Carol Steen

Carol Steen ::

Carol Steen is a first-generation American on her father’s side.  She grew up in Wilkinsburg in a multi-ethnic neighborhood where she made lifelong friends and received a great public education.

Through the generosity of individuals and corporations who make scholarships possible, she was able to attend college and graduate school.  That same generosity made it possible for her to study abroad. As a result, Carol sees herself as a citizen of the world. Her favorite jobs were those she had in college – lifeguard and swimming instructor during the school year and camp counselor during the summer.

While attending Carnegie Mellon, she earned degrees in Chemical Engineering and later an MBA.  As an engineer, she worked in the paper, coal and steel industries – mostly on environmental and energy projects.  After earning her MBA, she then worked as a management consultant primarily for chemical companies. She was also an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon and Pitt for a time.  However, at this point in life, she’s semi-retired and earns a living through investments.

Outdoor is Carol’s favorite place to be.  She loves to travel and explore and learn.  She grew up in a family of very modest means and one of the few luxuries they had was a subscription to National Geographic.  She spent hours poring over photographs of exotic people and places. She wanted to see more than the handful of images in the article. She wanted to go to those places and make those photos.  Unfortunately, she didn’t have a camera, and no one she knew had a camera.

In 2000, CarolI lost her husband to colon cancer, an a person she trusted recommended that she read The Artist’s Way as part of the healing process. The Artist’s Way has two primary components, one of which is a weekly “artist date” in which you take your inner artist on a date to do or see something artistic.  Carol tried this and it seemed helpful. However, after a month or so, she found that she wasn’t enjoying the randomness of the “dates.” She wanted to focus on one thing in depth. So, she went back to her childhood interest in photography, searched for the best local education in the field and found Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Later, she would also attend the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.

Carol’s photograph was taken in Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland in February, 2017.  As a scientist, the photo makes her want to scream – CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL. At that time of year, there are typically a number of ice caves open to tourists.  Icelanders in that area count on them to earn a living. All of the tourist caves, which are relatively easy to access, were flooded that year and completely closed.

As a photographer, it reminds her that it typically takes only a fraction of a second to capture an image, but it can take enormous effort and just as much skill in different areas to gain access to the locations and people shown in the image.  Accessing this ice cave involved hiking 3-4 miles over lava fields, free climbing a short rock face, then strapping on crampons and hiking another mile or so across a glacier, then using ropes to go down the opposite side of the glacier to enter the cave.  Yes, less equipment really IS better.

“It’s TREMENDOUSLY encouraging at a time when I really need some encouragement.  I’m delighted to have my work seen and appreciated. This has given me momentum!”

Carol would like to thank Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and Jay Maise.