I started shooting portraits in 2009, after having spent years dedicating my time to strictly photographing music-related "stuff" (concerts, album covers, band promos, etc). I was a poor artist with no direction and certainly no money for a studio.


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Luckily, my lack of funds forced me to get creative and to use the world around me. I had seen a photo of a theater in an abandoned asylum via an internet search, and was immediately enamored with the image. I was obsessed with finding the location, as it was like nothing I had ever seen before. I had no clue that places like that existed. That was the wonderful start of my marriage with "finding cool locations". But, admittedly, something was missing. Visually, my photos were ok. Not TOO terrible, but I was never truly proud or satisfied with them. To me, it just seemed like something wasn't clicking.

In 2011, my father passed away unexpectedly. The whole experience was gut-wrenching. Heartbreaking. I was extremely close to him (I was an only child) and I struggled tremendously to cope with what had happened. For years, I struggled. I hit some scary, scary lows. I remember thinking "Why go on when every day is just as miserable as the next?" People kept pushing therapy on me.

"You need help."

"You need therapy."

"You need medication."

But what I REALLY needed was to connect with my art. And I did.

The bittersweet thing is, the death of my father was the birth of my photography career. Suddenly, my photos displayed emotion. They displayed stories and purpose and a sense of beautiful dismay, which was a direct mirror of how I felt on the inside. I poured all of my feelings and struggles into my work. I learned how to control how I felt and funnel it all into my ideas. I finally learned how to make the connection between imagery and emotion, and for once in my life I was satisfied and proud with what I was creating.

More info: karenjerzykphoto.com

#1 Rails

Rails

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dora sim 9 months ago

Romantically morbid in the best way!

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#2 They All Left

They All Left

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Yvonne Bernal 9 months ago

All I can think of is "poor thing". And I LOVE how the 'golden ratio' concept of the staircase is used in this photo.

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#3 My Closet

My Closet

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Yvonne Bernal 9 months ago

My Closet?? I'm glad I didn't see this as a child... I would have been frightened to ever open that closet door! Interesting composition for sure!

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#4 Unexpected Visitor

Unexpected Visitor

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AmStick 9 months ago

This picture is very striking to me. I feel a 'carnival' type vibe from it. I'd love to be able to find a large print and be able to have it

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#5 Since The Flood

Since The Flood

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Yvonne Bernal 9 months ago

I kept focusing on her unusually long feet.

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#6 Black Queen

Black Queen

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Yvonne Bernal 9 months ago

Looks like she could be Jack Skellington's mother

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#7 The Crown

The Crown

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cristy marshall 9 months ago

Wow! Words can't describe how these photos make me feel... you do an unbelievable job at mixing terrifying and beauty. Your dad would be proud of you and, I'm proud of you too! Go make some money off of this talent you have.

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#8 Waking Nightmare

Waking Nightmare

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Tammy Chapman 9 months ago

Oh WOW....not sure what to say on this one. It would scare me to wake up and see that. But it looks really cool too

#9 The Farmer's Daughter

The Farmer's Daughter

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Charles Laster 9 months ago

do. not. open. that. door.

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#10 Sailing Ships

Sailing Ships

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Laurie Miller 9 months ago

Where is this? I swear I've been in this room!

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#11 The White Queen

The White Queen

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Aegea 9 months ago

She looks like a wight from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children!

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#12 Nautilus

Nautilus

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-- 9 months ago

that staircase is creepily claustrophobic...

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