Karen Hymer inherits much from the work of Julia Margaret Cameron. Both women practice a kind of photography that steers away from the realistic or documentary and toward the personal and poetic. Rich textures and deep shadows, realized in hand-made images, tie their styles together in both appearance and spirit. Hymer’s art, executed in polymer photo-gravure, is “computerized” and thoroughly modern, and, at the same time, connects directly to traditional etching and engraving, with prints pressed one at a time on fine art paper, each image showing a unique artist’s touch. Her nudes are real, temporal, and human, shown clearly connected to nature and its seasons.
"Most of the photographic processes I use originated in the 19th century. These early processes, (cyanotypes, van dykes, palladium, and gum dichromate), all involve the use of light-sensitive materials and are "contact processes" which means they work from photographic negatives, exposed in contact with a sensitized substrate, just like the earliest photographs. Although this sounds quite technical, the real attraction for me is the handmade aspect of each image. I use digital photography but fine it most rewarding when I can get my hands involved, painting emulsions on surfaces, mixing ink colors, applying color and other alterations (like wax), and just experimenting."