I'M KARA JOY
And stories are my life.
I first discovered my love for storytelling with writing. I started writing books around the time I learned to ride a bike and published my first book in 2012. In my books I talk about some pretty personal stuff, like my faith, my history of childhood abuse, and my experiences as a new mom. Photography is really just another way of telling stories. And just like my writing, I want my photos to be real, vulnerable, and filled with emotion.
So I take photos of babies...without wrapping them in lettuce.
I'm not a horn of plenty baby photographer. No hands under the chin. No hats with ears on them. No buckets or baskets. No unrealistic baby beds or impractical swaddling. I create bright, honest, timeless, and artistic photos of babies & their big people.
MOM, AUTHOR, SOCIAL INTROVERT, DEEP THINKER, & LOYAL TO A FAULT
I went to school for Biomedical Engineering and worked in the medical device industry for the same company...for a whopping seven years before transitioning to being a full-time mom (there's that loyal part in action). I went out with a bang! Translation: I made sure to have my wisdom teeth removed while I still had full-time child care.
I may not have gained a lot of free-time when I quit my corporate job, but I did gain a couple of models who would work for candy. And because I wanted to practice my photography non-stop, I not only found myself photographing them more, I found myself remembering them more.
Time is ruthless. A force never slowing, come what may. A photo is a concrete reminder to slow down and breathe them in already.
In a photo of my kids I found comfort. Time may be unbreakable, but a photo delivers consolation. It sucks you up and spills you out into a time of coos and first smiles. A photo has the power to hit the pause button as your son pours a bucket of water over his head. You can hear the giggles, feel the splatter.
A photo feels like those fleeting flutters of your baby's kicks. It looks like that dress she outgrew and that stuffed dog that was forgotten at a gas station on a family road trip. It sounds like the sweeping of goldfish crumbs and the soft weeping in the wee hours of the night as you nurse, so in love, yet so, so tired. Photos throw you back into the moment with more impact than a nostalgic smell.
"Kara did such a fantastic job of helping all of us feel at ease."
AMONG THE BEST NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHERS IN MINNEAPOLIS
This is me holding a blue marlin that I caught off the coast of Koh Lipe (Thailand). I carried it straight to the hotel kitchen, and they cooked it up for my husband and I that night!
I've tried very hard on numerous occasions to put myself in a box, but every time I attempt it I pull a muscle or run out of duct tape.
I love sugar, but I hate sugar-coating anything. I’m a social introvert. I’m an empathetic engineer. A vegetarian who has no problem slaying certain types of fish. I have a deep affection for pizza. I also run for fun. And I know what it's like to be a full-time working mom and a stir-crazy stay-at-home mom. I've never fit easily into a box. But that's okay. Boxes are boring, and I won't try to put you into one either.
THIS IS ABOUT WHAT WILL MATTER IN 40 YEARS.
I was named after my Great Grandma, Joy Carrie. I've been told she was a wonderful woman, but I know little about her. I remember her only through the distant eyes of an eight-year-old and a posed portrait taken of her in her eighties against a blue backdrop.
We're not God, and we can't control time. Nor do I believe that the illusion of control is something we should chase after. But what if we could connect to and inspire those who will come after us? Legacy is imperative. And it shouldn't be limited by time.
I wish I knew more about my Great Grandma. I long to understand what happened in her life to bring her to a place of faith, joy, and loveliness in her old age. I wish I knew the whole story. What I hope to give my children, grandchildren, and beyond is the gift of story, the gift of knowing who I was and what I stood for.
We live in a time when it's easier than ever to pass on a story, yet often we fail to recognize our own significance in the lives of those who come after us. It's time to tell a story and pass it on.
I'm a minimalist photographer who loves to embrace spontaneity! The unexpected often leads to the most epic shots as well as the most genuine. I prefer the word "prompt" over "pose." This just means I'll help you relax and give you ideas on how to interact with each other while steering clear of stiff positioning. Getting everyone to smile perfectly at the camera is not my goal. You deserve to remember your family just as they were.
"Kara is very quick to respond and makes the session a breeze with her pre-session tips. She is so easy going and friendly during the session that it doesn’t feel overwhelming, which as a new mom was very appreciated."
A FEW MORE
A FEW FUN FACTS
I LOVE TRAVELING ALONE.
I backpacked around New Zealand for a month by myself and completely fell in love with both the people and the place. I then worked at a glacier guiding business in New Zealand for about six months
ADRENALINE & I ARE FRIENDS.
Here are some things that have given me a good adrenaline rush over the years: Skydiving, bungy jumping, parasailing, hang gliding, and (attempting) backcountry hiking in the remote mountains of Alaska while pregnant.