Karen Riebel Kelley’s photographs go beyond the field
of vision and the practice of photography: they are
vibrations, emotions, and intuitions. She expands the
medium’s documentary roots by focusing on what is unseen
or overlooked by the human eye. The world is luminous in
its possibilities for revelatory moments. Subjects are
reclaimed from a world lost to routine and reanimated through
a distinct processing of light, texture, and color. The banal
becomes fantastical — a site for contemplation.

Post-production processes are deliberate: editing is
kept to a minimum in order to preserve original
captures. Hahnemühle photo stock — a natural, archival
paper made from 100% cotton fiber that has been crafted
since 1584 — is the canvas for archival inks, connecting
the printing process with historical productions and
elements. Mattes and wooden frames are individually
selected to reflect each print, accentuating serendipitous
patterns, tonal variations, and content. Although captured
with a DSLR camera, the number of prints in each series
is limited to evade a mass-produced body of work.

Karen Riebel Kelley began her fine art photography practice
in 2009, but has worked in a creative capacity for the majority
of her professional life. Her career spans interior design,
marketing, website design, and holistic therapies. Each endeavor
informs her photographic practice. As an interior design
assistant, she contributed to home and commercial projects
that included designing furniture, decorative glass panels,
and textiles. Her functional design work, which includes
posters, cards, brochures, and websites for local businesses
and musicians, merges utility with aesthetics.

There is no definitive line between creative arts, therapy,
and material history in Riebel’s images, as these creative
branches coalesce and feed into one another. Drawing on her
fine art practice, Riebel also works as a freelance photographer
for Louisville’s music scene, capturing the undercurrents of
local auditory flavours. Through her private practice of
Cranial-Sacral Therapy she works closely with members of the
Louisville Ballet, local actors, and musicians further blending
the art and process of healing that is ever present in her work:
most recently, she has begun restoring photographs. By slowly
correcting the marks time has inflicted on these images, the
past can enter the present and the present can enter the past
allowing vibrations and emotions to be experienced.
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