Karen Waller


Agave Memory, digital photograph, 2022


Agave Blue Light, digital photograph, 2022


 Tenuous Connections, digital photograph, 2021


Agave Folds, digital photograph, 2022


Agave Connections, digital photograph, 2022


Agave Reflected, digital photograph, 2021


Falling, digital photograph, 2022


Four Leaves, digital photograph, 2022


Agave Spiral, digital photograph, 2022


Artist Statement

My early life informed my view of the world as it was a time spent connecting with nature and the environment. I grew up in rural South Australia, moving frequently, but having the opportunity to experience a childhood of freedom and exploration. During my childhood, and into my adult life, I pursued my desire to create through both painting and drawing.

Over time, there was a shift toward the medium of photography. I continue to be informed by my origins and training as a painter, which provided me with a solid foundation in the visual language. My photographic work covers a range of genres including portrait, landscape, and nature. In each genre, I want to portray the reality of humanity and nature which can be both broken and beautiful. 

The last few years have taken me on a journey closer to home. As we isolated, I looked toward my garden for inspiration. I began to explore the agave plants and experimented with long exposures and the technique of ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) which has taken me in a new creative direction. I am drawn to long exposures in photography, and the painterly quality the captures offer. These images reflect my history as a painter and my desire to replicate the distinctly human quality of the brush stroke. On reflection, much of my work and the stories I seek to tell, come from a place of valuing the concept of beautiful imperfection. In my work, in all genres, there is a balancing between the two opposing forces or themes. Through my photographic imagery, it is important that my audience, can find a connection to the subject, respond emotionally and to see the world afresh. 

About the Artist

Karen completed her BA Visual Art at the University of South Australia after finishing her secondary education. She exhibited her paintings in several exhibitions in South Australian galleries. Having worked as a professional photographer for over 20 years, Karen has won numerous awards and recognition for her work. Karen was a member of the former Australian Institute of Professional Photography in Australia and achieved the level of Master Photographer within this organisation. She won the AIPP Epson Portrait Photographer of the Year in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017 and the Robyn Stewart award for creative excellence in 2014. Karen was a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2020. In 2021 she came second in the IPPOTY (International Portrait Photographer of the Year) competition in the Environmental Portrait category. In 2022, Karen won the Portrait Stories category in the IPPOTY and won the People category in Capture Magazine’s Mono Awards 2022. She was also a finalist in the Head On Photo Festival Portrait category in 2022 which is an international photo festival based in Sydney, Australia. Karen has exhibited her work in several galleries and her most recent solo exhibition was of her 2020 travels and portraits captured in the Omo Valley, in Southern Ethiopia. This exhibition was in 2021 in Adelaide in South Australia.

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