You might find me sipping hot chocolate at Cafe Beignet on Royal Street while writing about what I see in the French Quarter. I might be sitting on a bench in Jackson Square with my sketchbook drawing St. Louis Cathedral, or standing on a streetcar heading to the Garden District where I will wander around Lafayette Cemetery and the local neighborhoods exploring with my camera. I may be out with my husband perusing local flea markets and antique stores for some unique finds to add to our quaint bohemian home in the woods of the northshore of Louisiana. But most times I am sitting on the old wicker swing of my lazy southern porch tending to my plants, a hot cup of lemon mint tea in hand, a cat on my lap, a basset hound at my feet, and reading a good book.
"An artist is an explorer"
- Henri Matisse
As a creative writer and visual artist, I have the opportunity to blend my inspired soul with my love of local history, folklore, and the paranormal. I tell stories both imagined and genuine, fanciful and authentic...from the Axeman of New Orleans, to my own thrilling experiences throughout my travels, to historical fiction, and to the tales of timeworn southern antebellum plantation homes. I am eager to hear the tales of the past; what will the peeled walls of those plantation homes reveal? What will the victims of the Axeman declare in their own stories? What are the hauntings I have encountered trying to confess? And most importantly, what will my own pen and camera expose behind the closed wooden doors, away from the light of the rotting windowsill, absent of a testimony other than my own?
I have been all over the world in pursuit of my true joy in life.........to exploit happiness, humbleness, and adventure in every culture, society, and way of life that I possibly can. I have been to England, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Bahamas, Mexico, Jamaica, and Haiti as well as all over the United States. I love meeting and getting to know the people of these beautiful and diverse countries. I love photographing them and their boldly and richly colorful environments, and writing and sketching about my adventures.
"Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith."
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page"
- St. Augustine
I am an explorer.
I have traveled the world as a photographer and artist in search of the next image, the next drawing, the next adventure. Exploring God's world and my place in it has led to so many discoveries and will lead to so many more.
"I'm in love with cities I've never been to and people I've never met"
While my camera and paintbrush have led me to some of the most rural, abandoned, remote, and third world corners of the world, my heart leads me to their beautiful people and rich cultures.
I am a storyteller. Whether that resonates from still images, rough sketches, or my ink-stained notebook, I am led to tell the stories of the people of the world.
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
– Gustave Flaubert
On every trip I venture to, my sketchbook, journal, and camera bag are with me. My very first adventure out of my home state of Michigan was to Turkey and Greece for a Classical Civilizations class I took at Kendall College of Art & Design. My art history teacher quickly became an inspiration to me and that trip, along with everything I learned, changed the course of my life as an artist forever. If you would like to see my travel diaries in person, please just ask! I am always happy to share, and I feel they have more of an impact when you can see them in person.
Where I've been:
& all over the US
“Seeing the world is a prerequisite to understanding one's place in it.” - Josh Gates
I have worked with many nationally and internationally publicated magazines, online resources, and businesses both as a photographer and a creative writer. Everything from travel articles and spiritual reflections to ghost stories and creative non-fiction.
For a comprehensive list of my published work in both photography and writing, please click on any of the pictures shown here to download the pdf. All sources are listed and you can click on links directly from there.
"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
- Edgar Allan Poe
"The only real requirement to being a good writer is remembering every scar."
- Stephen King
What's on my writing desk right now? I have two books currently in process. One is called "I Love You More Than Grilled Cheese Sandwiches", about my dog Dizzi that passed away in 2015. Another book is about the holy Saints, with icon images I've created, along with the hagiography of each Saint and the personal stories I have in writing them.
I have several other ideas in the works as well that I am not ready to share yet. I am still looking for a literary agent if you happen to have a suggestion! Look for more updates here at the writing desk.
"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see"
While I wish my table looked more like Mr. Edgar Degas' with that lovely baroque mirror resting above it, it looks more like a traditional wooden architect's desk covered in paint stains, ink spots, graphite streaks, and eraser crumbs. I work mostly with gouache (somewhere in between watercolors and acrylics), ink, and graphite., toned paper for drawing and hot press watercolor paper for painting. I tend to bring my paintings into Photoshop for completion by adding textures, toning, and sharpness. I am currently getting to know the Wacom and digital pen so I can further enhance my toolkit. Make sure to check out the Shop link up there so you can see more of my work available for purchase!
photos taken at the Degas House in New Orleans
"God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with"
- Billy Graham
I'm probably at Cafe Beignet on Royal Street right now; pants covered in powdered sugar, listening to the saxophone player on the corner, and laughing with friends while I tell them all the secret places to explore in my favorite city. But thank you for getting in touch with me. I will reply as soon as possible (and when I have on clean pants!)
“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams
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"I am in awe and virtually speechless! What you have created is something so special. I feel helpless in the face of your work. Thank you for what you have done. I am deeply moved and will be forever grateful. May God continue to bless and inspire you to use your talents to help mankind."
"Shooting with Kristen was an amazing experience. She’s easy to be around and a lot of fun. I always felt like I was a part of the creative process and that everyone involved was truly enjoying themselves. I felt respected as a model. Not only does Kristen give good direction, but she does so in a way that made me feel like I was learning so much valuable information. For that, I will be forever grateful."
"Wow!!!!!! I wish we had enough space in our eBook to share all of your photos! They are amazing, and we really love the unique perspectives you captured! Thanks for supporting us!"
"Kristen impressed me with her intellectual curiosity, passion for art, and adventurous spirit. I worked closely with her for publication projects and she's hard-working, thoughtful, charismatic, and open-minded, and has a clear commitment to her career."
"In her portraits, Kristen captures the perfect photo and the emotion that inspired the moment. Her other photos show details and beauty in everyday things or places that most of us would miss. And from perspectives that completely change a chipped up fire hydrant or an old bicycle basket with some faded old beads into art."
"Kristen’s technical skills and judgment are thorough, sound and highly inventive.
Creatively, she understands style, subject matter and above all, superior quality. Her no-nonsense
approach to set up and shoot helped maintain a professional atmosphere"
"Not only did Kristen do a great job in capturing the perfect shots and writing up an entertaining piece for us at Romantic Homes Magazine every time, but she was always enthusiastic and a joy to work with. I highly recommend her as a writer and photographer who is always open to direction, approaches us with neat ideas and a reliable contributor you can count on."
"Kristen took the most beautiful photos for my daughter's graduation and truly captured the spirit of my child. I highly recommend Kristen for her unique perspective and creative intuition."
"During our time in Jamaica, Kristen was able to switch gears at a moments notice when plans changed.
Her outgoing personality made the children very comfortable and she was able to capture
hundreds of images with her keen eye for storytelling The photographs allowed us to convey
the people and culture we serve and tell their story to our supporters and followers."
"Her easy-going attitude coupled with her efficiency while working made the photoshoot run smoothly and made everyone feel comfortable. I enjoy seeing her work and reading her stories behind the photos; she captures the joy, love, creativity, and energy so perfectly!"
"Kristen has taken some of the most iconic images in my career as a stage actor. She has also immortalized cherished personal events. She always brings with her a sharp eye for detail and an an air of professionalism, but she never loses her charming demeanor or sweet sense of humor. Couldn't recommend her higher!"
"Kristen Wheeler has the ability to capture the love of the moment in an image, freezing it in time. I look through these pictures and cry, because I can feel those moments again and again."