an imageteller captures image celebrations.

sharing image tales broadens an artistic expression.

doing so, brings this particular creative indescribable joy.

what is your image story? perhaps I can help you tell it! 



Artist Residencies Complete :: Four Seasons

August 13, 2014  •  2 Comments

July found me back at The Milkweed Mercantile At Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village for my final of four artist residencies.  I arrived with an already always feeling of sadness.  My creative immersion was coming to an end. I wasn't handling the emotions around that very well. I was struck deeply with how much "looking forward to"  I had vested myself in.  With the residencies soon to be behind me, what would I creatively have to to artistically anticipate? 

It was very easy to immerse and be distracted from my sadness by my summer residency. The visuals around me were blasting with abundance. I personally have never seen such lush, ripe and/ or plentiful gardens. Having known the Dancinc Rabbit landscape from my seasons past, I felt like i was somehow part of summers birth.  Impressive and very beautiful.

Much of my summer photography expression found itself in the kitchen of The Milkweed Mercantile.  That Alline, aka Mrs Milkweed, was canning and making jam each and every day, as were most of the members of Dancing Rabbit.  Since I have no personal relationship to harvesting food I've actually grown, at least at the level that these folks do, I found the process a delight to capture. Some of my image work will be the banners for a booth of Mrs Milkweed's line of products at the St Louis Botanical Garden "Best Of Missouri Market and More" Show ( a juried gig) come October, and potentially in a book authored by Alline that talks not about making jam, but utilizing jam in things.  Can one say "grill cheese" with jam?  

I found myself at the Critters Farm a LOT  ...I think again my lack of experience with farm animals had me feel compelled, add the fact that both Mae and Ben were very encouraging of my work and presence, plus as a place it seemed to always have something going on. I mean who can resist baby ducks, and chicks, and kittens. OH MY!


My kids recently shared that they thought I'd do well in New York city,  I said really ?  Did they know that I have fantasies of owning chickens and a goat or two?? I mean really don't they understand who I really am?  I digress.

The other thing that was ever present during this residency was how full everyone's day was. The place was hopping with activity, visitors, guests, work exchangers and more. The season was seriously happening.   What I give credit to, those of who live and example life on this eco-village thing, is the openness in which they share their lives and the mission of the village as a whole. Truth be that is what they signed on for, yet the reality sometimes has members giving up some or all of their privacy or having to endure the same questions over and over about the way they live and do things. I personally find that very admirable and patient!

Concert by Kristen Graves at The CasaConcert by Kristen Graves at The Casa

Kristen Graves concert in La Casa 

All told my final portfolio's for my four residencies totaled over 6500 images. I can imagine that I took at least 10,000 - if not more,  I abbreviated the experience on my FB page to a mere 1600.  This of course would be my most comprehensive collection of images I've taken within one theme.  I find myself a little emotionally attached at the moment.  I am not sure if that happens to other artists/photographers. I don't quite know how to really evaluate what it is I've done.

At my summer residency I took a collection of names that agreed to offer feedback. Once the season has calmed down a bit Alline and I will have a completion call about my residencies and my images.  What I am hoping for is a sense of usefulness for the collection and that those viewing them experience a specific artists signature.   I am not sure I can offer that commentary alone. I know that as an artist I feel a tremendous pride about my work.

I will report back on the feedback I acquire.

To close this rather lengthy commentary.  

While I was a stranger in a different land at Dancing Rabbit, I didn't want to say strange land because I really have not ever felt that about DR. I felt more at home, accepted and useful than I have in a very long time.  All I can say is thank you for being what and who you are!! I feel an especially tremendous gratitude to Alline And Kurt, owners of The Milkweed Mercantile who are some of the most generous, big hearted and dynamic people ever.

If they hadn't accepted my application for residency I would not have had to write this epic post sharing the tale about it all!!







Image Wins Local Contest

June 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

In recent weeks I submitted five photographs into a local photography contest.   Small contest - over 50 entries, about 10 folks participated.   Four of my images made the finals, and one - see below won in the "community life " category!  How totally fun is that! The winning image ironically was an iphone capture. 

