Via Wonderful Machine – Cameron Karsten: Zillow Group

Great little write up describing some of the process creating Zillow Group’s 2017 Annual Report via Wonderful Machine’s blog. Enjoy!
Jan 25, 2018
PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT

Seattle-based photographer Cameron Karsten has built a strong relationship with Zillow Group. He has photographed projects from in-home walkthroughs to Santa’s Village for the Real-estate startup. As Zillow has expanded its need for imagery, Cameron has been ready to take on bigger and bigger projects.

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In the past, Zillow has generally opted to use stock imagery for its annual reports. But, for the 2017 report they wanted to go with something more specialized, so they invited Cameron to submit a bid for a library of images. Cameron won the bid and got the chance to step out from behind the camera and take on some production responsibilities. He ended up scouting locations and casting the talent for the three-day shoot in addition to his role as the photographer. Cameron leveraged his personal network to fill the twelve casting spots across the three-day multi-location shoot. As is often the case, scheduling was the most difficult part of the casting process.

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I ended up casting, location scouting and producing the project, which in the end was a great experience. It was an exhausting amount of work, but we conquered the final end goal and everything moved flawlessly. All in all, it was a wonderful project that produced a large printed report sent to all the shareholders, including the online report available to the public.

Cameron had worked on other projects for Zillow with several members of the production, including Creative Director Sabrina Fiander. The annual report design team was full of new faces, but it quickly became clear that everyone worked well together.

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The shoot was a blast with a complete crew of familiar faces excited to be a part of a great project. As all shoots, we worked hard and pressed each other to push harder and do our best.

The reaction to the images has been immensely positive. The team at Zillow was pleased with the images delivered and plan to commission more custom imagery for their future reports.

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Now that the report has been published, Cameron is already looking towards next year:

Hopefully a 2018 report with a couple production days added to it will nail all angles of Zillow Group’s outreach and diversity.

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The complete report is available on the Zillow Group website.

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Additional Credits:

Creative Director: Sabrina Fiander

Producer: Jill Snow

Associate Producer: Jillian Zieske

Brand Consultant: Bradley O’Neal

Brand Marketing Manager: Lindsey Bluher

Digital Tech: Judson Felder

Photo Assistants: Dominic Crowley, Delaney Brown

Art Director: Tim Teehan

Stylist: Lily Karsten

HMU: Zoe Hoffman

See more of Cameron at cameronkarsten.com!

And check out our other members on our Find Photographers page.

SealLine Dry Bags and the Unknown Waters of Winter

SealLine, a kayak, an outdoorsman, and a calm foggy winter morning. + 2hrs before work…

New website via PhotoFolio up at http://www.CameronKarsten.com

Alaska with GrundensUSA

In the summer of ’17, I finally got assigned my first voyage to Alaska. It has been a deep-seated desire to visit one of the states’ last frontiers, and do to it with GrundensUSA in collaboration with Dark Seas Division and Silver Wave Seafood Co. aboard the Seine fishing vessel Silver Wave was nothing short of epic.

Check out my fully redesigned website at http://www.CameronKarsten.com

Nathan Myhrvold for French “Les Echos”

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Nathan Myhrvold’s reactions are as unusual as the man himself. His bursts of laughter would awaken the dead. His voice soars to high registers with each burst of enthusiasm – and these are frequent because the number of passions he holds boggles the mind (Anois Moutot for Les Echos).

A fascinating man following his dreams and helping the world one can of canned bread at a time. Assignment for French newspaper Les Echos earlier this year at Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures compound in Bellevue, WA.

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

Intellectual Ventures with Nathan Myhrvold in Bellevue, WA

 

Zillow Group Annual Report – Consumer Housing Trend Report 2017

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One of the largest projects I’ve shot so far (as well as produced, and talent and location scouted), and one of the greatest clients. Thanks crew and Zillow team! Online available at: https://www.zillow.com/report/2017/

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Amazon HQ for Handelsblatt

An interesting assignment for a new client… Handelsblatt… I don’t know what the article reads, but it was fun to see the insides of Amazon HQ in downtown Seattle, and learn the future of automation with Alexa. I’m out.

