Imagine having the same career for 5 decades. Go ahead… imagine it! Take a moment to mull it over. I don’t mind waiting. [checks email, watches the latest Jimmy Fallon lip-synch contest on YouTube, has a snack.]
Now imagine loving it so much that it refreshes you, defines you, reinvents you on a regular basis… and that you still love traveling 9 months out of the year? And that in those travels, you’re doing your part to save the world, bringing awareness to conservation and to indigenous people… living your entire life as if it were your most passionate, leave-the-world-better-than-when-you-entered-it art. Amazing, right? Who DOES that??
Being interviewed is fun – and always a bit surreal. Especially when an entire 1 hour show is dedicated to YOU!
But photographer Paul Griffiths makes it easy.
Recently, he asked if I’d join him on his video podcast (is that a “vlodcast”?) titled “Live and Uncut“, which he publishes on his blog: “One Camera, One Lens.” I was happy to do it. even though it’s a whole hour talking about myself – something I don’t always feel comfortable doing. That’s a whole lot of oneself!
Paul is an apprentice in The Arcanum, and is a member my friend Valerie Jardin’s cohort. They study street photography over there… but I guess he got landscape-curious. 😀
I guess cross-discipline-curious is going around, since I’m joining Valerie in Paris next year as a guest of her spring workshop. (did I say that out loud? Man, just LOOK at all the scoops you get here first! I’m not officially announcing Paris yet. But it’s coming. heh.)
Anyhoo, Paul and I had a good time on his show… which you can see right here. And check out his other episodes – they’re great!
Whew! What a summer it’s been. Who knew you could get so busy – and in so many ways? Hey, no complaints – but I’m tha-RILLED to be back ON with The Chat after its unintentional summer hiatus… because people, I’ve got some amaaaazing folks to share with you!
To kick it off… I’m stoked to present Chris MacAskill. Talk about deep. And awesome! You may know him as President and co-owner (along with son Don MacAskill) of SmugMug, Inc… one of the top photo-sharing, photo-selling sites in the world. But did you know he was a Geophysicist? That he was founder and co-owner of Fatbrain.com, Inc.? That he worked with Steve Jobs at Apple… or how being at ground zero on 9/11 completely changed the direction of his life?
Well, then this is The Chat to watch! Because we talk about all that – and quite a bit more in this action-packed episode. His story is one incredible journey, paved with one stunning tale after another. Plus we take a tour of SmugMug HQ in Mountain View, California and hear stories about some of his favorite photographs on the wall. I mean HUGE photographs! Baldy (as his friends call him) doesn’t do anything halfway, let me tell you. In fact, there was so much to cover, we made this episode plus two short “extras”; pieces that I’ll show separately from this one, but are no less fantastical.
Life + Story = Chris MacAskill. I hope you enjoy getting to know this positively inspirational man!
And… look for 3 episodes of “The Chat Extras” that I shot with Chris this day over the coming couple of weeks! They’re pure inspiration…
PS… huge thanks and gratitude goes to Michael Bonocore, for filming our “walkabout” through SmugMug HQ… and helping create our cozy “set” for the day!
Once again, this episode was filmed by Kelby Media’s stunning video crew – who volunteered to do it! They just blow me away on every level; from their professionalism and beautiful lighting/set design… to their smiles, great sense of humor and positive energy whilst working with me. HUGE GRATITUDE and a big smackeroo on the cheek to each one of them!
As for RC… well, the man is peerless at what he does. You’ll hear it all in the intro of this episode; photographer, author, dad, Lightroom and Photoshop expert, teaches all over the world, musician – AND he used to be a DJ and drive an ice-cream truck! Oh wait… did I mention he has a degree in Education? Yeah, the man is a dang genius.
But besides all that, RC is generous, has a huge heart and is an absolute delight. He’s got so much going on – I could do an entire other episode, not touch on ANY of the same stuff and it would be equally as fascinating.
