Given her first camera at age 3, Karen Safer has flourished as a photographer for more than five decades. First achieving an Associate of Arts in fine arts, with a music minor, at Santa Monica College in 1972, she went on to matriculate at the University of California Los Angeles, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in art history in 1974. She concluded her formal studies in 1981 with a Master of Arts in art and architectural history, summa cum laude, from California State University, Long Beach. She also holds a lifetime teaching credential from California Community Colleges, a California state teaching credential and is certified through the California Basic Educational Skills Test.
Attributing much of her success to her curiosity, Ms. Safer also credits the support of her family. Early on, her parents introduced her to a number of beautiful, quintessential locations in California, and she was also greatly inspired by her father’s work developing black and white photos in their washroom-turned-darkroom. Today, she is the principal and creative director of ArtFocus International and KJS Productions, having previously held creative management leadership roles with Kimberly Baer Design Associates, Altoon & Porter Architects, Skidmore Owings & Merrill International, the Roy Boyd Gallery and the May Company.
Widely recognized for her photography, Ms. Safer’s work has appeared in exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Notably, she has served as a contributor to National Geographic Partners and has been included in a variety of other magazines and catalogs. She is represented by the Los Angeles Art Association and the Los Angeles Center of Photography and holds membership with the AIA Professional Affiliates, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which she helped to found. A published poet as well, Ms. Safer has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies and has published two of her own books of poetry.
Ms. Safer has traveled to over 230 countries and territories over the course of her career, and she considers sharing the images from those experiences to be the highlight of her career. For her excellence, she has received more than 90 photography awards from art galleries and museums across the United States and Europe and was honored with Editor’s Poetry Choice Awards in 1997, 2000 and 2001. Ms. Safer also stands out as a gold member of the Travelers’ Century Club and has received the International Travel 100 Nations Award.