Tell us about yourself. Where you are from?
Hi! I’m Karen Thom. I’m Canadian and currently live on the gorgeous southern west coast of British Columbia, Canada. I’m reminded daily by my picturesque surroundings (and the news) how truly fortunate I am.
What are your passions and hobbies?
My first passion is my family and friends…always. But I’ve almost always been a hobbyist and love and value the moments where I’m free to create. I can be moderately (I hope) obsessive about these ever-changing passions; more recently woodworking, graphic design and currently photography; sometimes all of the above. A perfect and fulfilling evening for me is being in my bed (otherwise known as my office), with my laptop and a new batch of photos to review. That moment when you know you’ve captured something special is so exciting and gratifying.
Could you tell us a little bit about your photography background?
I’m relatively new to photography and an experiential learner. I have a lot to learn, and fortunately for me, I know I’m going to love every minute of it. I see the world differently now, with fabulous photo opportunities almost everywhere. Plus, I’m inspired daily by the amazing images I see on Instagram by new friends from around the world. As a self-taught amateur, I look forward to the day when I dare call myself a ‘photographer’.
What do you consider a “a photo opportunity”?
For me, a “photo opportunity” is pretty much any time I have my camera in hand. There’s almost always something to snap a shot(s) of. Sometimes the most interesting images come from the least expected or mundane moments.
Do you have many clients? Have you sent your work out?
As a hobbyist, I’ve never sought opportunities to ‘send my work out’ but have received a few different expressions of interest via Instagram. Specifically, one from a publishing house in the UK was especially flattering and intriguing. Fortunately for me, the inquiries often seem to come in those moments when I’m questioning myself and the time I spend on this. They always leave me re-energized to continue.
It doesn’t feel like work, but I do have a really enjoyable ‘gig’ with a local ladies’ fashion boutique; managing social media, photography and website support. Being surrounded by beautiful, on-trend fashion always excites and motivates me.
I do a lot of volunteer work for local NGOs designing material for various campaigns/fundraising efforts etc.; i.e. refugee resettlement, marginalized children/youths etc. I live a good life and will do everything I can to help ensure others are given equal opportunities.
Could you tell us a bit about your woodworking and graphic designing adventures? And how do you think they work alongside your photography?
Perhaps because of my upbringing in northern, rural Canada, I love wood and everything about it. The scents, the exotic character, so unique in each piece. I’ve dabbled in woodworking for years, and enjoy creating pieces from fresh cut, or most often from scraps of waste or scavenged wood. The more wear and tear on the initial piece of wood the more appeal or charm the finished product will have.
This interview process has underscored for me how much of an experiential learner I am. With little to no time or opportunity for courses or formal training I’ve grown accustomed to figuring things out along the way. I’m resourceful, I think I have good judgement and I know what I like and more so, what I don’t like. This has been the case with graphic design as well. I could spend hours, (days), on my laptop creating promotional posters/material, invitations, tickets or editing photos. This is what completes me.
I was interested in graphic design long before photography came into my life and now I can’t imagine one without the other. I’m thrilled about the prospects as this evolves.
What are your plans for the future of your photography?
It’s been less than a year since I acquired my camera and I’m excited to continue learning and growing. Although I’m pleased with my accomplishments thus far, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Photography inspires me to be open minded, imaginative, curious and unafraid to embrace the opportunities to click. Although I’m usually goal oriented, I don’t have an end game and enjoy taking this aspect of my life one day at a time.
Karen Thom only recently discovered her passion for photography and finds the very personal and private experience of capturing and creating images fulfilling and cathartic. For Karen, less is definitely more, as she’s drawn to nature’s subtle and alluring beauty, and movement. With much of life being so structured, she finds great comfort in the absence of rules, boundaries, and expectations throughout her creative process. If you’re on Instagram, find her at @ginandthomic