Karl Taylor has been a professional photographer for over 20 years and has traveled the globe on assignments for some of the world’s most successful companies.
Unusually for an advertising & commercial photographer Karl is what he calls ‘multi-disciplined’. Having started his career in photojournalism he is comfortable and actively enjoys shooting across a range of genres. Karl’s ethos is that ‘variety is the spice of life’ and that the visual philosophies for creating effective images are universal. Here is a brief synopsis of his career in the industry…
Karl left school at the age of just 16 with a talent for art and design. After securing a promising job in the design industry, Karl hoped to develop his skills and looked forward to the future. However, less than a year later and only 17 years old Karl was made redundant. Out of work and not really knowing what to do next, Karl applied for a vacancy at a retail photography store selling camera equipment. It was a decision that would change his life forever.
Within weeks Karl had discovered SLR photography and a medium that captivated his passion for recording life and producing artistic images. With the help of his peers he became engrossed in the subject and spent every spare minute studying and practicing the craft. Learning everything he could about film, optics, darkrooms, shutter speeds and depth of field, Karl quickly started to create images that became recognised for their impact and professionalism.
Still only 17 years old Karl began working two jobs to earn enough money to save for the equipment he so desperately needed to progress with his career in photography. However, it wasn’t long until he recognised that professional darkroom and photographic printing were also going to be crucial to understanding the industry better so he took up employment at a Kodak Pro Lab where he became an expert in photographic hand printing and film development. Not satisfied with the colour reproduction of the RA4 chemical printing process, Karl decided to purchase his own Cibachrome processor and darkroom equipment allowing him to hand print his own images directly from transparencies to the standard he desired.
In his early twenties, continuing his passion for photography, Karl spent three years freelancing in South East Asia as a photojournalist, contributing images and articles about indigenous people to several leading newspapers and magazines. During his time abroad he spent a further year in Australia. It was here where Karl took up employment as an assistant in a commercial studio and perfected his skills in lighting and the often “closed shop” techniques of advertising photography.
Returning to the UK with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm Karl managed to secure a bank loan to open his own studio offering both commercial and advertising photography. His portfolio soon caught the eye of art directors, advertising agencies and leading retail outlets, growing his business from strength to strength.
Shooting with film in a variety of camera formats including the painstakingly slow 5x4 inch cameras and dark slides, Karl paid close attention to the arrival of digital photography. He made it a priority to establish his skills in the “digital darkroom” called Photoshop and eventually became a professional in high-end retouching services. Ten years later, an expert in the industry, Karl began lecturing on photography and teaching other photographers the techniques of the “digital photography era”. His earlier years, using film and darkroom printing, gave him an enviable insight into how to create images rather than just capture them. In 2009 Karl was short-listed for a Hasselblad Masters Award, now Karl continues to share his passion and knowledge for photography through his series of DVDs, courses and workshops. Testament to his intrinsic knowledge and knack for explaining complex subjects Karl also works as a consultant instructor to Hasselblad and Broncolor, two of the industries most respected brands and is also a recognised Adobe Community Professional. Not letting go of his passion for shooting great images, Karl continues to shoot regularly for some of the world’s leading businesses and advertising agencies.
Outside of work Karl is happily married to Hélène and they have two energetic young children. In the past they have enjoyed traveling to unusual and challenging destinations across the world, though Hélène often wishes Karl could leave the cameras behind! When not taking pictures, Karl spends much of his time underwater, enjoying his other passion – diving. Initially reluctant to take photos underwater too, Karl recently discovered a new challenge in underwater video!