Look behind the lens of award-winning photographer Karyn Millet and you will uncover an extraordinarily rich and artistic family heritage which has
influenced Millet's career, honed her keen eye for beauty and set the bar for her attention to detail.
From a very young age, Millet has been inspired and motivated by her great-great uncle, Francis Davis Millet, a famed early 20th century artist who was last seen helping women and children onto lifeboats on the RMS Titanic and who is widely recognized for his popular paintings and murals of period genera scenes at major museums around the world.
"Growing up, I always knew about my famous great-great uncle, but as time goes on, I am learning more and more about Uncle Frank's life and work. I would say having a rather amazing artist on our family tree made me curious about art and how it could ever be one's career. I dreamed about a career in the arts but never imagined I would pursue it myself someday.
"Because of his heroism on the Titanic, I think it's important to honor Francis Millet and keep his altruistic and artistic spirit alive and well. Featuring him on my new art website, SHOPkarynmillet.com, is my way of paying tribute to Uncle Frank and my hope is to continue his legacy in this century," said Millet.
Although Francis Millet provided inspiration to his great-great niece, it was not until Millet traveled to Bali, Indonesia leading a press trip in 2001, that she discovered her interest and talent in photography. Her black and white pictures of Bali's lush natural beauty were made into cards, which sold at exclusive boutiques such as Fred Segal in Los Angeles.
After 14 years in publishing and public relations, Millet finally decided to take a leap and pursue her passion for the visual arts. Her bold move has paid off, in less than half that time, Millet has built a name for herself as a talented professional photographer in the interior design and hospitalities. Her artwork has been installed in leading hotels, resorts and spas as well as private homes across the United States.
In 2010, Millet won the prestigious Stars of Design Award for Photography from the Pacific Design Center at Westweek. Past recipients include Helmut Newton, Julius Shulman and Herb Ritts. She has photographed three books in less than three years - Natural Style (Creative Homeowner, ) The Well-Dressed Home (Clarkson Potter,) and Kids of Kilimanjaro. She is currently working on her next title about re-inventing oneself.
Millet's editorial work has also appeared in influential lifestyle, travel and design magazines including: House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Condé Nast Traveller UK, Country Living, Condé Nast Traveler, Interiors, Vogue India, Los Angeles Confidential, Riviera, Luxe, Western Interiors & Design, Sunset Magazine, California Homes, Robb Report, O at Home and Angeleno.
Millet has exhibited her fine art collection in two solo shows at Lendrum Fine Art in Los Angeles which received media coverage by Good Day LA (FOX-TV) and Angeleno. Corporate clients include celebrated five-star hotels such as the Montage Resort Laguna Beach, The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Grand Del Mar, and Sea Island Resort.
"My goal is to photograph life - and that means capturing time, chronicling scenes and catching beauty," says Millet. "I don't push a shot, but rather constantly have an eye out for the right light on an intriguing, poignant or subtle subject. With all the beauty that God gives each day, it is a welcome challenge to create a photograph that can hold a moment."
A native of Southern California, Millet grew up on the same beach her family still calls home. The sand, surf and shoreline remain some of her favorite photographic subjects as well as the vibrant colors, elaborate design motifs and engaging architecture of Guatemala, her father's homeland.
Her newfound interest in exploring her great-great uncle Francis' life and legacy has motivated Millet to travel to Europe this summer to photograph landscapes, gardens and great homes in Paris and London.
written by Diana Fung
Top: "Wandering Thoughts" by Francis Davis Millet