Karen Kasmauski

photo of Karen Kasmauski

Karen Kasmauski

Professional Lecturer, Photojournalism, Studio Arts Program



After college, Kasmauski volunteered in the rural regions of Appalachia working on health and education issues. She developed a sense of storytelling from a oral history project she collected on the communities being relocated by the creation of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. Afterwards, she became a staff photographer for her hometown paper, the "Virginian Pilot" in Norfolk, Virginia. She moved onto a long freelance career working as a contract photographer for the National Geographic Magazine for over twenty years.

She continues to work for numerous nonprofits as well as other editorial clients. Kasmauski delved into filmmaking when she, along with two colleagues, produced a film, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides” based on the stories of their mothers all of whom were Japanese War Brides who had married American servicemen during the 1950’s. The film was licensed by BBC World News and won numerous film festivals awards for best short documentary. In addition to culture and social concerns, Kasmauski has focused on Global Health issues most of her professional career specifically the delicate relationship between the environment and human health.


Current Outside Position

Manager, Little Black Dog Productions



  • Communication Arts Awards
  • 2011-2012: Knight Fellowship to study visual communication at Ohio University
  • 2009: Getty Grant for Good to document grassroots environmental group, Save our Cumberland Mountains
  • Numerous awards from Photographer of the Year Competition
  • Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award



  • 2015: Co-directed 30 minute documentary “Fall Seven, Get Up Eight-The Japanese War Brides” broadcast globally on BBC in August 2015
  • 1985-2005: Photographed 24 major stories for National Geographic Magazine
  • Originated and photographed:
    • 2008: “NURSE: A World of Care” by Emory University Press
    • 2003: “IMPACT: From the Frontlines of Global Health” by National Geographic
  • 2000: Featured in National Geographic Women Photographers book
  • Contributed to multiple national book projects including:
    • “Passage to Vietnam"
    • “America 24/7”
    • “Women in the Material World”
  • Solo photography exhibits at:
    • National Geographic Society
    • US Congress
    • Centers for Disease Control
    • Emory University
    • The Carter Center
    • National Academy of Sciences
  • Lead photography expeditions in Egypt, Japan, Myanmar, New Guinea, Galapagos, Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica



BGS in Religion & Anthropology, University of Michigan
MA in Photography & Newsroom Management, Ohio University


Professional Organizations

  • NPPA (National Press Photographers Association)
  • WIFV (Women in Film and Video)
  • ILCP (International League of Conservation Photographers)
  • LWV (League of Women Voters)