**Karen Lunney – a life well-lived**
Dr Karen Lunney was an Australian photographer based in Brisbane. She was introduced to photography and the darkroom during undergraduate studies in mathematics and, while passionate about image making, only pursued photography in her spare time. She went on to complete a masters degree in pure mathematics and a PhD in applied mathematics, specializing in the fractal geometry of natural growth patterns. She worked as a mathematics lecturer and subsequently set up an applied scientific consultancy with her long-term partner Dr Peter Best.
During this time photography took a back seat, with three children and a growing business keeping her very busy.
In 1996 she was commissioned by the Indonesian Government and Freeport Indonesia to investigate the melting of the main equatorial glacier in Irian Jaya that is adjacent to the Freeport gold and copper mine and close to many indigenous settlements. So began her long-term love affair with travel to remote parts of the world and a passion for looking at how the earth and vulnerable human and animal communities are affected by changing conditions.
Over the next five years, she produced from her research what was recognized as a world-leading energy trading system; in 2002 the sale of this intellectual property allowed her to leave mathematics behind and devote all of her time to a career in photography.
The diagnosis of a life-threatening illness led to a reassessment of goals and Karen became more focused on photography that had a deeper resonance for her. The passion for travel, interest in the challenges facing others and the search for authentic experiences led to a long-term project “Tropics to Poles” – an odyssey searching out some of the more remote parts of the world in order to highlight the fragility and resilience of animal and human communities now experiencing rapid environmental and social changes.
During four years of travel she visited Antarctica, the Arctic, the Galapagos, the Waorani lands of the Ecuadorian Amazon, East Africa, the Okavango Delta, Rwanda and its gorillas, Northern and Central Australia and Bhutan with her partner Peter. As she entered the consolidation and image-processing phase recently, extreme events closer to home (floods and bush-fires) provided additional inspiration for the project.
Karen has been fortunate to have the following successes. She was placed fourth in the professional photojournalism category of the 2013 International Loupe Awards. She was a finalist in the 2014 Smithsonian Photographic competition, the 2014 HIPA competition out of Dubai, the 2014 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards and the Doug Moran Contemporary Photography Award. Her work has been published in “Mono” – a book of black and white images published by 1x.com and in “Creating the Future” – a book created from the finalists of the HIPA, Dubai 2014. Her images were in the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photography Exhibition 2014 and the Doug Moran Contemporary Photography Travelling Exhibition.. Her work has been featured in several news and on-line publications and many of her photojournalism images are available via the Solent News and Photo Agency and Offset.