MINDEN — Current events and the weather might delay patrons from connecting with the photography of Nia Karmann, but she won’t let those external situations stop her creativity.
“My artist reception got postponed because of the weather,” she said in an interview from her studio and home in Omaha last weekend. “When people come to the gallery at the Minden Opera House they will see a collection of photos that have near and dear stories behind them. They will get to read captions about what it was like for me, the photographer, getting to capture those pictures.”
Karmann hopes to do something very simple with her photographs — transport the viewer with her on a visual journey.
Her current exhibit, on display at the Minden Opera House through April 30, features mostly landscapes along with several photographs of animals.
“For me, it’s all about perspective,” she said. “I am a purist photographer. I try very hard to make it so that when viewers go to the places I photographed, they can see the pictures as I saw them when I captured them.”
Karmann avoids software fixes of her work as well as using special filters to obtain visual techniques. She seeks to document a specific scene at a specific time in its purest form.
Two aspects of her life influence her work — her faith and her wheelchair.
On her website Karmann writes: “Having the opportunity to share my view of life and the amazing beauty and wonder that God has given us is my passion. Views from a wheelchair are always unique and many times what I see in a crowd is obstructed by the surrounding people. But, when the crowd clears, I use my upbeat, creative attitude to capture the beautiful world around us. My unique perspective of unusual angles, shapes, and scenes visible only from my wheelchair help to make my photography individual.”
Born with spina bifida, Karmann uses crutches and a wheelchair for mobility, but she wants her photography to define her vision instead of being define by her physical limitations.
“A lot of time, my photos have spoken first for themselves,” she said. “And when people have shown a true, genuine interest in what I’m doing, then my story comes in as the photographer who was born with spina bifida but hasn’t let that stop her. If there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m not usually afraid to try anything, at least once.”
Karmann grew up in Grand Island. She moved to Omaha four years ago where she sought a more vibrant arts community.
“There is definitely a big, booming arts scene here,” she said. “There’s a lot more opportunity here, too.”
Her photographs have been featured at a gallery at Eppley Airfield, a place that gives her work great visibility.
“I’ve been in that gallery for all the four years that I’ve been in Omaha,” Karmann said. “That was something that was just getting started when I first moved here. And that was something that sparked my wanting to move here. They showed an interest in my photography.”
Her photography also has been featured at the Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Grand Island Art in the Park, exhibits at various libraries and Hildegard Art Center.