Robert Carlson’s Glass Mind

BobCarlson-15Robert Carlson is an internationally-renowned glass artist and a master not in disguise.  Bob lives his life as an artist, from his work to his art collections and the uniqueness of his home, to the way he parties and likes his martinis.  I had the opportunity to photograph Bob while he was an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Glass Hot Shop in Tacoma, Washington, where he came up with and devised his newest creations from an imagination wild. Bob is pictured up, sketching his latest invention, pulling from depths of his mind something real.




BobCarlson-448On-hand apprentices assisted Bob throughout the week-long residency. Typically, after the glass is blown and cooled, he’ll spends months with the pieces, studying their forms and subtle messages found within shapes and processes.  Next he employs a reverse-painting technique using mirrors to create the imagery. These will appear on the back side of the glass structures, which take on a whole new dimension while viewing through the various refractions of glass.


BobCarlsonVert-044-EditHowever, after observing the unusual orbs and their phalangeal crystals, Bob decided otherwise and kept the mirrors on their walls and the pigments in their cans. The work was completely new and glorious in their own form. They are both animalistic and alien. They explore the connection of sexuality and misplaced possession. The glass art can be placed on one side and quickly flipped to be placed on a new set of legs, changing the viewers understanding of what is and what can be. These pieces are works of a genius, derived from a life undisguised from beauty itself.










Post-Apocalyptic Youth Survival Group sneak peek!


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

An Artform for Ages: Forging w/Ryan Landworth


I know Ryan from the local community on Bainbridge Island, and as we got to know each other, I asked to come and shoot him at work in his shop.  As I walked into his space, I realized what an extreme artform this age-old process is.  Lots of heat.  Huge machinery.  And tons of force.  Here is a test phase of more shooting to come with blacksmith artisan Ryan Landworth.








Cameron Karsten Photography

Photo(z) of the Day: MK Cuttin’ It All Down


I invited Matt over on an unusually warm late winter day in the PNW.  Two ideas: Matt in his element pruning trees outside (above); Matt taking the outdoor technique indoors and getting a little carried away (below).

This blossoming flibert tree (also known as a hazelnut tree) is a sign of the beginning of spring.  The pollen on each flower is loaded, and the slightest gust of wind releases plumes of the fine yellow dust.  Honey bees were loving it, one of their few choicest sources of food this time of year.  Matt climbed the ladder.  I positioned lights and posted on top of his car.  Snap.


Banzai pruning is an artform, same as large-scale pruning, but on a different level.  Instead of setting up Matt to look like a Zen master delicately snipping away at this miniature money tree, I wanted him to look guilty, cutting away his profits with shock and awe.  Maybe it also reflects the scale of environmental damage that the fracking on the Bakken Shale in Montana and North Dakota cause, as well as the further advancement of permitting for the Keystone XL Pipeline.  As an individual, spending his days outdoors working with trees, Matt chooses the preservation and cultivation of nature over the growth of the “money tree”.

Cameron Karsten Photography

Photo of the Day: Tele Smash


Now this was fun.  I brought two of my buddies over with the idea of creating an ad for a flatscreen TV.  Composited of multiple images, I slowly pieced through from right to left until the final shot with the action.  And we were nervous.  I heard of dangerous fumes inside old tube televisions, but this wasn’t that old.  So with a couple of deep breaths, some practice swings and snaps, and a wooden baseball bat, we counted down.  One.  Two.  Three.

It was the loudest sound.  Bat bouncing off the screen, cracking the wood but not the glass.  We were amazed.  Maybe he just swung wrong.  Second time.  One.  Two.  Three.

Again, this time the bat shattered and our ear drums rang.  Okay.  Something heavier.  With a neighbor’s sledge hammer we felt more confident, more practiced with the swing and the shutter release.  One.  Two.  Three.

Glass everywhere and the beautifully astounding sound of exploding glass.  And then the poof of powder, fumes.  We dropped our gear and ran out of the house.

All and all, once the dust had settled, the ventilation flowing, a mere two hours with a Shop-Vac and thick gloves cleaned the disastrous mess, revealing a 2-inch thick screen of glass now in a million pieces.  The bat never had a chance.  A few hours of PS6 later.  Success.

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

Tracy Lang and the Grapefruit Tattoos

The other day I had the chance to photograph Tracy Lang, an accomplished woodblock print artist.  But she wasn’t doing woodblock.   Tracy was doing grapefruits, practicing her new tattooing skills on the skins of this fruit with the inspiration of the late writer and watercolor artist Henry Darger, painter Maxfield Parrish, and tattoo artist Musa

Location: Bainbridge Island, WA

Camera/Lens Specifics: Canon 5D Mark III with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

16mm, 1/5 sec at ƒ/18, ISO 100, tripod.

Post: Adobe LR4 & PS6

Senior Portraits: Meet Conrad Pt. II

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Cameron Karsten Photography offers a professional photography service that draws excellence into any industry, specialized to make any business, family and event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for photography services in senior portraits, weddings, commercial, travel and fine art photography.  Extended services included fine art printing, matted and framed.

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:  Fine art printing, matting and framing also available.