Just Kari

Kari Gibson
Kari's Klicks ~ photostream
East Coast of Scotland

I have been taking photographs since a small girl when I got a simple Kodak film camera for Christmas. I didn’t really get into photography seriously, though, until I got a Pentax ME Super SLR in 1990 and began to learn how to process my own B&W images. During my fine art studies, I used photography primarily as a tool to capture images for painting or printmaking and it is only since graduating that photography has become the main focus of my creative outlet and the photographs are now the end result rather than the stepping-stone to the final image.

I use a Canon 400 DSLR and I have the standard lens 18-55 lens, the 55-200 zoom lens and the trusty 50mm which is great fun to use. I have a small handbag-sized Canon, point-and-shoot, but that doesn't get much use these days! I also use an inexpensive tripod for a lot of my photos, but enjoy the flexibility of shooting hand-held if the light is good enough. I use UV and polorizing filters as required.

I love the beautiful Scottish landscape and I adore being out in the countryside, so my photography tends to reflect this. But I do enjoy other subject matter and like to experiment with still life and portraiture. In the future, I would like to be more creative, trying out new techniques and processing to get a more painterly feel to my images, but being mindful to avoid the overly “photoshopped” look.

Objet Trouvé - Oranges & Browns
Objet Trouvé - Oranges & Browns. Initially photographed for a painting. Cropped and framed in Photoshop.

Why do you photograph?

Initially it was to capture an image for later painting/printmaking and partly as a record of a moment in time, but nowadays it is because I absolutely have to have some kind of creative outlet and currently, as my time is too limited to paint much, photography has filled that need.

Is there a particular photographer you admire? What is it about their work that you enjoy?

I am a big fan of the work of Sebastiao Salgado, a Brazilian socialist journalstic photographer. He shoots in B&W predominantly, usually of people at work or people affected by poverty/war. I love the humanity of his images and find them powerful and moving.

If you process your images at all, what software do you use and how much processing do you do?

I sometimes crop and adjust lighting/colour, using Photoshop Elements. I also enjoy stitching panoramic shots. I intend to experiment with layering techniques and texture in the future.

hydrangea textured
Hydrangea Textured. Cropped and a layer of texture (ice crystals from my own source) added.

How did you learn your skills - are you self-taught?

I studied a bit of photography at college – mostly processing B&W images in a darkroom. It has given me a good grounding in composition, light and tone. But since then, I am mostly self-taught, there is nothing like getting out there with the camera and just experimenting. I am entirely self-taught with the software, I don’t know where I would have been without Photoshop for Dummies books!

Cambo House - texture/pattern study
Cambo House - Texture/Pattern Study. Cropped slightly, but otherwise as shot.

What is the next piece of equipment/software on your wishlist?

I would love to have a wide-angle lens for the landscape photography and one day, maybe a macro lens as I would enjoy taking photographs of the beautiful plants I see on my walks.

What inspires your photos?

It can be a moment of fleeting light, interesting weather conditions, an unusual colour, texture or shape that catches my eye. Having studied art history, sometimes I will see something that reminds me of a classic painting, artistic style or genre and it tickles me to reflect back in this way.

Drifting Snow Amongst the Heather on Auchterhouse Hill
Drifting Snow Amongst the Heather on Auchterhouse Hill. As shot. As I saw this vista before me, I realised that it looked like an oriental watercolour painting and was so happy to see the resulting image.

What is your favourite subject/theme?

Definitely the Scottish landscape – it has so much variety and can be so different from season to season. It has its own challenges, though, as the weather conditions can pose difficulties, but also create atmosphere. Getting the best shots requires a lot of effort and patience, but can be well worth it.

Do you do self-portraits? Why? How do feel about them? Do you think it is an important thing for an artist?

After feeling so bad about my self-image while I was overweight and now getting my fitness back, I am just beginning to enjoy self-portraiture at last, seeing myself in a different way after all this time. It isn’t essential as an artist, but I do enjoy seeing the work of artists that use their own bodies/faces to inspire their work. Whether paint, print or photography, people such as Chuck Close, Frida Kahlo and Jenny Saville have succeeded in this area wonderfully.

Team-up Thursday Experiment - Memento Mori
Self Portrait: Momento Mori. At last I have an artist's muse - myself! Layers applied in Photoshop.

What is your biggest challenge?

Up to just recently my biggest limitation had been my own physical abilities to get to the less accessible places that I wanted to photograph. I have worked very hard over the last 12 months to get my fitness levels to a stage where I can now hike to a view that is rarely photographed. My biggest challenge these days really is time and how much equipment that can be fitted into a rucksack!

Schiehallion. A long hike in very cold weather conditions. As shot.

What advice do you have for other photographers?

Experiment, study a bit of the history of photographers, look at contemporary photographers for inspiration and ideas for techniques. Also, look at the composition that the classic painters used and also look at the work of the impressionists for colour ideas and subject matter. And then go forth and break the rules, lol!

amonite textured
Amonite Textured. Cropped and a layer added in Photoshop.


  1. Thanks Kari.
    I love the broad subject base of your photos. They are all wonderful and interesting.

  2. It was so nice to get to know you a bit better! I agree with Andrea about your photographs...I really like the one you did for a texture/pattern study and the landscape.

  3. Thanks you guys - it was a great exercise to do this and I learnt a lot about myself and it made me think a little more about the way I work. I am so looking forward to reading all the interviews from wonderful women photographers that we have coming up in the future!
    Kari x

  4. Great Interview, again You Rock Kari!!

  5. Great interview. Kari really does have some impressive shots from mountaintops that inspire me to put a little more effort into going 'out' to shoot.

  6. This was a lovely read. And such eye candy too. I love the souls in these photos- they scream meaning in whispers. :)

  7. Aww, thank you so much everyone who commented!

  8. Your photos are soo interesting and I can really appreciate the effort you put forth photographing the hard to reach areas. Glad I found your blog! I will be back. I too love photography but have just really started..sort of a back yard photographer so to speak and I love collections so I will definitely be back to visit your blog.

  9. A beautiful and interesting work ! really ! I love it !

  10. Thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog and for your wonderful comments, I really appreciate it!


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