Interview by Tiffany Reed Briley
Karen, you and I met back in October and it was an instant connection. Within moments I found you to be one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. So when Really Right Stuff asked us to conduct this interview with you, I was all over it! Here is my first question: What is at the heart of your passion and inspiration for photography?
Ok, first of all, my family was taking photographs before I was born. After my mother passed away, we found photos of the Norwegian side of our family coming to America on a ship in the late 1800s, early 1900s. You would think that they had pocket cameras or something, they took so many pictures! The prints looked like they had been made yesterday – it was amazing. It also explained the insane number of photos my mother’s family took of her – and she of us.
But the defining moment happened when I was very young. I had visions back then, and thought it was all perfectly normal. I had one in particular that really stood out; it stuck with me all my life. In it, I was standing on the stage of this beautiful old theatre. Every seat was full and all eyes were looking up at me. I stood there, arms outstretched, just so ‘in the moment’. I was either talking or singing. But the incredible part was that this huge column of light poured down from above into the top of my head and through my body, out of my hands, arms, mid section and mouth, washing out over everyone in the audience, filling up the entire theatre. As soon as it did, everyone was instantly healed or changed in some way for the better. I could see it in their faces, see the change right there as it happened. It was amazing! They walked out transformed.
So, at 8 or 9 years old, what was the message there? I really had no clue back then, but knew that it tied into my purpose for being here on this earth. I knew that, whatever I ultimately did or became, it would always have to be about light in some way. I made choices to act, sing, dance, perform and teach based upon that vision, thinking that maybe they were the avenues for it. All I knew/saw/heard was light, light, light. What am I supposed to do that is about light?
So you would say then that at the heart of all your passion and inspiration is light?
Yes. Literally. In every way. That vision, and so many others, just ...