Here, then, is RC Concepcion as you may never have seen him!! Big hugs and thumbs-up for joining me on this one, my friend. 😀
The first time we tried doing a Chat last December, Frederick Van Johnson and I were in a mood. A silly mood. A silly, goofy, kid-like mood that resulted in recording an entire episode that I actually had to scrap! That’s what happens when Frederick and I get together sometimes, er, a lot of the time! Got friends like that? Where anytime you hangout all hell-arity breaks loose? Hahahah, it’s funny and I love it. But it didn’t do the right job of presenting the absolutely amazing Frederick Van Johnson.
Scott Kelby is an icon in the Photography world. And rightfully so! His list of accomplishments is a mile long and growing, his influence is global, his vision has helped evolve an industry. That would be reason enough to want to do a Chat with him… but he’s also a devoted husband and father, a photographer, a businessman and a human who genuinely loves what he does and loves life! He has made his art his life – and lives his life in a most artful way.
How This Chat Came About
I visited Kelby Media in Florida to visit with my friend (and Scott’s wife) Kalelbra Kelby… and while I was at it, joined Scott and Matt Klowkowski for an episode of “The Grid”. That same day, Scott graciously made time to sit down with me and share his views on art, life and business. And by the way, I have to share a story about that…
So, there we were. I had my list of questions at the ready, we were just about ready to start… when RC Concepcion leaned down to my ear, and in a stage whisper said: “Ask Scott to tell the story about what teaching means to him and what’s behind all of this.” Or words to that effect.. and of course, by “all of this”, he was referring to the world of Kelby Media.
What followed is this episode. It was a revelation; so moving, so deep, heartfelt and genuine. Scott opened up in ways that will probably take you by surprise. He is incredibly passionate about teaching – and about making knowledge accessible to the many, not only the few. You’re about to find out why… and discover the moment in Scott’s life that started an empire.
A couple of months ago, I visited Kelby Media in Florida. My primary purpose was to visit my friend Kalebra Kelby… but it evolved into a content creation extravaganza! I was asked to be a guest on The Grid, which I was so delighted to do… plus I got to do episodes of The Chat with both Scott Kelby and RC Concepcion (which will be coming up in the next few weeks!). EVERYONE at Kelby Media in incredible in every way… and when they offered to make a set and actually handle the shooting of this episode, I thought I’d gone to heaven! I accepted their wonderful offer, am incredibly grateful to them… and am completely and utterly spoiled now! hahaha!
Scott Kelby: Teaching is Absolutely His Passion
Coming up on Wednesday: Scott Kelby!! I’m practically bursting at the seams with excitement to share this episode with you. I love it with all my heart – and I think you will too! It goes deep – and he shares his heart with us.
Teaching is woven into Scott Kelby’s soul. In Wednesday’s full episode, he shares an incredibly powerful and personal story about how his passion for teaching was triggered. But in this clip, he sets the stage by sharing how he feels about it, where it comes from. To him, its a calling; one that a person is born with. And for Kelby, it’s one that has launched an legacy… and an empire.
My guest on this episode of “The Chat” is award-winning children’s portrait photographer Tamara Lackey. She’s a radiant, beautiful ball of fabulous energy!
She and I had only met briefly once before at Photoshop World last year: this was actually our first real conversation. I can tell you she’s just as natural and easy to be with in person as she is in her videos, on stage or behind the camera. Tamara possesses a rare blend of authenticity, along with a genuine joy, interest and zest for life that shows up in everything she does. I’m also convinced those qualities are a huge part of what makes her such an outstanding photographer as well.
Part of what we photographers do is present a unique vision and point of view. Tamara’s photographs positively bubble over with both hers – and that of her innocently delightful subjects.
I ask her how she keeps her crazy schedule together (did I mention she’s also a teacher, author, speaker, host, mom and wife?), how she manages to have some kind of balance and flow… what her 3 favorite tips for better photographs are… and what legacy she hopes she is creating for her own children… and so much more!
I hope you are as inspired as I am by the amazing Tamara Lackey…
I only met her for the first time when we all converged upon Castello di Amorosa with my pal Annette Biggers for a photo shoot. Jennifer and her daughter Bella were the focus of the weekend; they had a story to tell and they did it beautifully.
