Karen Jerzyk: the photographer who turns abandoned places into magnificent fantasy worlds

Marija Georgievska
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Fine art photography, or conceptual photography, is the result of the creative process of the artist’s vision. Many artists today express their feelings through this fantastic sub-genre in various ways.

This kind of photography is created with the help of many photo-editing tools, including Photoshop and Illustrator. It became a very popular way of expression for many people today who find photography to be a very fulfilling and interesting form of art. Different locations for the shoot are chosen where they can create their vision. Few of the most popular locations today are crowded places on streets, cafes, rarely visited places, magical nature places, abandoned places and more.

The fascination with the abandoned as a location for shooting photography has become very popular, and often the photos set up in these kinds of places are connected with darker emotions. The ruins of these places are always connected with some deeper individual feelings which can be seen in the final artwork.

The Farmer’s Daughter. Author: Karen Jerzyk

There are many artists who devote so much time to find and enter such places and document their forgotten walls. One of the artists who is inspired by the abandoned concept is the magnificent Karen Jerzyk. In 2003, she graduated from the University of New Hampshire, Boston, when she was given her first digital camera by her parents.

Mothership. Author: Karen Jerzyk

At the beginning of her career, Karen started with band photography, and in 2008, she decided to develop her ideas and photographed people. When she began shooting models, Karen had no precise concept–until the day when she saw a photo of a theater in an abandoned asylum in Connecticut. After a period of practice, Karen even started to make the costumes for the models, added furniture when needed and created full scenes that matched her concept.

Sailing Ships. Author: Karen Jerzyk

As with other fine art photographers, Jerzyk’s goal is that through her art, the viewer will connect with the theme on a personal level. These kinds of surreal concepts can never be defined; they can only provoke the thought of the viewer who will understand the photograph in their own way, like for example, when reading a book. Most of the abandoned locations that she chooses existed before the age of the technology, and it is crucial to her that inside, some vintage items can be found.

The Littlest Dinosaur. Author: Karen Jerzyk

Once she finds an abandoned place, Karen tries to restore it a little to look like it was before in its own time, paying attention to every small detail. Her photos are like dreams, some of which connect with her personal feelings about her father, who passed away in 2011. Jerzyk explains that after that tragic event, her world had changed forever. All of her dark fantasy photographs are creations of her feelings which can never be expressed with words.

Them. Author: Karen Jerzyk

The inspiration for her work comes from music, books, and movies. In her “About” on Raw Artists, Karen says that most of her ideas are from movies and directors like Wes Anderson, David Lynch, Tim Burton, and Stanley Kubrick. In an interview for Drunk In A Graveyard, Jerzyk says that the biggest drive for her are “terrible and mean people that surround us.” She was arrested in 2014 for trespassing when another photographer reported her.

The White Witch. Author: Karen Jerzyk

This incident motivated her to never give up, despite the presence and actions of mean-spirited people. The models in her photographs are sometimes represented as real people and sometimes as fantasy. In many photos, there are little boys and girls who often look like ghosts or represent some childhood memories helped by the remarkable vintage background.

Visit Karen Jerzyk site, if you want to see more of her magnificent work.

Abduction. Author: Karen Jerzyk

Some of the female models are represented as very tall, giving the space an even more powerful and surreal meaning. Others are nude or made up with horrifying makeup and costumes.

Read another story from us: One photographer’s quest to revive the forgotten glory of America’s abandoned movie theaters

However, whether frightening, beautiful, or fantastic, Jerzyk says that her photos encapsulate her feelings perfectly.