Feature Friday//Karah Mew//December 8, 2017
The Glass Narrator
Please tell us about yourself…
My name is Karah and I'm a little obsessed with stories. I like to collect them, write them, recite them, share them, create them and now lock them down via my camera. I live on the south coast of England with my two children and husband, in a little street in an area I've lived my whole life. As well as photography, I love journaling and a good old box set binge! The Glass Narrator started after working as an illustrator and oral storyteller as my children grew. I never really found either totally satisfying - so I just combined those two with my love of photographs.
Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?
I really struggle at this!
I would say my work is honest, personal and emotive. I shoot with a documentary approach, but have a huge passion for unprompted and unposed environmental portraits. Recording honesty in a social media perfection world is something I feel hugely passionate about. I like making images with layers of truth that will give the future self a real backstory to share with generations.
I'm also really driven to produce work that doesn't feel like I can drop family after family into, each shoot I do is personal and unscripted.
What sparked your passion for photography?
Growing up, my siblings and I were constantly being photographed. If it wasn't my grandmother capturing us on our playdates, it was my father recording our memories at home or on holiday.
Photography was a big part of my life as a child and when I left school and embarked on my Fine Art route at University it was still deeply ingrained.
Stepping into the dark room for the first time really sparked my desire to create images. It was like a magic den and I spent many of hours locked away there.
What's in your camera bag right now?
Seven months ago I sold all my Canon gear and made the leap to the mirrorless system.
It was a jump, but something I do not regret at all. I now shoot on a Fuji Xt2 and 99% of the time on a 23mm. I'm lusting over the 16mm F1.4, so I may need to add that to my bag soon.
What is your dream shoot or project?
Dream shoot is simple. A no holding back family who get the memo that a good photo doesn't mean coordinating clothes and smiling children. Total dream when you get to photograph a family just relaxing into who they are. That's what I love to record. When it comes to a dream project, that would be working within my city on recording personal stories via my camera - I don't want to say much more at this stage, but I have some exciting steps towards making this project happen soon.
What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?
That other photographers are not helpful! When I first started out, I would hear stories of how others can be intimidating towards newbies and unwilling to help. I live in a tiny city that is full of photographers and almost everyone I've met has been lovely. During the past year I've also made some wonderful online friends, who are not only there with amazing technical help - but there with support and inspiring images of there own. Being a photographer can be a real lonely job - having a tribe is essential!
What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?
Shoot all the time. You can only learn so much from books and workshops. Photographing, especially through times when you are in a funk are paramount to breaking through and making progress. I think it's also really important to share your work. I sat on my stuff for a long time before I had the courage to share.