Jennifer started her acting career at 9 years of age. She starred in My Wife and Kids with Damon Wayans… and growing up, appeared in feature films like You Got Served Johnson Family Vacation and Mercy Street as well as guest appearances on TV shows like 7th Heaven, Switched, One on One and The OC.
But now, Jennifer has begun a new chapter of her life and career as a single mom, calling the shots in her acting career and being a voice for young women who also have big dreams and aspirations. She’s so young herself; but she knows what she wants her life and work to stand for, both for herself and her daughter.
BTW, we almost didn’t have this Chat! Through Annette, Jennifer communicated the fact that “Interviews make me so nervous!” I completely understood – and was game if she wanted to do it, but totally fine if she opted out. I’m so grateful she dove in, because we had a great time. And now YOU get to hear how she keeps her mind right amidst all the chaos of Hollywood, her belief in the importance of empowering girls and young women to follow their dreams, the shift she’s experienced since stepping back into the acting world after a break to discover more of life – and see some beautiful images from the photo shoot.
I’m delighted for the opportunity to present Jennifer Freeman…
Matt Kloskowski is a super awesome professional photographer, photography and Photoshop instructor for the world-renowned Kelby Media Group. He travels all over, spreading the good word about Lightroom and Photoshop to audiences numbering in the hundreds, all over the country. He’s like an encyclopedia of knowledge and awesome know-how in the world of photography.
He’s also a regular guy and my friend.
Matt was in California to give a Lightroom workshop for an audience of 400 (!), so he called me up to go shooting. We hit Lake Tahoe, which also seemed a lovely and fitting spot to do our Chat.
This particular Chat really is just that… a chat about a bunch of different topics from photography to family to thoughts about life. It was all very informal and laid back, which was so fun. You’ll also get to see a slew of Matt’s photos, which are, as you might imagine… stunning!! Plus… you and I get to drive over together an pick Matt up. HeeHee… and fun new experiment I tried.
In this week’s episode of The Chat, I visit with Vic Gundotra; Senior Vice President of Social at Google. He and his team are also the creators of Google+… the social network that literally changed everything for me. I was so excited to sit down with him – the only agony was trimming the huge herd of questions I had!
Here’s a sneak peak at what’s coming this Monday… when my guest will be Vic Gundotra!
Vic is the Senior Vice President of Social at Google. He and his team are the innovators behind Google+, which sees 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week as of this show – and growing.
Vic graciously agreed to sit down with me and Chat with me about whatever I wanted to ask… he made no rules, nothing was off-limits. I was most interested in some things social… but all things inspiration. Turns out, what inspires him largely the role technology needs to play in bringing us closer to each other – and our own humanity.
In this clip, he talks about where he sees Social going… and the role of photography within that. He says “I think we’re just getting started”. I think he may be right!
There was such a great response to my recent episode of The Chat with Keoki Flagg! Thanks to all of you who watched and appreciated. Keoki has such depth to his talent and perspective that it’s always a treat to chat with him. In the course of his episode, he shared so many awesome ideas and tips that I just had to highlight a couple!
This is just one of them… and perfect byte-sized minute for anyone who hasn’t seen this episode yet, or just want a reminder and a “think about it” moment to take home with them:
I’ve been a fan of fine art and extreme sports photographer Keoki Flagg’s work for years. You’ll see the photo that did it for me right at the beginning of this video… I giggled when I first saw it, and still do when I see it today! It’s emotional, original and timeless. Those are the 3 qualities Keoki always says are what brings a photograph from “a picture” to “art”… a topic we talk a lot about in this episode.
We have a fantastic time chatting about photography, art, living life as an artist, some ways of approaching one’s photo work to set it apart from others’, what it’s been like to transition from the “old school” to “new digital age” of photography… what’s possible now that never was before and how he’s trying to push it to the limit.
Sitting in his fabulous Gallery Keoki, it was hard NOT to feel more artistic! It’s a beautiful space, created to hold a vision “bigger than a lifetime” (to coin my friend Daria Musk’s term!).
It was the perfect place to bring you this episode of THE CHAT with my friend Keoki Flagg.
