Santa’s House on Zillow

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Thrilled to see this project come to fruition. Last month I worked with Zillow and a wonderful crew to photograph Santa’s House in the North Pole. Yes, the North Pole. Yes, it was bloody cold. And no, Mr. or Mrs. Claus weren’t there. They must’ve been busy or something (kinda rude to not at least stop by and say hello).

Thank you Zillow, my talented crew, Kaleo and team, Beth of Birdhouse Creative, and Justin of Jaya Productions. Below are some images from the frigid shoot, as well as a list of PR links. Happy Holidays!

Santa’s House on Zillow: http://www.zillow.com/santas-house/

TODAY Show: http://www.today.com/video/zillow-posts-santa-s-home-at-north-pole-for-650-000-but-it-s-not-for-sale-821810755504

ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/inside-santa-claus-cozy-north-pole-home-valued/story?id=44008417

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/now-you-can-buy-santas-house-in-the-north-pole_us_584041cbe4b09e21702cf835

GeekWire: http://www.geekwire.com/2016/santas-north-pole-home-zillow-check-zestimate-photos-toy-lovers-paradise/

InStyle: http://www.instyle.com/lifestyle/home-decorating/home-tours/inside-santa-claus-north-pole-house?iid=sr-link2

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Cameron Karsten Photography
Adventure, Lifestyle, Advertising (Stills+Motion)
www.CameronKarsten.com
206.605.9663
PNW, USA

IRC’s Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

Seattle’s chapter of the International Rescue Committee celebrated a gift-exchange between refugees and sponsors this passed week. Families from around the world got together for gifts, games and activities, filling the auditorium with smiles, laughter and a few cries from the overwhelmed little ones.

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 22 U.S. cities.

IRC

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America’s Gun Culture: The Young Guns

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America has a gun problem. According to a Small Arms Survey in 2007 , 88 out of 100 Americans own a gun. That’s worthy of world domination. And after the latest elementary outbreak of gun violence in Sandyhook, Conn., questions continue to raise about the connections between guns, violent video games, and our American youth. Here are some images from an on-going project involving America’s young guns.

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One mother I spoke with regarding the project declined to take part, but mentioned a story about her son. He was never permitted to play with toy guns. He wasn’t ever exposed to them in their household or on television. And she was unaware about any activities involving toy guns at their friends’ homes, but as soon as he reached a certain age where he began to develop his own personality, walk and make decisions on his own, something became apparent. When they would stroll on the beach or trek in the woods, the boy was instantly drawn toward sticks. These inanimate objects took on a life of their own. They became his toy guns. To this day she refuses to buy him any of these colorful plastic pieces.

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When the United States military encourages their soldiers to play violent video games while on leave, and as the advent of drones is taking presence above foreign skies, it is intriguing how large the gaming industry has become. Not only is it exciting, competitive and imaginative, but it is also a fantasy world without consequences besides GAME OVER. From Mario Brothers to Grand Theft Auto, there has been an incredible evolution, blurring the lines of reality. America’s youth are also hooked.

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For more, please visit America’s Gun Culture

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Post-Apocalyptic Youth Survival Group

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Here’s a look at the newest project, creating a youth group surviving in a post-apocalyptic world.  Living as a nomadic family, these characters have bonded and divided up the tasks in order to hunt, cook, carry, prepare and maintain within a hostile world.  They’re in constant threat, picking their way through a tattered landscape, foraging for their everyday amenities.  Thank you to the Field’s family for participating and going along with my vision.

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YouthPortraits-35Portrait of the Water-Bearer

YouthPortraits-40Portrait of the Fire-Carrier

YouthPortraits-67-EditPortrait of the Fire-Carrier II

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Eagle Eyes

YouthPortraits-113The Kill

YouthPortraits-178Portrait of The Hunter

YouthPortraits-217The Pool of the Un-Drinkable

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YouthPortraits-213Fishing the Uninhabitable

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Portrait of the Warrior

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Portrait of the Warrior II

YouthPortraits-247The End of Innocence

YouthPortraits-224Back to the Woods

Cameron Karsten PhotographyFor more visit http://www.CameronKarsten.com

Post-Apocalyptic Youth Survival Group sneak peek!

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Sneak peak of a Youth Survival Group shoot: In a post-apocalyptic world, a band of youths group together to fight the threats of day-to-day survival.

More imagery to come!

