We had the good fortune of connecting with Karah Langson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karah, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Before I started my own business and life as a freelancer, I worked for an aerospace repair company selling services and meeting with major airlines. I always had dreamed of living a life full of travel and creativity, but at 24 years old I thought having a high paying salary and occasional travel was enough for me. Over time the job started to become draining and emotionally toxic. I had to deal with a hostile work environment and abuse from managers. After two years, I was burnt out and felt empty still wondering about my dreams of living as an artist. I picked up photography as a hobby, teaching myself everything I could about framing, gear, lighting, etc. I started dreaming about taking a huge risk- what if I just quit my job, traveled and took photos for myself? And so I did just that. I saved $10,000 for two years and bought a one way ticket to Hong Kong a month before I gave my notice. After a layover there I continued on to Malaysia, then Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and finally settled in Australia. I was gone for 7 months with no future job prospects & I learned to be okay with that. When I finally came back, a week later I was offered an assistant videographer gig from a friend who saw my travel photos and thought I’d be a good fit for the production company he worked for. I knew nothing about videography, but I was determined to dive all in and learn everything I could. I was addicted to the feel of video and for the last five years I’ve been traveling the world shooting weddings. I took so many risks to get where I am today, and although COVID put a wrench in all my hard work I have still found ways to take new risks. They haven’t always payed off (at least as easy as I imagined), but the chances I took on my dreams have always lead me back to place where the road seems clear—to continue to pave my own path forward and follow my dreams.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think I discovered early on in my artistic career that what made me different was my greatest strength. The interesting thing about film & video is that everyone sees the world so differently, but what makes a director so unique is their perspective. I’ve always been a bit shy, and loved to people watch and create stories. Film/video for me is a chance to tell a story with just images, emotions, moments, looks…I’ve become so good at catching those moments when a couple will look at each other that I can actually ‘feel’ how in love they are. It’s such an intimate experience; my talent lies in capturing and re-creating that feeling when you get when you look into the eyes of the one you love & there’s a little zap in your chest that warms your heart. I’m always looking for the truth and ways to recreate those real feelings. I also feel like the freedom I allow myself to explore & be curious is what helps me grow as an artist. Some of my best shots have come from me trying out an idea until I capture what’s in my head. It’s important to me to not get too stuck in my ways of shooting video. I want to make sure I’m always pushing myself and exploring all the possibilities.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d start by taking them straight to the beach for some morning yoga and juice from Flower Child in Santa Monica. We’d have to stay a few days there to ride bikes and ferris wheels at the pier, as well as people watching up and down Venice Beach. Then off to Salt & Straw on Abbot Kinney. After experiencing the west side, I’d take them to Runyon Canyon for a day hike. I’d end the trip over on the north east side and take them to my favorite restaurants/bars like Honey Hi for breakfast, Guisados for lunch, and Button Mash for classic arcade games and yummy dinner. Echo Park Lake is one of my favorite places to bathe in the sun, people watch, and drink aguas frescas. Last but not least we must end the trip in Highland Park, grabbing coffee at Civil, lunch at El Buen Sabor for amazing pupusas, and end at the Lodge Room for dinner, show, and a drink! To me that sums up Los Angeles— diverse, gentrified, and cultured! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my weird family at Shark Pig. Brian Morrow taught me everything I know about shooting and editing and was truly a creative mentor to me, & him and Jonathan Lynch have supported my growth as an artist over the last 5 years. I also want to shoutout to my friends—Julie, Cheryl, Lauren, Megan, Alisa, Monique & Celina. These talented ladies were not only my biggest supporters and cheerleaders through my journey, but they encouraged me constantly, and reminded me of who I am even in my darkest moments. They each inspire me every day.
Jenn Emerling Hallie Sigwing Anne- Claire Brun