My good friend Gordon Laing can tell you a thing or a several thousand about cameras! His hugely popular website CameraLabs.com serves up a few million pages of thoroughly researched, highly detailed camera reviews and videos each day. His YouTube channel has experienced over 27 million views alone, due in no small part to Gordon’s thoroughly engaging personality and passion for cameras and photography.
I love hanging out with Gordon – and this was no exception! He and his family recently returned to England after an 18 month “extended holiday” abroad. It started as a short vacation, but when the time came to go home the Laings said, “Why?” and just kept on going! Haven’t YOU ever wanted to do that? Gordon’s business and the family’s love of travel and seeing other cultures made it all possible, but what’s it really like trying to work over the internet, travel and raise a family simultaneously?
Check this dream off the list: “Do an episode of ‘The Chat’ with Makana“. Done. Check. Sigh.
Makana is an internationally acclaimed slack key guitarist, singer, and composer. Described as “dazzling” by the New York Times, he is considered to be the greatest living player of the art form. His song “Deep In An Ancient Hawaiian Forest” is featured on the Academy Award winning soundtrack for The Descendents with George Clooney. He’s toured with Sting, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello and Jason Mraz. Appeared on CNN, the BBC, ABC and other major news outlets. He has played for the President. His newest album “Ripe” was produced by a multi-platium producer and boasts contributions by grammy award winning talent.
Music in a Redwood Forest
Despite all the heady accolades, for our Chat Makana just wanted to be somewhere natural and peaceful, where music could lead the conversation. So that’s exactly what we did. We schlepped our gear into an ancient redwood forest in Felton, California. We talk about what slack key guitar, what it’s all about, the tuning, his thoughts on the true nature of activism… and he plays segments of several of his well-known songs all throughout. Plus, I got to hear a funny brand new tune that I’d never heard before!
Last week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a big Sony DI event in Nashville, Tennessee. Amidst a group of other ‘influencers’ as they called our conglomerate group of about 40 photographers, press, bloggers and journalists, we tested the new line of mirrorless cameras and video gear. I focused on the A7, A7r and RX10 for my purposes, that of writing a featured blog post for Trey Ratcliff’s famed travel/photography blog Stuck in Customs.
The other Big Thing I wanted to do was an episode of THE CHAT with the ever-awesome Frederick Van Johnson and Gordon Laing. My original vision: a rapid-fire round table, Chat-style conversation about OUR first impressions of these impressive Sony cameras, shot on one of the new cameras. It would be tight, informative and fun.
What I didn’t count on what NO time to prepare and almost no time to shoot! Nor that the only place to shoot would be an incredible echoey (albeit lovely) room, that the air sound from the big storm outside would factor into every bit of audio we recorded, with or without lavalier mics and that it wouldn’t work out to use one of the new cameras (thus, shot this on Fred’s NEX-5r). But I knew I was dealing with pros (I call them my Wingmen 😀 ), so I knew if we just sat down and started, something fun would happen. And it did! Sometimes you just have to let go and jump…
Oh and ummm… outtakes at the very end. Silly, silly outtakes.
Part of being a whole and healthy creative/artist is taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally – and financially. When it comes to the financial part, Stacey Powell is the bomb! She’s a speaker, author, consultant, CFO and financial coach who specializes in creatives and artists. In fact, she was MY financial coach for 3+ years, during which time I tripled my income in voiceovers. Her life’s mission: “To change the way people interact with their money, so they can lead a more peaceful, confident and purposeful lives.” In today’s episode of THE CHAT… she shares perspectives and super simple ways to do just that. I adore Stacey for her passion, her unique wisdom and her way of making the sometimes emotionally charged topic of money simple and artistic unto itself.
The other reason I love Stacey Powell? She’s the one who began my highly intentional “living life as an artist” focus, which lead to the creation of this show! At one point in my coaching, I was struggling to let go of my overly controlling, judgmental attitude toward myself and my work. But the artist-photographer in me was rattling the cage to get out and be a force in the world. So she tasked me to dedicate 30 days to “living your life as an artist” (by a definition we agreed upon) – and doing nothing but that. No judgments, no fussing, just lead with heart and gut and see what happens. 30 days became 60, then 90 – then I never looked back. It changed absolutely everything about my life!
