Karen I. Hirsch Photography

khirsch@kihphoto.com            312-658-0700


As a junior at the University of Illinois, Karen was inspired to buy her first 35mm camera the weekend before she left for a year of study in France.  Little did she know that this purchase would change the direction of her life.  

Karen soon discovered that she had inherited a sensibility for color and composition as well as a great sense of timing.  During grad school, she joined an international photographic group in Barcelona, Spain where she was living while teaching English at the University.  She continued to develop her technical skills.  After returning to the United States, she studied with some of the best photographers around - Ernst Haas, Arnold Newman and Jay Maisel.  Her photos were published in newspapers, books and magazines. This eventually landed her a job at Foote, Cone & Belding Advertising in Chicago as in-house photographer and editor of internal communications.  In this role, she was constantly challenged by a variety of projects - portraits, events, architectural photography, event photography, product photography, even videos - which she successfully completed with creative flair.

In 1991, Karen went out on her own.  Clients such as Fidelity, Marlboro, and the Illinois Tourism Bureau have used her images to communicate their marketing message.  Her dynamic sailboat racing images have become well known in the yachting community.  In 2003, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs hosted Karen’s  photographic exhibit, “My Chicago,” a 25 year retrospective featuring more than 200 of her images of Chicago. This photo show was installed at the Richard J. Daley Civic Center in the heart of the City.   In 2007, the Chinese government invited Karen to be one of ten foreign photographers to photograph the city of Rizhao.

Adapting to the digital revolution, Karen has entered a new phase in her career.  The computer has become a new favorite tool. She uses it for interpreting photographs that she has made with her camera and for creating original works of self-expression.

Karen is an active member of the American Society of Media Photographers and president of the Fort Dearborn - Chicago Photo Forum.

Portrait of Karen I. Hirsch


Artist and Communicator