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Meet Kerrieann Axt of KGA Photography in Northern Suburbs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kerrieann Axt.

Kerrieann, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Fifteen years ago, I was teaching middle school English at a public school in Atlanta. Then life happened – which involved two-pound twins born three months premature. Medical issues were part of our daily routine with this preemie duo (not to mention trying to maintain my sanity while raising two babies). One of the biggest problems we faced in the early years was one of the twin’s inability to eat or drink due to severe reflux and a paralyzed vocal cord. Our daughter, Eliot, was fed for three years through an eight-inch tube that was inserted into her stomach. When she turned fifteen months old and wasn’t talking or attempting to crawl, I was suspicious that her strict diet of sugary Pedialyte was the problem. I began reading everything I could about whole foods and the healing power they can have on our mind and body. Armed with research, I went to her doctor and begged him to let me work with a dietician to put her on a new plan full of the healthiest foods available. I saw it all as an opportunity to help her – so into the Vitamix went liver and oatmeal and blueberries and quinoa and kale (hold your nose!) and when she began talking and crawling one month into her new diet, I began to look at food in a whole new way.

When Eliot and her twin brother, Owen, turned three, we welcomed our third child into the world (a big, fat, colicky one – which was not the baby we ordered, but oh well!), and we moved from intown Atlanta to urban Memphis, Tennessee. While in Memphis, I enjoyed working for a local magazine writing food articles and sharing with readers everything I had learned about super foods. But, after three short years, we packed it all up again, and made another move – this time, to a small town in Connecticut. I began working for a health and fitness group where I wrote recipes and took photographs for their online publication. I already had a real interest in food, but now I was exploring new ways to present it, and learning how to make it look delicious behind a camera and on the web. What a different point of view!

This is where photography really took ahold of me, and where I learned the basic dials of the camera and shooting in natural light. I took pictures of food daily for the website, and as soon as I felt brave enough, I volunteered with the local business district to shoot photographs in nearby restaurants and bakeries. I was still honing my amateur photography skills, and just when things began to click (ha!), my entry level DSLR and the trusty kit lens went into the moving box again – yet ANOTHER move for this party of five.

Funny enough, we came full circle this time, and ended up back in Georgia, where both my husband and I grew up, and where all three of our children were born. Over the past year and a half, I have settled into my craft quite a bit. I upgraded my camera, bought a couple of powerhouse prime lenses, and merged my interest in food with my passion for photography. I have spent the past year not only behind the camera, but also behind my computer studying composition techniques, editing, cropping, color theories, and how to manipulate natural and artificial light. I even ventured away from that beautiful yogurt and fruit bowl to look deeper into still life and add lifestyle and florals to my portfolio. I find that any venture into a new area of photography helps to renew my view of food.

I suppose, because of the research I did years ago to aid my daughter’s health, I will always see food as an inspiration. And, because of this, I think that is where my artist’s heart will always be: tables and kitchens and white plates and sliced cakes and, of course, fresh goods straight from the farm…

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
After quite a few moves around the country, learning to snow ski in my forties, twin dyslexia diagnoses, trying to understand why our seven-year old is incapable of hanging any article of clothing on a hanger, a ridiculous amount of laughter and love, some giving up, a lot of giving in, and 87% of the time – giving my job as wife and mother my all, I can honestly say that I have lost my mind and my direction more than a few times; I’ve procrastinated A TON of laundry, and actually yelled at the child who told me he didn’t like peanut butter anymore (because what kind of sandwich am I going to send to school for you to eat now? 🤷🏼‍♀️). But through it all, I’ve taught myself to sit back and look at this life more. Relish in all of our imperfections. Enjoy them. Embrace them. Take a picture of them. For the first time in fifteen years, my husband and I have consciously stopped moving, and I think Georgia might just be home – a very hard word to say because “home” is a difficult thing to define when you’re always unpacking somewhere new.

I found photography randomly, connected to it, had a love affair with it and now, find it’s what I want all of my days to look like. Tarnished silver, the edges burnt on a pie and the simple conversation I have in the morning with my cup of coffee and my beloved old rescue dog (who, not surprisingly, has never told me that HE has changed his mind on peanut butter).

And that little miracle child, who gave me the opportunity to reinvent, is now a thriving ten-year-old. She tells the silliest jokes, loves to be at the barn riding horses, and ironically, is quite an adventurous eater. She has a scar on her stomach from her feeding tube that looks like a second belly button, and she proudly calls it her “best story.” And she will tell you that her favorite food is couscous (because she loves to eat healthily), but I know it’s really a Keebler Fudge Stripe cookie. 😉

Please tell us about KGA Photography.
I started KGA Photography after finding a space on Instagram that was interested in all things local. It was an easy decision to focus my energies on the bakeries, markets, restaurants, and farms right around the corner, and it seemed that my rustic, yet refined style fit perfectly with the spirit of this community. In addition to continuing my own personal projects in lifestyle and floral photography, I also plan to spend a lot of my time this year showcasing local artisans’ work… and to go and meet these people, shake their hands and tell their story through pictures – whether they are rolling dough or farming or baking or delivering food from the truck or to the table. What a gift!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Wow – I would have had a few more glasses of wine…

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Image Credit:

KGA Photography

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