© image by karen hanrahan

Mid Central Community Action Center , who ran the photography contest - is a west side non-profit that offers assistance in multiple ways to those of need in our community.  Being a westside resident it was fun to see which images I had in my portfolio that spoke to the request of the contest.  I am not typically a fan of having to seek "likes" to win,  but for this contest it was simple to ask - especially of those in my neighborhood.  

Below are all the images I submitted.   To see the entire contest check out the album at MCCAC's FB page.


Things I've Learned As An Artist In Residence

May 14, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

The goal of an artist residency is to drench ones self in their creativity.  A few years ago I didn't even know what an artist residency was.  A few years ago I also would have said that my photography was inside the closet as a lovely creative experiment.  Now I don't think that.  Now I feel rather declarative about my work as an artist.

If you only knew how good that feels.  

I just completed my 3rd of 4 artist residencies under the gracious hosting of The Milkweed Mercantile.  I have had a few things strike me.  Before I share them I have to say that I believe I can find the visual charm of just about anything. My everyday imagery reflects this often. My four walls and what's inside them can not be that interesting, yet to me ...they actually are, and I of course photograph them ALL the time.  

The same heart shape leaves of my parkway tree pop open each spring, and each year they take my breath away.  AND I snap a picture of them every time.  Life repeats itself doesn't it?  It's a beautiful thing if you pause enough to revel in it.  

Dancing Rabbit simply by being what it is, is a pretty darn magical place.  If you would like to check out a bit of that magic, I have collected my Spring Residency into albums here


Below are just a few of the things that struck me:


Clothespins all in a row really please me.


Showing the tops of peanut butter cookies is important.

Everyday human is captured in moments.

Backround is everything.

Real men do collage.

One CAN fall in love with a dog.

Houses do move.

Love conquers all.

Nothing beats a goat parade.

Cookies can be backwards.  AND that's OK

There is such a thing as ostrichtron

Learning from others is remarkable.  Mentorship is a gift. Making things is cool. (OK i know, that's 3 things) 

Baby bunnies are positively adorable


It's all a matter of perspective.

Spring is a visible tangible touchable rebirth. 





Corn Porn

May 07, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Central Illinois Author Terra Brockman of Henry's Farms had an article titled: Corn Porn, published in the magazine Orion in 2009. It was an excerpt from her lovely book: The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food And Life on a Sustainable Farm.  

I happened upon the article a week before the opening of “Seasons & Cycles of Corn” as seen or created by local photographers"  

I had been invited a year ago to participate in this themed hanging.  

AND I had a super time capturing a variety of corn in seasonal settings. ( see best of slide show below) 

In her article Terra writes " corn sex starts, as most things do with male and female parts:  the tassle at the top of the stalk and the proto-kernals along the cob. " 

I certainly am not an expert in corn botany,  I did find the article interesting and loved that it found me in time for my work to be shared.  Naively I had no idea I was photographing corn sex!! I met Terra through our Farmers Market community here,  and I appreciate her writing very much!!

I was honored that Eaton Gallery placed one of my submissions,  "Tassle" in the window for it's artist reception. It will be there in all it's glory until May 20th.  Saturdays from 9-2, and Wednesdays too!!

© image by Karen Hanrahan

© images by Karen Hanrahan




First Friday's Area Artist Showcase 2014

April 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A year ago myself and several other local photographers were invited to hang at Eaton Gallery and represent the theme: Corn.  

I was thrilled by the invitation and playfully amassed a collection of imagery.   

It was later revealed that we'd all be showing for this May's  F1rst Fr1day.  The Area Artist Showcase is something I have enjoyed being a part for 4 years now! 

Below are the two images I chose to hang.  

Have to say picking just two was a challenge.  

Sure hope you can join in the fun and attend.  

Be sure to bring a friend along too! 

Artist Reception Friday May 2nd from 5-9.  

Galleries and shops open Saturday 9-2



© image by Karen Hanrahan

At Dusk

© image by Karen Hanrahan

Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations. 


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