The Chat with Karen Hutton: Art Wolfe


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??

Meet Art Wolfe.

Meeting Art

I was fortunate enough to meet Art and record this episode of The Chat at his home. His HOME, people!! As I sat there, gazing at his incredible world full of memories from a lifetime as a passionate artist and embracer-of-the-world-and-its-people… I was almost dumbstruck. Almost, I said. As you’ll see, I WAS able to carry on a conversation! hehheh. But I pinched myself at one point, wondering “how in the heck did this all happen?” I mean, I knew how it physically happened…but these are the moments you sense your path is being altered for good.  I knew I needed to keep all senses and awareness open, because I was about to learn something important. And I was right!

But first, how DID this happen, you wonder?

My bestie Laurie Rubin and I were just beginning a weeklong photo adventure in Washington state. As part of her job, Laurie knows EVERYONE in the photography world – including Art. When she suggested I do a Chat with him as we passed through, I thought it was a long shot at best. She made the initial call. To my utter delight and surprise, he agreed! Then I thought it would most likely take place at his gallery in Seattle. You know, neutral ground and all. But the next thing I knew, we were driving to his  home and sanctuary overlooking Puget Sound. Talk about Helmet! (in case you’re new here, the meaning of “Helmet” is explained right here).

How An Afternoon Can Shift Everything

What was an incredible experience! Walking up to Art’s house through his garden, I could feel myself shift. Start to relax and breathe. Feel a sense of wonder building… almost like walking through a portal into a subtly different world than the one behind us. (watch to the very end for bonus footage in the garden with Art!) I didn’t know whether to be excited, nervous, in awe, in pure joy – or what. So I’ll admit it, I was a little of all those things.

I can tell you I walked away transformed. Thinking differently in about a million subtle ways about what I do, what I want my photographic world to be like – and the difference I can make in the world. Ever since that day, elements that drove my photography most purely and passionately when I began studies 35 years ago have been resurfacing – approaches that I’d set aside as unimportant, which now feel valid and must see the light of day! You know, life-defining stuff. That’s what time with Art will do for you.

Art welcomed us with a big, wide open smile and was as open, generous and funny as you can imagine. He spoke from the heart. He spoke with a certainty and ease that a lifetime of focusing on the one thing that brings you the most joy and fulfillment will bring. Living your life as an art, indeed!  I walked away transformed in that way you do around people who are living their deepest mission in life.

A mere half hour can’t possibly do justice to an entire lifetime of artistic and humanitarian achievement… but it will give you slice of what it is to be completely, utterly and joyfully in love with life… and to truly live your life as if it were your (A)rt. My deepest gratitude goes to Art Wolfe for his generosity in sharing time with us – and now, with you. Enjoy!

P.S… You guys here on the blog are getting to see this first, foremost and before ANYBODY! I’m not posting it on social until later this week. THAT’S how special you are to me. Thanks with my heart for begin here.