Studio Visit

Kara Rosenlund

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
18th of April 2014
Horse portrait.  Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
Orchard.  Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
Apple picking for apple pressing. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
Outback entertaining. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
Winter interior.  Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
Kara inside Frankie, her mobile homewares store 'Travelling Wares'. Photography - Sharyn Cairns.
For most of you, today's interviewee will probably need no introduction! Kara Rosenlund is the ultimate 'slashie', working as a photographer / stylist / teacher / travelling wares proprietor / and professional adventurer! Born and bred in Brisbane, you may know Kara's work through Megan Morton's The School, where she teaches her ever popular 'Vignette Classes'. I have heard on good authority that going to a Kara Rosenlund class is a little like being an audience member on Oprah – you can overhear people laughing and crying, squealing and laughing with joy through the walls. This is just so indicative of the type of person Kara is, she is truly one of the loveliest and warmest people you'll ever meet. Kara has always had a passion for the lens.  She was a driven and determined teenager, who enrolled into short courses in photography whilst on school holidays, and spent her youth photographing bands. When she was 18 she moved from her family base in Brisbane to study photography in the rural town of Toowoomba, and upon graduating she moved to Sydney, where she worked as a freelance photographer.  She's never been one to stick to just one creative outlet, though, and after achieving success pretty early on in her photography career, Kara decided take a brief break from photography to explore her love of old wares and antiques. The best place to pursue this dream? London, of course! Kara spent the next few years abroad working as an antiques buyer and dealer, and it was here that her distinctive vintage aesthetic really developed into what it is today. When the call of home was too loud to ignore, Kara decided to relocate to Brisbane, with no clear plan, but a mission to 'start something'! Wasting no time, she became the custodian of her beloved 1956 caravan, Frankie, which she bought on the spot after seeing it advertised on Gumtree. This fortuitous purchase inspired a new business, Travelling Wares - a sweet retail venture which sees Kara style and sell her collected vintage treasures at various venues across Brisbane. 'I love to be a bit foot loose and fancy free, and I had remembered seeing a group of Romanian gypsy women on a buying trip in France, selling antique linen out the back of an old caravan. Those women and the memory never really left me, so I went looking for a caravan,' she recalls. All in all, Kara's career is an amalgam of inspired creative pursuits, linked by a passion for storytelling, an uncanny knack for finding hidden treasure in the most unlikely of places, and driven by a boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm! We highly recommend Kara's beautiful 'Vignette classes' at The School - she'll be in Melbourne next month, and is travelling to Brisbane, Adelaide and NEW YORK with The School over the coming months.  Check here for the full timetable! Kara (and Frankie!) will also be at  the Brisbane Finders Keepers Market on the 5th and 6th of July, 2014.
Tell us a little about your background – What did you originally study, and what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I have always been a visual person. I spent my youth photographing bands and spending school holidays doing short classes in photography as my school didn’t have a darkroom. When I was 18 I moved to a rural town called Toowoomba on the Darling Downs to study photography – the lecturer had a great reputation, so I left Brisbane and lived in the country. All of a sudden photography just made sense, I was regularly exhibiting and galleries from around the world were interested in my work. I then teamed up with my boyfriend at the time, as Wilk+Lund, to work in the editorial space. Before I knew it I had an agent and a fast and fun lifestyle photographing interesting people. Like all things fast and fun they eventually end, so I decided to take a break, left Sydney and headed for London to explore my burning desire to buy and sell old wares and antiques. rosenlund_0023
Seaside scape vignette with bits I found in Byron Bay. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
Working across both styling and photography, what influences the style and nature of your work?
Honesty is what influences my work, the honesty that lies within each and every precious interaction. It’s in the people I meet and the landscapes that surround them, they are just themselves and don’t try to be anyone they are not.