And so, without further fanfare and ado (although trust me, it continues EVERYWHERE in the background!)… I’m thrilled to present Stacey Powell.
Tech exec, mentor, leader, innovator, photographer, dad Peter Giordano (www.PeterGiordano.com) has such a refreshing view of life and career. One of the things I love most about talking business and career with him is how easily he takes complex ideas and shapes them into simple models that make wrapping my head around those tough, “too-many-options” decisions a cakewalk!
Speaking of Too Many Options… I had that problem in choosing our theme for this episode! Peter is so versatile and interesting to talk to, it was a challenge honing down my list! But what captured my attention for all of us artist/creative types, is his really simple system for defining the best place to focus our attention for the best possible outcome in our career path.
A Simple System
Most creatives I know are incredibly multi-talented. And we all want to build (or change) our career around something we’re good at, love to do and can make money at. We’d like some method to help us choose what things we’re going to do for our own satisfaction – and what we’ll do for money. We want to be sure we’re spending our time and resources on the right stuff and not spinning our wheels. And it changes over time! It’s a dilemma I hear over and over with my photographer, artist and musician friends. Well, Peter’s got SUCH a great approach to that whole conundrum… I decided to start there. It’s brilliant!
In the last episode of “The Chat” (click this link to see it!) I talked with Gordon Fowler, President and CEO of 3 Fold Communications. He’s also a dear friend of many years, whom I’ve seen through more than one job, cross country moves, a divorce, raising three boys, starting a multi-million dollar ad and marketing agency from scratch.
Gordon’s a bit of an overachiever. One of our bonding points. Heh. Consequently, when we recording HIS Chat episode, we did not one – but two complete run throughs. Each had so many choice nuggets of information and insight, I couldn’t let the second one go to waste! So here are some of the OTHER topics we covered that day.
Here, Gordon talks about Legacy (one of my favorite topics):
One of the biggest quandaries I hear creatives and artists having is dealing the business side of things. If you’ve chosen to do your art as a profession – that adds a WHOLE other layer to the life ‘n career cake! In dreaming up THE CHAT, I knew up front that I wanted to bring in some of the best people I know who are uniquely successful at combining the creative and business side of things for some valuable input.
Meet Gordon Fowler. President and CEO of 3Fold Communications in Sacramento, CA – a multi-million dollar, award-winning ad and marketing agency. His bio on the 3fold website reads: “Visionary leader meets savvy marketing guy. Disturbingly addicted to reality TV “just for the commercials and product endorsements of course.”
This dedication to “research” must contribute to his truly exceptional strategic thinking.” Hehhehheh. Naturally, the lightness of the message belies the depth of his experience, brilliance, dedication and leadership.
I know a thing or two about what’s “behind the curtain” with Gordon, because he’s also been a dear friend of mine for 20 years, give or take. He taught me some of the most valuable business lessons I’ve ever learned. He was super excited to Chat with me and share some really simple – yet profound insights that he’s distilled down over the years. Simple yes – but not always so easy to do. You’ll see me take mental notes more than once in this episode!
BTW… this was my very first CHAT episode done on-location. I did it as a trial – and loved the results so much I haul my gear around and do them this way as much as possible now! It all started with Gordon. Alot of things do. 🙂
Can’t tell you how thrilled I am to present the awesomeness of Gordon Fowler!
I’ve known Ron Clifford for over 2 years now. For close to a year of that, we co-hosted the show “LIFE Through the Lens“. We’ve talked via hangout and phone, solved the problems of the world many times over.
However, the day we recorded this episode of THE CHAT was the very first time we’d met in person!! It was completely amazeballs!! A whole gaggle of us photographers descended upon Las Vegas, Nevada for Photoshop World earlier this month – including Ron, who flew down from Canada. Knowing THAT was going to happen… I decided there would be no Hangouts OnAir for us! Only an in-person, on-location Chat was going to cut it.
