The Unstoppable Grads of Seattle Colleges 2020

Seattle Colleges is a place I call home, as well as a wonderful client with enriching creative projects. Last month we visited 8 different locations to film and photograph recent graduates. Below are the finals, as well as a link to the video created by Grant, Jordan and the crew of C+C Marketing in Seattle, WA

 Watch the film – Seattle Colleges Class of 2020: Unstoppable

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

Vodou Footprints: Levoy Exil – Saint Soleil’s Vodou Mystic


Levoy Exil is an artist. He’s from Haiti. He lives in Haiti. He is a visionary with deep roots into the mysticism of Haitian vodou. “I have revelations when I’m asleep. In black and white. The black is the body, the white is the spirit. I sing the song of creation to Damballah. I offer him blue, white and mauve. There are lines of dots all around the shapes, in relief. There are dots of light. The red is part of the body. It’s also a symbol of goodness, and it’s good for healing too. Damballah is a snake, made up of all colors.”

Levoy is an original member of the famous Haitian artistic movement called Saint Soleil, which began in 1972. Inspired by vodou religion and the cosmological energies called loa, or vodou spirits, St Soleil (Holy Sun) grew from the peasant mountainsides outside of Port-au-Prince into an internationally-renowned style specific to the culture of Haiti. Levoy still practices the art of the movement, and today is an icon of Haitian creativity and vodou symbology, helping bring to light the true beauty of this ancient belief system.





Vodou Footprints: André Eugène – Atis Rezistans of Port-au-Prince, Haiti


Portrait of sculpture artist André Eugène, founder of Atis Rezistans on Grand Rue in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.





All of his skulls in his work are real human skulls. We asked him how he was able to get a hold of them and he said, “Many things are easy to come by in Haiti. All my work is recycled. You ask for a human skull, you can easily get one.”











STORMR Deer Camp: Into the Hoh Rainforest (Pt. I)


Recently, I ventured into the Hoh Rainforest with STORMR foul-weather gear for a 4-day 3-night adventure. With four woodsmen we explored a sodden mossy wilderness furthest from humanity. These are the western edges of the Olympic Peninsula; a place so remote and ecologically diverse that it could be considered its own evolutionary island.

What we were in search of was the elusive black-tail buck. What we discovered were torrential downpours, rivers full of returning steelhead and King salmon, as well as pockets of clear-cut forests amidst pristine woodlands of idyllic nature where migratory elk bugled near the trails of deer, bear, and cougar scat.








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Cameron Karsten Photography

The Honey Harvest is Near


With the nearing end of the the summer, a north hemisphere-wide honey harvest is about to begin, and I’m feeling pretty damn excited.  Longtime friend and fellow traveler Dennie P (aka D) stopped by and had the opportunity to check in on my hives.  I’m hoping he’s hooked!  He looks like it.

Location: BI, WA

Camera/Lens Specifics: Canon 5D MarkIII w/Canon EF 16-35mm 2.8L II USM Lens

35mm, 1/200 sec at ƒ/7.1, ISO 100, tripod.

Post: LR4 & Adobe PSCC

Photo Essay: Barn Owl Builds – The Zautke’s


Barn Owl Builds – owned, operated and built by Casey and Joshua Zautke – let me invade one of their spaces as they prepared a conference table for a client.  It takes an immense amount of skill to form recycled pieces of wood into a solid, effective piece of furniture.  But that’s what they do.  Barn Owl Builds custom selects each piece of salvaged wood for your furniture and then commences the true art of craft, creating a piece of furniture for your office, home or party den.  More photos to come as I help them build their brand and market their business with product and environmental portrait photography.










Cameron Karsten Photography

Photo Essay: Aaron’s VW and The Sequester


Aaron Kuester is a busy man.  With a wife and 3 year old son, work as a steel-shaper of sorts at Kitsap’s Naval base, and an enthusiastic car builder and racer.  Currently, he’s working on building a custom Volkswagon Beetle Baja Desert Racer, not necessarily for the Baja 2000 Off-Road Race, but some day… some day.

But with The Sequester approaching on March 1st, 2013, government spending-cuts will affect Aaron and his family.  As an employee repairing the steel parts of submarines and naval ships, the full-force of the $85 billion-dollar cuts would mean his 5 day work-week will crunch to 4 days within the 22-day furlough.  Anything longer will be technically a lay-off, which Aaron, as well as every other government employee, hopes will remain a distant impossibility for him, his family, and his hobby.

On a quiet President’s Day afternoon, Aaron invited me into his garage, and below are some of the images I created with four strobes, some daylight fill and a little PS6.









Cameron Karsten Photography

Photo Essay: Graniel’s Dreamland Product Photography, Wooden Bowl

After traveling to Ambergris Caye in Belize, photographing various artists utilizing the skill and exactitude of their hands, I purchased one of the wooden bowls from Graniel’s Dreamland as a gift, gifted, took it back and brought it into the studio… whew.  And now it’s done.


Full bowl studio shot


Close-up bowl studio shot combined into catalog spread with on-location workshop shot

Photo Essay: Hands on Ambergris

While traveling to Ambergris Caye in Belize, I reached out to local workers and artists about creating captivating imagery about their careers or passions.  Below is a taste of what came to be while visiting.


Local handyman and contractor, Landy T. laying tiles in a vacation home.









Workers at Graniel’s Dreamland build furniture, piers, bowls and anything wood out of locally harvested trees from the mainland of Belize.





Glenn Schwendinger is an entrepeneur extraordinaire.  Fourteen years ago he landed on Ambergris Caye with his wife and chef Colleen, opened the fabulous Rendezvous Restaurant on the north end, created it’s own wine label and became the world’s largest conch pearl dealer.  Conch pearls? you might ask.  The world’s rarest gem found in 1 of every 10,000 conch shells.