Photo by Femi Corazon, for Shestock’s STEM gallery.

profile / alumni / photography-and-imaging
April 25, 2015
Writer: Anna Macaulay

Image Reversal

Karen Beard (BFA 97)

“Girls today are inundated daily with imagery that is overtly or covertly sexist,” says Photography alumna Karen Beard. “They have not developed the skills to question the visual language that surrounds them. I wanted to do something about that as a mother, and I realized that I could.”

In 2012 Beard founded Shestock, a stock photography agency that offers compelling and visceral female-centric images created exclusively by professional women photographers.

photo of karen beard_adj1_rgb
The stock photo agency Shestock is the brainchild of Photography alumna Karen Beard (pictured), who aims to change how women and girls are portrayed.
Photo by ArtCenter alumna Stella Kalinina (BFA 13) for Shestock. 

Early on in her career, Beard was drawn to the freedom that stock photography made possible: “Stock allowed me this open free space to create, to make mistakes, to evolve as a photographer—it gave me an outlet for that and a place to put the images. If they sold, that was great. If people passed, that was fine too.”

Now she dedicates her time to mentoring women photographers and curating images for Shestock. Her goal is to get women to look at their own lives and document them, sharing how they want to look and how they want to feel.

Shestock’s latest project: building its industry-leading collection of women and girls portrayed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) environments to counter the persistent domination of male images in this realm.