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Tearsheet: Seattle Met’s “Secrets of the Olympic Peninsula” Feature

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Jane S., Seattle Met’s Art Director, called and sent me out on a little circuitous route on the Olympic Peninsula. I was happy to oblige, as jumping in my Tacoma with a cab packed of camera gear and a bed setup for camping, is one of my simplest pleasures. Below are the resulting images. But first a quick write up about “How We Got Those Shots” in the Behind The Scenes section:

“There is never enough time, especially when it comes to visiting one of the many outdoor escapes our state has to offer. Fortunately, photographer Cameron Karsten – who is that perfect combination of avid outdoorsman and stellar photographer – is no stranger to the Olympic Peninsula, star of this month’s cover story. The photo on our table of contents is from a fishing trip Karsten took, and the surf shot you’ll find in the feature is of one of his buddies. Of course, being near the coast means weather is always a factor. Karsten’s visit in early June was no exception. There were slight breaks in the clouds, but the sky stayed frustratingly gray and rainy. Which brings me to the cover; while Cameron did get some striking photos of the peninsula’s famous Tree of Life, our web editor (and occasional staff photographer), Alison Klein, happened to be camping there the week prior – and captured some sun-soaked-near-dusk shots we just couldn’t resist.” – Jane S., Seattle Met art director

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And for a better view:

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

Olympic Penninsula Top 25 for Seattle Met

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Challenge Seattle’s “I Can Do It” Campaign

Madrona Venture Group Managing Director Tom Alberg in Seattle, WA

Tom Alberg, Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group

Most people pay for this advice, via book or lecture. Most people never have the opportunity to pay for this advice, because it’s not readily available. When Zillow and ex-Washington governor Chris Gregoire called upon director Sam McJunkin and me to create a short film of 14 of Seattle’s top CEOs, we looked at each other and knew we would come out all the wiser.

In the end, we didn’t. Well maybe a little, but not really. I’d like to think I did… However, it was an awe-inspiring experience to spend up to an hour listening about who these individuals were as children and classmates, what they aspired towards as youth, and today what it is to be a leader at the top of their businesses.

The end goal; a short film directed towards elementary youth as part of Seattle’s Discover U week back in October of 2016. Sam and I have completed the project, interviewing CEOs from PSE, Nordstrom, Costco, REI, and others with the next step in making a short film intended for high school students to let them know that Seattle has their backs and they are ready to hire once their education is complete. This is Challenge Seattle, an initiative created by Chris Gregoire to help Seattle companies hire Seattle locals, brought up in the school system and inspired by these top CEOs.

Enjoy some select portraits below and view the video here.

JP Morgan Chase CEO Phyllis J. Campbell in Seattle, WA

Phyllis J. Campbell, CEO of JP Morgan Chase

PATH CEO Steve Davis in Seattle, WA

Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek at Costco in Issaquah, WA

W. Craig Jelinek, President and CEO of Costco

Weyerhaeuser CEO Doyle Simons in Seattle, WA

Doyle R. Simons, CEO of Weyerhaeuser Company

Puget Sound Energy CEO Kimberly Harris in Snowqualmie, WA

Kimberly J. Harris, CEO of Puget Sound Energy

Nordstrom CEO Blake Nordstrom in Seattle, WA

Blake Nordstrom, CEO of Nordstrom

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke portrait in Seattle, WA

Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates CEO Ted Baseler in Woodinville, WA

Ted Baseler, CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann in Seattle, WA

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of The Gates Foundation

TearSheet: Seattle Met’s “The 5 Oysters You Meet in Washington”

As part of an on-going multimedia project on the Puget Sound’s ocean acidification issues and the effects it’s having on the shellfish industry, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine’s March 2016 issue published a story about Washington State’s oyster species, utilizing some of the imagery from The Ocean’s Acid. It’s a great article written by Allecia Vermillion, with interesting characters and historical background of WA’s 5 main oysters.

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Stories of the World: A Q&A with Photographer Cameron Karsten

A while back, I was fortunate to be interviewed by WordPress.com’s Discover, a fantastic blog platform that I’ve been using for years. Below is a great post from last week about my work as a professional photographer and the range of projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on. Enjoy, share and spread the love!

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Give photographer Cameron Karsten an assignment, anywhere in the world, and he’ll bring the story to life with his lens. From documenting the Vodou religion in Benin to exploring the remote Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park in the US, Cameron photographs people, customs, and processes, breaking down the barrier between viewer and subject in vivid scenes and stunning landscapes. We’re thrilled to chat with him about his body of work and the photography on his blog, Cameron Karsten’s Imaginarium.

You photograph a range of subjects, from oyster harvesters in Washington State’s Puget Sound to American children holding toy guns. What attracts you to a story?

I’m attracted to people, and events that will make a significant difference in our lives. My oyster harvest photo essay is a larger project about ocean acidification, which is little known to the public and picked up by Bloomberg Business. The story will potentially endure beyond this generation and not just affect the oyster industry, but the entire seafood industry and the chemistry of every ocean. That’s huge, and the story is extremely complex involving all kinds of individuals.

