We’re sitting on the outdoor patio at Lyndall’s Sports Stop in Kelseyville. Patio lights, dim in the sunlight, string overhead, baskets with red and yellow petunias dangling between them, swaying slightly in the breeze. Karen Pavone, with dark-rimmed green eyes and short blonde hair, sits on a barstool, a burger in front of her. In the background, framed by the patio pillars, Mt. Konocti rises, two-peaked from this angle. The breeze stirs the still-cool morning air, and the long bar table stretches between us, our legs dangling from the stools.
“I live on the side of Konocti,” Karen says, “and I love it. I get the Soda Bay stretched out below me and sunsets every night.” That works well for Karen, a gifted local photographer. If you’ve done anything in Lake County, odds are you’ve seen her, a camera around her neck and a big smile on her face. She’s photographed Kelseyville’s Farm to Fork Dinner, the Lake County Wine Auction, and numerous other events. Her work is diverse, from landscapes to events to portraits, which is a good thing because 2020 has turned out to be an interesting year.
“I was booked out into October, November,” she says, talking with her hands, making big, bright gestures. “And when the Shelter in Place happened in March, all of a sudden, my calendar was empty.
“That’s when I came up with the idea for Porchraits.” Karen smiles. “It was a way for me to keep taking pictures and maintain social distancing at the same time.” Her gold hooped earrings dangle with her words. “I saw it as an opportunity to document where a family was during the 2020 pandemic. It took a while for people to get it, so I took some pictures of my friends and posted them to show how it worked.”
“And some of the stories that have come out of it are incredible,” she continues. “I had the most amazing experience doing a porchrait. I went to a couple’s house; she was expecting her first child. There were issues with keeping a six-foot distance at their front door. We couldn’t take the picture there, so we looked around for another option.
“Behind their house, up on the hill, was this tree swing! It was the perfect spot. Then I learned this couple had moved to Lake County following the 2018 Camp Fire, which had destroyed their home and all their possessions, except for this swing.” She smiles broadly. “It doesn’t get any better than that!”
Karen’s a storyteller and writer as well as a photographer; her writing tells as much of a story as her photography. All of her creative expression has an immediacy to it. It’s the ability to catch the light and the moment at just the right second or use the perfect word at the perfect time. That, and her friendly, bright personality are why she’s so respected in Lake County.
Just recently, she took over the social media contract for Lake County, which made her ecstatic. “Lake County has so much going for it, the water, the serenity, the natural beauty, the people. I’m so excited to be part of such a great community,” she says, her gestures matching her expressive face. “I feel like there’s a ground swell happening here. People are working hard to redefine our county. I’m so excited to be part of such a great community and be part of the positive change happening in Lake County.”
It’s not just Karen’s photography, but also her passion for Lake County that makes us excited to share Karen’s photography with our readers. To see her new column, click this link. Once a week, you’ll have a chance to see something beautiful, and an opportunity to slow down for a second and focus on the moment.
To see more of Karen’s work, follow her on Instagram & Facebook @karenpavonephotography.