Kari Yearous

Website: winonagifts.com
Contact: facebook.com/kariyearousphotography

Seven years ago, I held a digital SLR camera in my hands for the first time. It was a modest piece of equipment that nevertheless took a long time to save up for. I still remember the excitement and angst of that moment—there seemed to be no end to the things I didn’t know.

Though artistic tendencies run in my family, during my growing-up years I didn’t have much interest photography or fine art. When I held that coveted DSLR camera in my hands for the first time, my only goal was to take nice photos of my young children. During the next year or so, I used whatever free resources I could find to master the basics of photography.

In 2011, during a particularly exhausting phase in my parenting journey, I brought my camera along during one of my many early-morning outings with my toddler. That morning, I took some photos of a peaceful morning scene at a local lake, and later I just laughed when a friend suggested I should try to sell one of these images. Eventually, though, I took some small steps forward and found that local businesses and customers were quite receptive to my work.

During the following years, I created a photography business that has Winona-themed souvenirs and keepsakes at its core. I was, and still am, happy to be known as “the postcard lady. Maintaining and expanding that business is something I enjoy.

Only very recently have I begun to embrace the term “artist.” It is a term that, for me, carries weight and connotation, making me feel that I have a responsibility to live up to a certain standard in others’ eyes. Along those lines, I’ve often felt ill at ease among artists, doubting that I’m worthy to count myself among that lot. Put me in a room of small business owners, however, and I feel completely at home.

Joining the River Arts Alliance is a step forward for me as I embrace the fact that there’s no need for me to choose one camp or the other. I look forward to the day when I will feel completely at home in the world of both small business owners and artists.

Accomplishments and recognition:

  • Fall of 2015, published “Winona, Minnesota: A Photographic Collection.”
  • Major wall art project for Winona Health’s remodeled Family Practice department
  • Two of my photographs have been featured by Only in Minnesota among “The 27 Most Jaw Dropping Photos Taken In Minnesota In 2015.”
  • Three of my images will be in the upcoming Mississippi River Photo Shoot-Out exhibit in Alton, Illinois, in 2016.
  • Three images were included in the 2016 PBS program Hittin’ The Road episode “The Windows of Winona,” April of 2016.
  • Collaboration with the Winona Public Library to create images for their upcoming book Laird’s Library Legacy