Location: Clear-Cut Field – Olympic Peninsula, WA

Camera/Lens Specifics: Canon 5D MarkIII w/Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Autofocus Lens

24mm, 1/160 sec at ƒ/18, ISO 100, tripod, composite.

Post: Capture One & Adobe PS6

Cameron Karsten Photography

Wedded: Crissy + Gabriel at Restoration Pt. on Bainbridge Island, WA

Crissy Anderson and Gabriel Palmer married on July 28th, 2012 at Restoration Pt. on Bainbridge Island, WA!

Wedded: Stephanie + Jamie at a private residence on Bainbridge Island, WA

Stephanie Moore and Jamie Deupree marries on July 27th, 2012 at a private residence on Bainbridge Island, WA.

Wedding photography by Cameron Karsten Photography

Wedded: Stephanie + Zig at Seattle’s The Rainier Club by Cameron Karsten Photography

Stephanie Ahlquist and Zig Burzycki wedded on July 6th, 2012 at The Rainier Club in Seattle, WA.

Enjoy more at Wedded: Stephanie + Zig

Would You Like Culture With That? (Location: Mazatlán, Mexico)

In a city engulfed by corporations and Americana, the essence of true culture is always changing.

Mazatlán, Mexico.  It conjures a precision of memories.  For many years my family met once a year to live, laugh, eat and drink, recounting memories beneath the Mexican sun.

We lounged like the afternoon’s iguanas, strolled and swam like leaves in the fall, shopped the Zona Dorada with red eyes, rode horses through the waves and parasailed as if we were birds.  For once a year, The Inn at Mazatlán became our home for two weeks, where we relished in relaxation as a family conglomerate stuck together by the sticky juices of squeezed limes and empty Margarita mixes.

But every once in a while, certain members would miss the reunion and due to my direction in various travels, I was one who often missed these annual Mexican fiestas.  After three consecutive absences, I was looking forward to the next year’s, which reintroduced me to a culture buried within the memories of youth.

As I sat in the back of a taxi outside General Rafael Buelna International Airport, located seventeen miles south of downtown Mazatlán, heat and dust drew in through the open windows and swirled around my head.  It smelled hot.  It smelled tropical.  I thought I caught a scent of a distant sea as a faded CD hanging from the rearview mirror flashed in my eyes.  On one side of the disc, Mother Mary gave me a reserved glance before rotating out of view.

An Unrecognizable Return

I watched out the window: a beloved Mexico and its culture, passing high-walled penitentiaries, catching drafts of burning trash and the odd pile of rubber.

The land was sparse to the city, impoverished with corrugated roofs and sheds, wiry fences enclosing pigs and cattle while chickens roamed freely.  Then, broken by an obtrusive power, gorging the expanse of the countryside, were paved lots of multinational corporations.  They found their way into a culture as Mexico fell to the global faces of Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Noise and debris, rising dust-clouds of eternal heat, rapturous signals, stoplights and padded feet across cracked asphalt. Then the next race of unholy exhaust pipes flooded the streets.

I breathed in, and as tin and brick and corrugation turned to unfinished concrete harboring spikes of rebar, the city-center approached.

A culture, historic in its patternless flow of work, family and tradition.  Mix in nutritious rice, beans, corn tortillas and a few cooling cervezas.  And then birth the working-class as a mother interlinks her arms throughout five children before dodging traffic, and los federales rolling in their crisp black ’06 GMC pickup trucks and waxy Ford Mustangs, circling fat signs and stripped lands with their sweating asphalt and gymnasiums of cheap simplicities.

My heart skipped a beat at their infiltration.  But as I drew another inhale and observed the life surrounding, I continued witnessing a thriving Mexico.  The dust tickled my throat.  I coughed.

How unburdened can a culture remain?  I was about to find out.

Arrival at the Inn

The Inn dressed as usual.  Elegant in contrast with the streets beyond its whitewashed walls.  A new tower touched the sky with 215 luxury rooms crowned with one three-bedroom ten-person penthouse.   Larger pools.  Fully functional waterfalls.  Yoga classes in the morning and increased prajna after a night of drinks, chips, salsa and guacamole.

There were painting classes, weekly Bingo for the crowds accompanying time-shares in Branson, Missouri, as well as Mexican piñata fiestas for the kin Wednesday nights at seven.  With a restaurant on premise, The Inn was a self-sufficient community of lounge-chair tortillas here for a deep-fry.

