Kara Rosenlund is a fine art photographer, stylist and author, who is influenced by the beauty of the natural world. Kara’s eye is constantly drawn to the beauty of travelling through the Australian outback and coastlines and the colours of the landscape.
In this month's journal, we're chatting with the incredibly talented Kara Rosenlund about where she finds inspiration, her creative processes and the renovation journey of her mid-century modern home.
Where are you from and where are you now?
I’m from Brisbane, I’ve lived all over, Sydney, London and the like, and now call Queensland home. My little family split our time between our island house on North Stradbroke Island and mainland Brisbane where my photography studio is, along with our mainland house.
Where did you first discover your love for art?
I didn’t grow up in a home filled with art or art appreciation, rather I grew up in a home of ‘do-ers’, where there was always a renovation happening or a project on. I saw my father always creating with his hands and making something out of nothing. A kitchen extension, our in-ground pool which he tiled with mosaics creating dolphin and fish shapes, a chicken coop for my chooks, the list is endless. Watching Dad and his hands really opened my eyes to how exciting it is to create. So this is where my love for progress, art, creation and the sense of home started.
What does a day in the life of Kara Rosenlund look like?
I’ve always been an early riser, so I’m up just before sunrise. I would love to say I do something like go for a soft sand run or an ocean swim, but I actually grab my phone and check out what’s been happening overnight in my inbox with my shop and also on instagram. I’ll post something on insta which I’ve been working on and have a chat in the comments to whoever comes by to comment. In this modern world I find it's a positive way to start the day wth community connection.
After this everyone in our house is up, so I look after our little babies, Edie and Alby, and cook breakfast for the family and run the gauntlet of getting everyone ready and prepared for the day. My mum comes to the house to look after the babies 3 days a week, which I’m so grateful for. I couldn’t do this without my mum. I’ll then head into the studio and and work with my team.
I’ll sign and number photographic prints which have returned from the printers. They will then be packaged up and sent out to our collectors or off to our art framers. At about lunch time I’ll nip home and feed my son breastmilk and then come back to the studio. I will look at what what we have planned coming up. At the moment I’m working closely on releasing my next print collection. So that means working on everything from the imagery itself for the prints, the social rollout, the shop release, blog content etc, and with this collection I'm actually having an exhibition and hosting an intimate dinner to celebrate the launch, so I’m in the throws of project managing this which really excited me.
Then depending on what day it is I will head to the ferry and cross the waters of Moreton Bay to our island house. On this ferry ride I put my phone away and enjoy the little moments with my children and try really hard to switch off. I find crossing the water allows you to wash away those every day stresses.
What does your creative process look like at the moment?
I'm actually feeling the most inspired and creative I've felt in a long time. Previously I would have been racing around and catching planes all over the country and the world to shoot campaigns and jobs for my hotel and travel clients, while still running the studio, though I have recently transitioned to being solely a fine art photographer now and having this extra space in my mind has allowed me to see and create new bodies of work and have clarity.
When seeking inspiration, who and what do you turn to?
I alway turn to nature, always. Nature never gets it wrong. All of my work is inspired by the natural world. When in doubt or when I’m processing a concept I will immerse myself in nature by going for a beach walk or a swim. Being close to nature informs most of my decisions surprisingly.
How do you define the meaning of home?
I read recently that the word ‘home’ should really be a verb, not a noun. If we approach it as a doing word it's a lot more nurturing. So how ‘I do home’ is by creating a haven for my family away from too many distractions. It's a place that offers protection and knits my family together. I surround us with as much nature as possible, which mean inviting nature in. Having my photographic works on the walls gives us a sense of connection to the natural world, as does the fibres and materials we live with, lots of layers of natural sisal rugs, linen curtains, matchstick blinds, bamboo and cane furniture and seagrass wallpapers.
What would you consider your biggest career success to date?
My online photographic print shop and the print collections I have created and released. It’s never lost on me that people collect my work and hang the pieces in their homes - their own special havens away from it all. For my work to be invited in and to be part of their home life is something I take very seriously.
You’ve recently embarked on a renovation journey of your mid-century modern home - What have been your biggest challenges, and most cherished moments?
Our mainland house is a 1968 brutalist home and it has a lot of architectural style. The style was the thing which attracted me to the home as soon as I saw it. Lots of stone, lots of sharp blunt edges, lots of cool vibes.
Surprisingly with homes that come with this style is that they refuse to allow your own personal style to bridge with theirs. So, I had to pair back my own style and really listen to the bones of the house. I love a challenge and adding layers to this home has been the most wonderful challenge. Even something as simple as a bunch of flowers or a throw cushion, the fine lines of this home will only allow a very tiny window of variety, or else it will look all wrong.
Is there a treasured item/s in your home that you cannot live without?
Lamps, I have a serious thing for lamps and their tungsten glow, it must be a photographer thing. The lightbulbs must be a warm white and I prefer to have lamp light and candle light over overhead light come night time. It really is so gentle and soul warming to have light illuminating at eye level in the evenings. Feels primal.
What are you currently watching, reading and/or listening to?
Watching - Succession - Obsessed!
Reading - Nursery books for the babies
Listening - my own playlists I make, I love the 1970s, so all my playlists hark back to then - Donovan, Nick Drake, Henri Texier, the list goes on. I live for music.