About Kristen

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about Kristen

I love art. I love photography.
It is my passion, my love, and all of my heart. Its what I do AND who I am. My camera is an extension of my arm AND my personality. Thats just the way it is. Period.

My love of art started a long time ago, from the time I could hold a paintbrush with one hand. I studied illustration and fine art my whole life and into college. I always knew I was going to be an artist, I just never knew quite what I was going to be doing. While attending art school I was forced to take photography 101 as part of a fine arts degree, truth be told...I sucked at it. Thats right everyone...I just said I sucked. The problem was that I was FORCED into it and no one appreciated it. I loved being in the darkroom and creating works of art on the enlarger and watching them come to life through chemical filled trays, but my teachers never seemed to appreciate it. Somewhere along the line something inside of me started to change, perhaps it was when my photography instructor told me NOT to take another class...LOL. I knew right then and there I was in the wrong place. I took a semester off of school, regrouped my thoughts about my ENTIRE lifes purpose (cause we artists take this very seriously) and watched my parents look at me with worried eyes wondering if I was ever going to go back to school. Well I did, but this time I switched schools and programs. I left one of the top art schools in the state of Michigan to go to community college. Backwards I suppose (and with a lot of flak from my artsy friends I might add), but absolutely the right decision. There I studied art history and animation and met some of the most memorable teachers I ever had in my entire art career (In case you were wondering, I couldnt get into their photography program because it was full). I left there a semester short of an art history degree and still didnt know exactly what I wanted to do.

My life started changing rather quickly after this drastic measure and before I knew it I was enrolled in an all inclusive animation program in Central Florida. Honestly, I didnt have a clue what I was getting myself into. Alls I knew was that my entire life the only place I ever wanted to work was Disney. I wanted to work at Feature Animation and get paid to do what I love. Unfortunately not long after I moved, Feature Animation closed...such as my life I suppose. But I finished out my program and happened to meet my future husband in the process. We were always the last two in class and there were always two seats left next to each other in the room...inevitably we became friends and the rest is as they say...history.

While finishing out my animation studies and after graduating I kept up with my photography. Now that I was not forced into anything, things started to click, pun intended, LOL. I was using film but words like "aperture" and "shutter speed" and "ISO" started to make sense. I decided I wanted to do something that could incorporate my illustration and painting background, photography, and 3D animation...maybe somewhere that could be appreciative of all what I could do. So, I applied for a job at Walt Disney World for a technical illustrator position and by some miracle they actually hired me! I got to use my 3D capabilities as well as my illustrative background, just not photography, so I did that on the side. I worked there for exactly a year and through a series of fortunate events I got a job at Walt Disney Imagineering! I was thrilled; this was the next best thing to Feature Animation! They hired me because of my diverse portfolio and I quickly became a Visual Communications Specialist. I designed presentations, both digital and storyboard, and the best part...I was the lead photographer as well!!! This was by far the best learning experience I ever had. I met my mentor and he taught me everything I needed to know (and couldnt learn in college) about lighting, and all things technical. This is also where I put down my film camera and picked up a digital one! I did the marketing and event photography for WDI as well as the production and final images of any attraction or resort that had been or was being built. My portfolio grew and with all of this new knowledge, my photography business grew too. Before I knew it my business was booming so much that it was hard to go to work every day as an Imagineer and come home every night and shoot or edit. With this situation I became increasingly restless. And through a series of events, my job quit me before I had a chance to quit it. The economy was on the down slope and I couldnt have been happier that I didnt have to take the initial step.

Since I was laid off in November of 2008 by business has skyrocketed!! Being laid off was seriously the best thing that could ever have happened to me, so thank you WDI. Since then I have traveled all over the world photographing. I have been to Italy, West Africa, Morocco, Mexico, California, Louisiana, and all over the rest of the United States for commissioned work. I volunteer my time and services to several non-profit organizations as well. And KHphotographics officially became a green certified business in June 2010! I am so excited that I love my job and the people I work with!

Its funny how life changes on you. One minute you are making art in a darkroom and your instructor tells you to quit, and the next you are running your own photography business years later. So many people have asked me "If someone would have told you 15 years ago that you were going to be a professional photographer and run your own business what would you have said?"....I would have laughed and said that I would be painting in a studio or working in a museum somewhere and they were ridiculous!!
I guess I just replaced my paintbrush with a shutter button.