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Karen Koshgarian

My mid-century childhood was dominated by LIFE Magazine. Each week, I relished turning the pages and studying the black and white photographs, and the occasional color images, that introduced me to the power of the narrative image.

My Uncle George always gave me the best birthday presents, and when I was 12, he gave me a little Brownie camera, that used 120 film and gave me 12 precious exposures. I still remember my first shooting experience, accompanying my family to Yosemite, which was just a day trip from Fresno, and very carefully pointing that camera towards a multitude of subject matter, trees, rivers, rocks, all mostly green, and all coming back from the drugstore as these grayish landscapes, disappointedly not looking anything as spectacular as what I saw in LIFE Magazine. Clearly, there were secrets to learn.

Fast forward 60 years, following a 32 year career as an art educator, I now live in Portland, Oregon, still loving to look at the world through a lens that frames and defines whatever interests me in the moment. Making images with light on pixels allows me to never again worry about the cost of shooting each image, something I had to consider during the 45 years of using film. The freedom to explore composition endlessly with the magic of digital, has given me the opportunity to push myself creatively, and in a way, that has deeply nurtured me.

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