I searched a meat menu for a vegetarian plate.

Culture? I ask:

¿La cultura? ¿ Dónde está la cultura?

Indeed, it wasn’t to be found within the walls of the large resorts and hotels fabricated for the broadening American and Canadian tourists, unless, say, you worked your Spanish with the maids and gardeners.

But outside, in the heat and noise, Mexico awaited.

Mazatlán Idol

One evening the family piled into two pulmonias (a crazed golf-cartesque taxi blaring an ungodly noise of music ranging from YMCA to CCR’s Bad Moon Rising). We drove north to La Costa Marinara.

Inside the seafood restaurant, I scanned for something traditional, simple, clean.  I came up empty.  Drink, talk, laughs of the previous evening, and then to eating.  After our meal, the American music toned down and the DJ slapped on a record of classic Mexican rhythms.

Suddenly, as if transformed into Mexico’s next “American Idol,” a waiter stepped onto the patio platform with microphone in hand.  He held it tight, not in nervousness, but passion.

With reverence, he sung his heart out, swooning the customers in love song.  One local, loaded with two of his buddies at a game table of empty beer bottles, joined and grumbled to the melody.  I cringed.

“Tom Jones!” my sister exclaimed.  Reborn and alive, south of the border in Mazatlán.

In all the years we had been coming to this restaurant by the sea, we never saw the bills paid and tables emptied as quickly as they had that night.

Visit From the Country

Señor Jones was not the only performance.  Directly afterwards, six blonde children dressed as Midwestern cowboys appeared.

Between the ages of five and fifteen years, they appeared out of place from the average Mexican; not only the pressed red-squared collared shirts, jeans and boots, with chaps, bandannas and dresses, but also their faces.

These six little children seemed to have come off the beaches of Santa Cruz with tanned white skin and sandy hair.  Let alone, it was nearing ten o’clock on a school night.

The DJ queued the music.  Georgia-born Alan Jackson, in thick accent, rolled with Chattahoochee.  In practiced timing, they kicked their boots’ heels in square dance.  Suddenly, I was transported on a stagecoach time machine to a backwoods Montana bar.

An American woman, apparently from a similar locale, clapped in dramatized exuberance.  “I love this song!  Love it!”  I didn’t dare look over, but from the far corner of my eye I spotted her Margarita bowl near bottom.

Signaling the end of the dance, the youngest three removed their plastic cowboy hats and bowed, before turning them upside down and requesting alms from each table.

Old Streets, Same Bathrooms

I walked back to The Inn that evening with my uncle on the main Avenue Cameron Sabalo.  We passed Japanese restaurants, American burger joints, tapas of Spain, and I thought of the real Mexican dishes in los pueblos y montañas: the simple rice and beans of the Latin world.

The previous day, my mother recalled the sole brilliance of the establishment known in more languages as simply: McDonalds.

“At least we can rely on a clean bathroom no matter where we might find ourselves in the world.”

Yes, Home Sweet Mickey D’s, along with other chains, soon to include Dairy Queen, Domino’s Pizza, Subway, Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Culture.  Mazatlán.  The input of the West’s power, yet out on the streets, there was Mexico at its finest.

Yesterday’s Today

Blocks are now splashed with the primary colors of the restaurants’ and consumer stores’ façades, but the dust still rises, trash still burns, with the Chevy trucks and the workers down in the shades, mothers sprinting across traffic with young flailing and babies wailing.

Things and their monsters.  They let loose to dilute the beauty of this original culture. Yet cervezas y guacamole, no matter how diluted, still reinvigorate the Mexican culture of memory to the old and young.

Culture is life.  Life is change.  Change is Culture.

It is the beauty of the world, no matter how desperate, no matter how congested and overflowing, omnipresent like a McDo, in Mexico, India, China, France or across the street from your Ace Hardware chain.

Senior Portraits: Miranda

Cameron Karsten is passionate about the arts in travel writing, photography, and multimedia. He yearns for expansive travel in order to discover the world’s cultures and share the tales of humanity. Under Cameron Karsten Photography, he offers professional photography services, drawing excellence into any industry, specialized to make business, family and special events shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for assignments and photography services in senior portrait, portrait, wedding, commercial, travel and fine art: cam2yogi@gmail.com/206.605.9663.  Fine art printing, matting and framing also available.