing programs, in today’s world it seems as though anyone can be a photographer in a sense. Some are starting to diminish the talent of a photographer, and somehow take the exclusivity out of this career.
However to see a true photographer at work, someone who bends light perfectly to highlight a product, works with her subjects to emit the exact emotion she is looking for, or who can truly capture a scene so that it can be relived down the road is someone with a trained eye, an artist with many hours of perfecting talent that not everyone with an iPhone can even pretend to have. There is nothing more inspiring than to be around someone that just emits passion for what they are doing. Kari does just that, she is truly passionate behind the lens, with her mind always spinning and new ideas and techniques always on the brink of discovery and creation. Her zest for life, her art, and the people she gets to share it with is truly unprecedented, and I am excited to share at least a peak of it with you.
My name is Kari Anne Rowe. Pronounced Carey, my dad was, as he puts it, “in a hurry” when spelling my name for the doctors.
I just turned the big 3 OOOOHH
I assume you are referring to my skill as a moment creator and soul keeper. — The best description of a Photographer I have ever heard
Years as a Photographer?
Too many to count. HAHA, ok, really, professionally, and as my sole income I would say since I was 17. Math is not something I would list under the above “talent” section, so I will leave the math to you all. –(By my count that is 13 years in the making)
Personal career highlight
The moment I came to the realization that I had earned the title, Photographer. I paid a lot of dues and worked my a** off to have the confidence to use that title. A title, I feel, gets thrown around entirely too often these days. Every yahoo (haha I think I just aged myself by using that term) with a camera is a Photographer now.
With the accessibility of technology now, being a “Photographer” has lost a lot of meaning, but to me, having the respect of your peers and your crew, paying your dues and creating beautiful sh*t those are the things that make a photographer.
So yes, my career highlight continues to be, standing in a room of talented people I admire and having them eager and excited to work with me. Those moments are the ones I will never forget or take for granted.
When did you first pick up a camera?
Ha, I was too young to remember. My mom was a photographer so I was pretty much born holding a camera. I do remember getting my first Holga, I think I was 6 or so, I would walk around with no film in it, clicking away.
Who or what was the catalyst for you becoming a photographer?
My mom, I was homeschooled most of my life so I would always go on shoots with her and spent more time at camera stores, developers and printing houses than most kids did in school.
I remember being a kid she’d bring me along on shoots and carrying the battery pack for her lights, pretending the power cord was my leash. (Hey, it was the 90’s and sh*t was ghetto back then). I loved holding her bounce and playing magic tricks opening and closing it for the models on set. I was pretty much trained to understand light since I was a babe.
What do you love most about shooting photos?
I am the most comfortable version of myself when I am behind a lens, ooor drinking tequila haha. But seriously, I do things when I’m holding a camera I wouldn’t dream of doing without it. For example, on one of my road trips I stopped to take a photo, the best angle was to climb on the outside of the bridge and shoot down into the ravine while hanging on to the bridge with my foot and using both hands to make my old Hasselblad do its thing. When the photo was shot and I took my eye off the camera, it hits me that I am actually terrified of heights and had to hold the camera to my face in order to get back to safety.
BUUUT, arguably, what could be the very best thing, is creating moments. Moments that otherwise wouldn’t exist but making them a real true feeling no matter where you are. A horribly crowded beach can turn into a gorgeously simple and serene moment if you evoke that emotion as the photographer, everyone who looks at the photo will feel what you were at the moment you took it.
dBest advice you have ever received?
Trust your gut. If you are naturally talented at what you do, there is no reason to second-guess yourself. Without fail, it always ends up being your first gut instinct that works out in the end. More often than not, you have to try every other option before you realize that it was actually one and done.
What is your go-to meal or snack on a long shoot day?
On a long shoot day, I make sure to have bananas, I LOOVE bananas. I also always request peanut butter and a spoon is nearby. Without fail, if I’m feeling like I’m about to pass out a spoonful of peanut butter does the trick. I’m also a sucker for green juice, breakfast lunch and dinner if I’m on set, eating a salad is too time-consuming and then I spend the rest of the day worried I have greens in my teeth, so to save myself the potential embarrassment and time, I drink my greens.
If you could photograph anyone living or dead who would you choose?
OH MAN! This is a tough one. I feel that anyone who allows me to document them, shares a little bit of their soul with me, no matter how little time I have with my subject, I walk away feeling honored and connected to that person forever. With that said, I would have to say I would have loved to be able to photograph Chief Red Cloud of the Sioux nation. Take a little bit of his wisdom and strength with me on my journeys. – Chief Red Cloud is known as one of the most capable and respected Native American Indian Chiefs from the late 1800′s and early 1900′s.
What type of environment do you feel most artistic in and why? In studio? Outdoors? With people or product or landscapes?
I don’t think it’s the environment that inspires my creativity, although having a lot of textural options is pretty fun. I was taught to use the resources that are available to me and that inspires a different type of creativity with each shoot.
For example, with product, I get to give into my OCD and nerd out and get creative with the technical side of lighting. Whereas, when I’m working on location with you have to go with the flow and let the moments and energy move naturally, kind of just captain the boat with the tides. See where it ends up, if you try to force it, it will never work and people can tell.
One quirky thing about you that people don’t typically know?
HA, ok, I’m kind of OCD, but I already admitted that in the last answer, so basically, I love to collect and organize things. Hats, cameras, books, sweaters, old rusty cans, my shoes; for example are placed on my shelves in order of type, then subcategorized by texture, color and heel height. Most people don’t know this about me because, when they see me I will be on a road trip, riding my bike or camping, always wearing the same 3 outfits and old boots, you’d never guess I have a hundred pairs of beautiful shoes displayed in my room.
Salty or Sweet?
I’m a maple on my bacon, french fries in my milkshake type of gal. Short answer. Both. YES, Salty and sweet it is :)
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