“As photography editor, I find myself tempted to put artists into slots. This person is a portraitist. That person works in black and white. This photographer shoots musicians. That photographer does documentary work. I simply can't do this kind of thing with Karen Kuehn's photography. She is able to drop in and photograph truck drivers, artists, kids, and CEOs with equal grace. She moves effortlessly from color to black and white, and when and why to use each. Most important, she comes back with images that have both surface richness and a real depth of emotion.” David Schonauer Editor in Chief - American Photo
by Skip Cohen
Now and then I hear about a book with a remarkable storyline and images to match. It's time for many of you to meet Karen Kuehn. I first met her back in the late 80's when she was living in NYC and a Hasselblad shooter. She's a remarkable artist and her book Maverick Camera, which has been out less than a year, is down to its last one hundred copies.
From a collector's viewpoint, she self-published only a thousand copies, getting started with a Kickstarter campaign. Karen wanted to produce a book of substance and quality and had the help of designer Dana Wotruba, Jenny Jensen as editor, and another great friend of the industry, Santa Fe Workshop's Reid Callanan wrote the foreword. Each book is numbered and signed. But there's another aspect to this book.
Maverick Camera is Karen's story, literally how she got started going from job to job working to build a reputation as a photographer. She's an "outdoor girl" as she put it and left NYC eighteen years ago for New Mexico. Each story together with its images takes the reader through the experience of a kid with a dream.
She certainly achieved her goal to be a great photographer but took it one step further. She became an incredible friend to so many of us in the industry. In fact, I had lost track of Karen after I left Hasselblad in '99, but this is a small industry. Sitting at dinner with Bobbi Lane and husband Lee Varis, Bobbi said, "You need to get Karen in the "Why?" series!"
Well, we'll get her on "Why?" later on, but before the last copies of Maverick Camera are gone, there are a few of you who need to know about it. Her book is loaded with her adventures in photography, but I wanted to share one of my favorites sections, Saturday Night Live Bumpers. It represents an amazing time in television. My screen shots don't begin to pick up the quality of the actual book!
Check out Karen's website and more about the book with a click on any image in this post! If you're looking for a unique holiday gift that inspires, motivates and entertains - here it is!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.