In keeping with our “awesome photographer” roll of late, I was SUPER stoked to Chat with Laurie Rubin!
She’s a Googler, award-winning wildlife and nature photographer and I’m delighted that she’s also my friend.
When it comes to animals and photography – you have never seen someone drop into “the zone” faster than Laurie when she’s got a critter in her photographic crosshairs. It’s an amazing transformation to behold! She’s so understated about her fabulous work… but I think you’ll agree with me that it’s pretty much jaw-dropping.
Laurie’s made a career and life out of photography… both with camera in-hand and as part of the NIK Software team that joined Google. There, she is part of a team on the cutting edge of some of the most exciting developments in photography today. Even still, home and heart is out in nature with her beloved animals. It’s all part of the inspired world of Laurie Rubin… who today, shares her photography, advice for young’ns just starting out, and the great humor and passion that makes her photo-awesome!
I have long admired Nicole S. Young. Not only is she a fabulous photographer… she lives her life as an artist AND a successful entrepreneur, tirelessly creating content and growing her empire. I often hear photographers and other artists wondering how to make a living at their craft and passion… all the while Nicole is cranking out yet another ebook, stock photograph, print book, tutorial, preset photo pack, blog post, interview, guest article, fine art print, you name it. All the while being a fantastic dog mom, wife and budding potter! It’s all just part of being Nicole…her intense creativity combined with an unparalleled gift for building her business make her a creative force magnificent to behold. She knows that if she can imagine it – she can do it. And boy, does she ever!
I’ve said often; one of my aims with this show is to chat with all kind of people who are “living their life as an artist… or better yet, living their life as if it were their art.” By that, I mean folks who spend their time creating their life by looking up and moving forward. They often make unconventional choices, find success using a combination of their imagination, hard work (which, because they love what they do, doesn’t seem so hard) and, as my mother used to say… using every permissible aid to further their mission and cause. They find joy and delight in doing so… and know that their great ideas are only as good as the actions they take to manifest them.
That’s what’s so inspiring about Nicole. She just has that “can do” attitude. She built her own online store, handles the writing AND the design on many of her eBooks, builds her own websites, cooks all the food she uses for the hugely successful stock food photography arm of her business, the list goes on. She’s also now taking classes and making pottery. I’ve seen a few of her pieces – they’re amazing!
As photographers, most of us use Lightroom and/or Photoshop… it’s just that as Nicole uses them, she also creates presets, actions and texture packs that she then sells on her website’s online store. She not only goes out and takes gorrrrgeous landscape photos, she writes a book and makes an accompanying video tutorial to help others do it better. And then shares some of the best tips on her social streams for free and does a quick (also free) 2 minute tutorial about some important aspect of the process.
I’m constantly fascinated to see how her mind works – the business and creative sides so closely interwoven it’s effortless.
What can I say? Nicole inspires me so much – I figured you’d love to meet her too.
"Love your blog. I stop by for the photography, I linger for the philosophy."
Kelley Morgan, Portland OR
"A beautiful mind will produce beautiful results. And to say the least, yours is a beautiful mind! Thank you for your wisdom and your inner "speak," as they both produce true art from the heart …"
Joe Hudspeth, Prineville OR
"Thank you Karen. A wonderful story but only the tip of the iceberg, the bigger part below the water is all the thousands of photographers you have inspired to chart their own journey, I know as I am one of them."
"Karen, thank you for the wonderful two day post. Your insights are truly thought provoking. I have never been a teacher, nor will I ever be, but to see someone see the light is a wonderful moment. Thanks again."
"As usual, another terrific story. I’m glad I found you but I have to be honest. I didn’t find you on Google + but did on Scott Kelby’s “The Grid”. Thanks for the inspiration in both images and by the pen/keyboard."
"Gads-what a girl! Thanks for the story, it is beautiful."
"Awesome story Karen — I loved reading about your life transformed. Of course I loved the photography theme and the geek in me is forever curious about the power of tech and the power of social platforms. But … for me it is the arc of lives transformed that inspires. Thank you so much for sharing. See you on G+ and in the Arcanum!"