Right from the start, Kara Rosenlund has always been a photographer at heart. “Growing up in Brisbane as a child, I was always photographing my pet chickens and dog, and framing up shots with my parents’ Polaroid camera – which never had film in it!” she says. “I just loved seeing life through the viewfinder.”
This creative spirit continued to grow in adulthood, with Kara packing her bags to study photography in Toowoomba – an experience that left a deep and lasting imprint on her. It offered up a captivating slice of country life on the edge of Queensland’s gateway to the west, instilling a profound appreciation of raw bush landscapes and ways of simply ‘being’. “It really made me the photographer I am today,” she says fondly.
At a glance
Who: Photographer Kara Rosenlund.
What she does: Creates photographic prints of Australian beaches, bush, animals, dahlias and more.
Where: Kara lives on North Stradbroke Island and has a Brisbane studio.
Why she does it: “I love bringing raw emotion to landscapes through sunlight, simplicity and nostalgia. I want to document each moment, evoking memories and feelings.”
From there, all sorts of new career paths opened up – and Kara followed them wholeheartedly. She worked as an editorial photographer in Sydney, then ventured to the UK, becoming “possibly the youngest” antiques dealer on London’s Pimlico Road. “I sourced pieces for high-profile people, like art for Madonna, which I delivered to her home,” she shares.
Naturally, Kara’s adventures did not stop there. Upon returning to Australia, she launched an antiques and props shop inside a 1950s caravan called Frankie, then later she changed gears again and took Frankie on a year-long jaunt around Australia, photographing buildings which were subsequently featured in her first book Shelter.
Importantly, this photography road trip became the catalyst for setting up her online print shop. All her works are now available through this platform – and the subjects depicted are always things which make her heart sing; beachscapes, bushscapes, Hills Hoists and dahlias in full bloom. Kara admits, “I have a sentimental eye for all things nostalgic.”
Vivacious, multi-talented and wonderfully unstoppable, Kara is evidently impossible to put into just one ‘box’. She’s a photographer, stylist, prop lover, brand owner, and storyteller. Yet despite all this, she’s also very much grounded by quiet family life and a simple love of ‘home’.
But where is home for Kara, exactly? Well, it involves a boat-only access – and a little more adventure, of course! Kara lives on North Stradbroke Island (with husband Timothy, daughter Edie, two, and son Alby, one).
“We love island living, raising our children in this small community so close to nature,” she says. “I hope it will stretch out their childhoods and protect our precious family time. On weekends, we walk a bush track, swim in the ocean, wander the empty beach, then run home to light the fire and cook and listen to music. The simple life.”
While home and family life clearly govern Kara’s heart, so, too, does photography. “I love it when I’m walking down a dirt track, or driving through bush, looking for photographs, and I feel a pull in my chest,” she says.
“It’s instinct telling me to turn around. All my work is led by this – following my gut. I love this part of the process the most; when you’re on the cusp of creating something special and your heart is beating fast.”