Niagara River near the American Falls | Photo 2007

Stories from the Art: Nancy Carenen

Portrait by:Michael Carenen 2013
There’s an incredible peace when I put a camera to my eye. I take in what I can take in and I see things with awe. I haven’t lost that part of the process. That awe, it’s a magical feeling to be able to capture a moment... it’s capturing something that you know
will never be the same again, and that’s the real magic.“

Nancy Carenen captures peace with her camera. She is fascinated with the beauty and vulnerability of nature, whether in her back yard or in the spectacular environs of a national park.

Exquisitely quiet and sensitive, Nancy has a natural affinity for the wild and is drawn to nature with a passion that can drown out the cares of the world.  She finds herself motivated by the beauty of nature, and seeks to find the unsung, the unseen, and the unobserved within the mundane; and does so effortlessly. Her natural sensitivity allows her to see the details in life that pass by most of us, as we hurry along in our busy lives. Nancy sees those small details, and embraces them with her camera.

Along with her husband and friends, she takes a yearly trip to Yellowstone National Park. This annual adventure provides her with countless opportunities to view and photograph the loveliness and fragility of one of our most beautiful national treasures. In the wild, the bonds that occur in the animal family unit are particularly close to Nancy’s heart. Watching the mothers bonding with their newborns, protecting while at the same time nurturing them - Nancy catches these moments with amazing clarity. The serenity she feels when in these surroundings unleashes a creativity in her that is astounding, and she draws her viewer along with her as she experiences things most of us will never enjoy first hand.

Living in Moreno Valley, she often wanders in her “backyard”- lovely San Jacinto. Asking when she prefers to shoot, Nancy says “I am more of morning person, that’s when I find myself going out. I am an early riser, I just take the dog and off I go...” And with her four footed friend, she captures morning mists and the soft colors that bathe the early morning landscape.

She regularly visits the Wild Animal Park in San Diego as well, for the love of animals strikes a more personal chord with her, and she is pulled toward them whether here at home or on vacation.

Her landscape photos are filled with the grandeur of the outdoors. “In the midst of chaos there is always a peace to be found” she says. While in a tremendous thunder storm in Yellowstone, she and her husband found themselves huddled together in shelter waiting for the awe inspiring act of nature to wind down. As the rain stopped and the sun was beginning to peek through the dark hovering clouds, light streamed into the area around them, and Nancy was quick to catch that experience with her camera. When asked why she chose black and white to highlight that particular moment she says “Black and white is all about the shadows, the dimensions, the depth. In color the photo was good. In black and white, it’s something better.” It is far more then better, it’s breathtaking.

Great Fountain Geyser | Photo 2012
Fairy Falls Trail | Photo 2012
Curator: Gene Sasse
Writer: Laurie Morrison
© 2013 Inland Empire Museum of Art
All Art © by The Artist