As if you weren’t already busy enough with your styling / photography projects, you also work as a teacher at Megan Morton’s The School, teaching your very popular Vignettes class, AND also run your Travelling Wares pop-up shop from your beloved 1956 restored caravan Frankie – how do you balance these various facets of your work / life? Is there a game plan or is it all just a beautiful jumble?
It’s a beautiful jumbled mess. I am a very transparent person, I love to be busy and I think the thread between the Vignette Class, Frankie Pop Ups, and even the new adventuring project I am working on is that I genuinely really love meeting people and connecting with them. It inspires me and gives me so much energy. Whether I am sharing all I know about imagery at the Vignette Class or I’m on the road photographing an old shearer in a wool shed in the heart of Tasmania, it’s connecting with the people that keeps me wanting to tell a new story. rosenlund_0022
An old caravan found on the coast of Bruny Island. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
You’re about to embark on your latest adventure – driving and travelling around Australia taking photos for an unnamed new project! Can you tell us a little bit about this new adventure, and what your hopes for it are?
This project is one that is close to my heart. It’s quite unique as I am I’m travelling around Australia on my own looking for and photographing authentic Australian interiors and celebrating our unique way of life. I have always been connected to ‘authentic Australia’ through my time spent travelling with the caravan and sourcing, so I like the idea of sharing the ‘Australia’ I love. It’s been an amazing adventure so far, as I am doing it all through word of mouth, via a call to action, helped a little by technology. I continue to be in awe of the beauty of the landscape and the generous people I am meeting. rosenlund_0017
Moroccan wedding blanket with an old salvaged garden stool and a free wooden boule. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Whether I am at home or on location, I am always up at the crack of dawn, either for light to shoot or to let my girls out of their henhouse. I’ll check my inbox, get a fix of wholesome food and then check in to see what has been happening on the other side of the world through Instagram. I work from home, though I’m rarely there, I’m either on the road shooting, meeting interesting people, styling a job or sourcing stock for the caravan.
Can you list for us 5 resources across any media that you turn to regularly for creative inspiration?
1. Instagram – Its such a great platform to find your visual ‘tribe'. 2. The World Of Interiors – For timeless trends. 3. Music – My connection to words, memories and other peoples stories 4. TDF – My heart sings each morning when I receive the email! 5. Sunday morning radio 612 ABC’s Macca in the morning – Grass roots inspiration, I love to hear what everyday Australians are doing and how they live. rosenlund_0041
Boat House in New Zealand. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
Which other local artists, designers or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
I’m really inspired by the ceramicist Bridget Bodenham and her connection to nature. I was lucky enough to spend time with her recently in her home and studio in Daylesford and witness how connected her work is to her lifestyle and the environment that surrounds her. It’s a very organic process where everything in generated and carved by hand. Similarly Jess Wooten of Wooten, I find his pace of making very inspiring.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
I think its still to come, as there is SO much I want to do… though being able to earn an honest crust doing something I love makes me smile. rosenlund_0035
Kitchen at home; a print found at a bush market, pair of old wire oyster collecting baskets and glazed stone wears. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.
What would be your dream project?
I would love to do a television show connecting people to Australia and its amazing lifestyle.
What are you looking forward to?
Continuing to work on my Australian project and seeing more of our beautiful country and its people, in particular spending some time in the outback this year. rosenlund_0025
Stradbroke Island jetty, summer time fun. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.


Your favourite Brisbane neighbourhood and why?
It’s a seaside town on the fringe of Brisbane called Redcliffe. It's so low fi and I love that it is a little daggy and old school.
Where do you buy the tools of your trade?
The old hardware store on the corner.
Where and what was the last great meal you ate in Brisbane?
It was actually some local seafood off the back of a trawler we ate at Redcliffe.
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
At home with Timothy O and our girls (our chickens) playing vinyls or setting up a Frankie at a market from 3.30am.
Brisbane’s best kept secret?
Brewbakers in Albion, a bakery literally in the car park. Love it there! rosenlund_0009
Trees in the grass. Photography and styling - Kara Rosenlund.

Similar Stories

Recent Studio Visit