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  • Writer's pictureKaren Ollis, SilverFox

A Passport to the World

Peter Toula by Karen Ollis

Give a person a stage with microphone and you will learn who they really are.

Any public platform can expose the good, the bad and the ugly of any individual. I am so lucky that my platform has been photography as a means to express myself and share observations. I choose to express the positive more than the negative because to dwell elsewhere is to not appreciate opportunity.

Whether it has been commercial assignments or personal work creating through a lens has given me a position to be in conversation with people, the environment, with concepts and with lifestyle. Having that point of observation continually helps me to evolve seeing other perspectives and understanding human nature as it relates to living.

I recognized this early on from observing my family while capturing photographs on my first camera given to me by my parents when I was 9. Small and simple, the camera was not expensive and didn’t need to be. My parents encouraged the hobby but were not supportive of my decision to pursue a career path becoming a freelance photographer in my twenties. They did however, provide the first steps in the love of photography which found me documenting human relationship and a greater understanding of the world at large.

In that pursuit of how to frame things within a lens, telling stories is what has driven me to broaden my horizons and experiences, seeking and reaching out further. To see.

That first camera turned into professional 35 mm models, then medium format to 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras and to the digital gear I now use. Assignment work has occasionally required an actual passport yet it has been in the avenues and vantage point of experiencing a greater scope of life that I have traveled the most.

For all the people I have met, aspects of life I have been exposed to and places I have seen, its been the hugest gift to push me out of my comfort zone to grow. It has given me a passport outward and one I engage on a regular basis.

I will be forever grateful for that Christmas gift of a camera so many years ago and the consistent work ethic and initiative that I was brought up with. It has made the difference in living with a wish to having the path in realizing one. It has also encouraged me to appreciate what other photographers view through their lenses. Collectively we tell stories in a visual language that is universal. Sometimes no words are necessary especially when emotion and truth come through a lens.

If I had to sum up my career to this point in one word it is GRATEFUL. I found a vehicle to move through life with that provides instances of interaction and constant creativity. My camera has been a passport to big wide world, one I couldn’t imagine had I not gone down this path. As we begin a new year, it is my hope that whatever way you grow and expand your gifts within yourself and in the world at large, you give yourself permission to do so with greater enthusiasm.

Karen Ollis by Peter Toula

about the author: Karen Ollis is an experienced photographer specializing in studio portraiture, and environmental on-location portraits for editorial stories, PR and marketing testimonials. instagram @ollisphoto

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