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The American gun culture project involves a disturbing matter: children playing with guns, bringing them into our schools, and the consequences.

Originally, these projects started with questions and a deeper curiosity I wanted to explore. Stories are ever-evolving and they take me to new places of understanding, meeting new people, and learning what is happening within our society.

For one past project, you joined All Across Africa through Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi. Can you tell us about it? What are your goals as a photographer on a trip like this?

All Across Africa (AAA) is an organization based in San Diego that helps build women-owned cooperatives who specialize in artisanal East African crafts. These women have been affected by their country’s violent conflicts and geopolitical histories. With business training by AAA, they’re able to lift themselves out of their past to create job opportunities to send their children to school, put a roof over their heads, and empower their lives.

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On the assignment, I traveled with the COO, Alicia Wallace. With her familiarity of each country and individual involved, I was able to photograph people who were filled with excitement, appreciation, and joy. Their energy was infectious and inspiring, and it was such a fulfilling assignment, which I think shows in my images. That was the end goal: beautiful images of the women and people involved with AAA.

You effortlessly capture warmth in your images, especially in your portraits. Can you talk about your approach to photographing people?

I look forward to photographing people when I pick up a camera. I approach a person not as a subject but as a person who has needs and wants, a history of joys and sorrows, of gains and losses.

I’ve never connected with the industry’s idea of using a camera to hide behind a lens as if to separate myself from the rest of the world.

I’ve never connected with the industry’s idea of using a camera to hide behind a lens as if to separate myself from the rest of the world. People aren’t subjects to me. Inanimate objects are what I call a subject. I first try to relate to and connect with a person by just being myself. Taking the photograph comes later.

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Your photo essays are a rich, vivid mix of image and prose, as shown in your Vodou Footprints series. What’s your thought process when creating a photo essay for your blog? How do you know when a photo essay is complete?

With each photo essay, I hope to create a compelling story. I want to develop a sense of intrigue, curiosity, and awareness. I want consistency and development in my own work, so I’ll edit and edit again. Then I’ll add more and edit more. But I realize I am my own worst editor and have begun to work with professional editors to hone my craft and present more polished stories.

In terms of form and style, I know I can always improve a piece. But it’s complete when it feels complete. I also remind myself that less is more.

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You’ve traveled widely, documenting different locations, cultures, and people. What has been your most challenging shoot?

I love to travel. My blog began as a travel blog, backpacking around the world as an aspiring travel writer. Storytelling with words developed into storytelling with photographs. Today, I enjoy creating photographs as much as I enjoy traveling because of the unknown within each situation. Problems arise and you have to think and act quickly to continue. That’s like any photo shoot.

One challenging project was a shoot for a foul-weather gear company in the Hoh River Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, in which I joined a hunting team in search of the elusive blacktail buck. It poured for four days and three nights, with few breaks in the weather. We rose every morning at 4:30 and spent the day bushwhacking through the forest — in silence.

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The challenge was getting the right shots in the pouring rain, while also experiencing fatigue and hunger — as well as giving up all sense of control. But in the end, it was a fantastic experience, and my client was happy.

What’s your go-to camera at the moment? What equipment do you always take along with you on outdoor shoots?

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III. It’s a durable workhorse, rain or shine. And for the size of the camera, the video is superb. For shoots, I’ll bring a variety of Canon and Zeiss lenses, as well as filters, a tripod and monopod, light stands, pocket wizards, portable strobes, batteries, and more. Now that I’m shooting more motion work, the list increases with audio gear, stabilizer, and slider.

It’s one thing to put this in the back of your car — it’s quite another to bring it into the rainforest. (And it’s an entirely different beast to pack it and put it on a plane to Africa.) Good insurance is a must.

Next step is a medium format Phase One 645DF+ with an IQ back, and a Sony a7R II for video work.

As a working photographer, what have been the benefits of having a blog?

My blog is a clean and simple outlet to share new projects, new adventures, and new stories. It exposes my work to an ever-widening audience and allows me to connect with like-minded storytellers. In the digital age when blogs seem as ubiquitous as photographers, my blog was an easy setup, allowing me to publish and share new work in minutes for my family, friends, and subscribers.


Follow Cameron Karsten on WordPress.com at Cameron Karsten’s Imaginarium, his website, Facebook (Cameron Karsten Photography), Instagram (@cameronkarsten), and Twitter (@CameronKarsten).