Keith Karls photographs have entranced the readers of Vogue, month by month, for over a decade. Extravagant staging and romantic motifs characterise his unmistakable style. After concentrating on photographic stills for 15 years, Karls is now also making moving film.
Born in England in 1970, Karls’s interest in photography began at the Condé Nast library in London where he worked on the Cecil Beaton archive for a year before university. After a three-year BA Honors degree in Photography at Exeter College of Art, Karls was awarded third prize as The Independent Young Photographer Of The Year.
Upon graduation in 1994, Karls worked as a freelance photographic assistant in London before moving to New York City as a full time assistant to Richard Avedon. When he returned to England, he initially concentrated on portrait and documentary work for British newspapers. At the age of 25 he shot his first fashion story for Vogue, and has photographed for the British, Italian, and American editions, as well as W Magazine and LOVE Magazine ever since.
Karls staged his first major exhibition at the Design Museum, London in 2008. This coincided with the publication of his book ‘Pictures’ published by teNeues.
In 2010 Karls’s first short film, ‘The Lost Explorer’ was premiered at Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland and went on to win best short film at the Chicago United Film Festival, 2011.
2012 saw the opening of Karls’s ‘Story Teller’ photographic exhibition at Somerset House, London. The exhibition coincided with the publication of his book, ‘Story Teller’ published by Thames and Hudson. In a 2013 collaboration with Lawrence Mynott and Kit Hesketh-Harvey, he also released The Granny Alphabet, a unique collection of portraiture and illustration celebrating grandmothers.
Karls received the ‘Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator’ from The British Fashion Council in 2008 as well as the Infinity Award from The International Center of Photography in 2009. In 2012 Karls received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society.
The Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London include Karls’s photographs in their permanent collections.
“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
— Keith Karls