Here is a profile of photographer Carisa Kozicki, Cornerstone’s artist of the month for February 2019.
Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.
My love affair with photography began at an early age. When I was only 9, after watching my Pap Pap document our family for years, I saved my money and asked him to take me to buy my very own camera. The camera cost me $39. the sales associate gave me some free black and white film which transformed my life. For many years, I developed and printed my own film and black and white photographic prints in my basement darkroom. Although I am strictly a digital photographer now, I stick true to my roots and offer photography that is considered lifestyle, realistic, quirky, fun, and emotionally driven.
I studied photography in high school and college and graduated from Millersville University with an English and art degree. I continue my photographic and business knowledge by attending workshops and taking online courses and seminars.
My love for animals also began at an early age. I began a pet sitting business after college; and I found myself always bringing my camera with me to photograph my clients. in 2005, I officially began my professional photographic career and started my own company offering lifestyle family sessions, graduating senior sessions, weddings, business branding images, commercial images, and of course, one of my favorite session types, pet photography!
I have also had the pleasure of donating my time to photograph many homeless animals to help promote their adoptions in pursuit of finding them furever homes!
How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?
I’m a visual storyteller. I look forward to documenting relationships. Visual images are powerful! They evoke emotions and memories and tell stories of times and of people. Some we know or knew: some we never had the chance to know.
One of the very special sessions I offer I named Celebration Sessions. These are for senior pets (10 years or older) or those that may be terminally ill. These are sessions meant to celebrate the bond and relationship with your special animal companion. When we invite an animal into our lives and into our homes they become valued family members.
As a professional photographer and storyteller, part of my job includes creating and offering my clients professionally crafted and finished products. I don’t want you to have to do any work after the session is over; this is my job and part of the experience you receive with CarisaK Photography. It’s my belief that photographs are better when shared. Let’s get them off of the USB drives, off of the phones, and off of the computers. Let’s get them back on your walls, back on your coffee tables, and back in family albums so they can become a permanent part, an heirloom if you will, of your family’s history. I firmly believe print media is not dead, just revitalized! You will likely never have the time you think to go back through thousands of images from years past on your hard drives and cloud systems to view your family, vacation, and loved one’s images. You will look at that album on your coffee table though, and so might your children and your grandchildren!
Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?
My grandfather, Pap pap, was one of my earliest inspirations. Every year, during the holidays, we would all gather in his living room and he would set up his old projector. We would relive the previous years’ worth of birthdays, holidays, dance recitals, field hockey games, and interesting hairstyles. He taught me that there is value and beauty in every day moments.
I also loved Ansel Adam’s black and white landscape images
My heart dog, Olive, was a huge inspiration and my muse for both the pet sitting business and ultimately the pet aspect of my photographic career.
My clients inspire me! Everyone’s story is different!
Do you have a favorite piece in your portfolio?
My favorite pieces change all of the time. 😉
What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?
It’s a heavily saturated industry, but if photography is your passion, you should follow it. Hone your craft, learn how to work your camera, find and use light in a way that gets you excited. Photograph subjects that inspire you. If you decide to offer your services professionally, learn a lot about business and pricing before doing so. Appreciate the importance of marketing, and learn how to run a profitable business which is different than a charitable business. Value your industry, time, and talent. Follow your passion, and keep learning through successes and misses.
After high school I attended art classes at the Harrisburg Area Community College and graduated with a degree in commercial art. I found out quickly that commercial art was not for me but I did have a passion for creating. My further plans for art education were cut short by unforeseen events but I have continued to create and develop my sense of style. I find the process of creation not only meditative and enlightening, but it allows me the opportunity and freedom to express myself without boundaries. I also love photography and my art pieces are often based on the photographs I take.