AP: Info about your company: location, number of employees, focus/specialty, website,
KH: Karen I. Hirsch Photography is located in downtown Chicago, right by Michigan Avenue.
Address: 70 East Lake Street Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601 www.karenihirsch.com 312-658-0700.
I do commercial, corporate, editorial, event and fine art photography. My background is not typical. Originally, I learned how to use a 35mm camera and print black and white photos
when I lived in France and Spain during college. After returning home to Chicago, I began working full-time at an advertising agency. On the side, I freelanced for the Chicago Sun-
Times, writing travel articles that were illustrated with my photos.
In addition to my regular day job, I took classes at night and weekends for a couple of years at Columbia College to learn filmmaking and video production. I was asked to join Foote,
Cone & Belding Advertising as their in-house photographer and magazine editor. There, I equipped a photo studio where I did portraits, product shots, and animatics. Besides studio photography, I did environmental portraiture, product photography, commercial production stills, event photography, architectural photography, and even produced some videos. Doing research, generating ideas for articles, interviewing people, writing and overseeing layout design were all part of the job. In 1991, I flew the corporate coop and went
out on my own. The pillars of my photography business are assignment and stock photography. My images have been featured in books, magazines, newspapers, calendars,
websites and television documentaries. Architectural Digest, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune Magazine and Sailing World are some of the magazines, which have showcased my photos.
Corporations and individual collectors purchase my fine art prints. I hope to be able to expand my business by using my library of images for licensing and fine art.
AP: Upcoming seminars/presentations you're teaching.
KH: Currently, I am serving a second year as president of Fort Dearborn-Chicago Photo Forum where I schedule educational programs. I run the monthly digital competitions and
occasionally teach Photoshop. We are in the midst of planning our first international digital competition, which has really got me pumped! In February, we will be posting call-for-entries
information on our website at www.chicagophotoforum.org. We are so pleased that The Lab by Apollo is one of our major sponsors. I am also currently showing work in a 5-artist exhibit
hosted by Raymond James, a financial services company. There are two photographers andthree painters represented in the show. The company is using the display as a focal point for
client seminars on art as an investment. I will be presenting some of my other work to the audience during their seminars.
AP: The latest trends/techniques in professional photography.
KH: Multi-media seems to be a big trend. Mixing stills with music, narration and video will continue to grow in popularity. New ways to present work to clients in digital interactive portfolios. New substrates for presenting work - aluminum, Plexiglas, fabric Digital Painting output to canvas I am continually learning and experimenting with new technology, new
formats and new materials to present photography. I took classes in "digital painting" taught by San Francisco-based artist Jeremy Sutton (Corel Painter guru. I regularly attend workshops to keep up-to-date with graphic computer applications. The people at the Apple store in Chicago all know me because I am there so often for one-to-one classes. I've found that one of the best ways to learn and to network is to go to conventions or week-long
programs like FOTOfusion in West Palm Beach, Florida where professional photographers, editors, curators and manufacturers gather.
AP: What sets you apart from other photographers?
KH: • Ability to do many kinds of photography well:
In 2007, the Chinese government invited me as one of ten foreign photographers to photograph the city of Rizhao. I was able to create photos with impact when I was placed in
multiple types of environments - in manufacturing plants, a kindergarten, fishing village, museums, and parks. My sense of graphic design, precise timing, and my ability to connect
with my subjects seem to be a good combination.
• Credentials and experience:
I have studied with some of the world's best photographers: Ernst Haas, Arnold Newman and Jay Maisel. My images have earned international recognition and won the grand prize in a
Kodak competition that had 11,000 entries and the grand prize in the Fuji/American Society of Media Photographers competition. My images have been chosen for the Communication
Arts and Graphics photography annuals. This year, my work received honorable mentions in PX3 competition based in Paris and in the International Photography Awards competition.
• Personal qualities:
Curious, creative, dependable, perseverant, non-threatening, and able to listen to others.
(Side note: Feels like I'm filling out a form for a dating service)
AP: Favorite subject/event to photograph and why?
