Karen Safer is a photographic artist, documentary photographer, published writer, and poet with a musical bent. As fifth-generation native Angelino, she was given a camera and crayons at 3 and exposed to dominant California motifs: light, palm trees, the ocean, music, and vernacular architecture that helped define and influence her left-handed aesthetic. She was influenced by her dad (educator and calligrapher) who developed black & white photos in their back washroom/turned darkroom and by her mother’s thirst for knowledge and travel.
She was fortunate to begin a life of travel as a pre-teen which shaped her love of the exotic paired with an eye for the formal, accidental, and unusual while subliminally seeking the “beautiful” that jiggles the lens/frame of her eye. From the onset, she documented her surroundings and family and friends’ events. During COVID she was photographed from her balcony and was dubbed the “Monet of Playa del Rey.”
Not sure if behind or ahead of the times, she has been in over 10 solo shows and 170+ juried and group exhibitions, from London, Rome, Glasgow, Zurich, Barcelona, Budapest, Athens, Prague, Hawaii, Canada, and California to New York, winning 135+ Talent, Merit, Honorable Mention and Special Recognition Awards. Competing in current exhibitions has made her stretch and expand her visual vocabulary. She has traveled and photographed in over 230 countries (and territories).
Initially, she began painting and printmaking alongside the study of art and architectural history before wholly embracing photography with influences from Mesopotamia to Vermeer/Matisse and Atget to Cindy Sherman. She is a self-described “romantic soul” with intellectual cravings, currently residing in Playa del Rey, CA.
She received a bachelor's and master’s degree with honors in art from UCLA and CSULB. Her career includes work in design and architecture firms and is the principal of ArtFocus International.