My name is Karen Stein, and I am originally from São Leopoldo in the south of Brazil. My Dad’s family has a strong German background and rather than go with a traditional Brazilian first name, he told me that he wanted something unique and picked the name Karen from a book…. or at least that is what he told me!
I am one of the eldest grandchildren from a large family. I loved spending time babysitting my many younger cousins and that was where my passion for working with babies and children began. I also spent a lot of time with my granny looking through all her old family photos which she lovingly kept in a shoe box. She would patiently describe the people and places captured in the photos and would talk to me for hours about all those special and treasured occasions. I knew then that photos were the key to many cherished memories and, while there are not many photos of me as a baby, I realised that the few my parents did have were treasured by them.
I also remember being in school and my Dad hiring a local photographer to take some photos of our family. I was so impressed with the camera and kept asking him many questions about how it worked. I was surprised that he managed to take any photos on the day! My Dad could see my curiosity and passion developing and he bought the first family camera when I was 10 years old. He later gave me this camera and I quickly became our “family photographer” spending hours capturing our memories. I loved photographing our family holidays, birthdays, treasured moments and photography became a real passion for me.
When I left school, I decided to pursue my love of working with children and studied to be a primary school teacher where I felt I could use my creativity in teaching. I became a primary school teacher but, in 2011, I decided it was time for change and to live abroad. I have been in Ireland for nearly 10 years now and it has given me the opportunity to learn a new language, to study something that I have always loved and to turn my passion for photography into a profession. Ireland has also given me a new gang – my amazing boyfriend and my little cat! I could not wish for a better place to live…