KH: I love to capture a moment that is here and then gone in an instant. For example, I like to photograph a moving "target" in sports or document a person moving within an interesting
setting, especially showing perspective between the person and his environment. It's a high to catch the precise moment when composition, lighting and "gesture" fall into place. That
moment will never reoccur in an identical way, and I have "captured" it. It's unique. It's one point in history. It makes sense then that I like capturing the natural reactions and fleeting expressions of people. It's also no wonder that I love to photograph sailboat racing -The combination of weather, angles of the boats, colors of boats and sails are constantly in flux. I find that celebrities and musicians are also especially fun to photograph. Paradoxically, I thoroughly enjoy photographing abstracts and creating collages from elements
of architecture or other still objects of form, color and texture. Go figure.
AP: What have you been up to this summer?
KH: During summers, I photograph sailboat racing which is one of my specialties.
AP: Apollo products you use most often/popular sellers/your favorite?
KH: I like to use the me-notes as give-aways to clients.
AP: What cameras do you use?
KH: I use a Nikon D200 primarily and always carry my Nikon Coolpix 5100 with me forshooting at the spur-of-the moment when I see something interesting. I have started playing
with its video function.
AP: What’s in your Camera bag?
KH: I use a waterproof Pelican case, which comes in handy when I am on a boat and a sudden wave washes aboard. The deck gets soaked, but my stowed equipment remains dry. Along with my two cameras, I carry - a wide-angle 18-70 zoom, telephoto 70-300mm zoom and a SB800 flash. In my pocket, my Coolpix 5100 is ever ready for action.
AP: Do you like to shoot indoor or outdoor? And why?
KH: I do both. Because I can.
AP: What lens is your favorite to shoot with?
KH: 70-300mm when photographing racing, and a18-70mm when photographing generally.
AP: What’s your favorite photo shop tool/filter?
KH: I use the smart sharpen filter faithfully. I like to be able to adjust the color temperature of an image in Bridge. I also like Photoshop's black and white conversion filter in RGB mode,
which allows you to adjust the tone of each color separately.
AP: What is on your equipment wish list?
KH: Mac Powerbook Intel G5 laptop, Nikon D300s, a wider angle zoom lens, Epson 3880 printer and an Epson digital projector.
AP: What is your MUST have in photography equipment?
KH: My laptop and portable Lacie external hard drives and firewire downloader, SB800 flash along with my camera and lenses of course. Coincidentally, that's exactly what I have.
AP: Any tips or advice for your fellow photographers out there?
KH: Marketing and selling is essential to be successful, no matter how talented you are. You need to have a website that is pertinent to your target market. Have a good contact
management program and learn to use graphic applications like Adobe In Design and Acrobat. Never stop learning.
AP: Do you have a funny or crazy story that happened when you were shooting?
KH: Many. Here's one. I went to the Bulls vs. Blazers championship game in 1992 accompanying a group from the Oregonian newspaper. After the Bulls won the game, the
newspaper guys asked me to guard their extra equipment on the game floor while they went to the locker room to photograph the players. I was bummed, because I wanted to go with
them, but obligingly stayed behind. The crowd was dispersing when suddenly I heard a commotion. I looked up and saw the Bulls team emerging back onto the floor. I was able to
get some shots of Michael Jordan, and the group hoisting the prized championship trophy. These photos were later featured in a book on Chicago and were included in my one-woman
show, "My Chicago" at the Daley Civic Center.
AP: Remember to add anything that you want…
KH: A couple of projects that I participated in that are highlights in my career. - Helping to organize " 24 hours in Chicago" in 1987 when 87 photographers photographed the Windy
City. The project raised needed funds to keep Fort Dearborn-Chicago Photo Forum running. I also participated in what I believe was the first international digital competition on the Internet
- The Millennium Photo Project. For a 24-hour period at the turning of the year 2000, more than 5000 people from 117 countries documented what was happening around the globe. (I
photographed the Mayor Richard M. Daley's international New Year's Eve dinner at McCormick Place. The City of Chicago had invited two people from every country in the world to gather there to celebrate.) A book, Dawn of the 21st Century, resulted from the Millennium project and I was pleased to help initiate a yearlong exhibit of 50 of the best images at Chicago O’Hare Airport's international terminal.
Check out some of her work ...