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In Search of Slow with Kara O'Keefe

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The world around us asks for so much. The pace at which we’re expected to participate, to preform and to produce continues to accelerate.

The deadlines and the to-do lists all focus our attention on tomorrow, often at the cost of today. 

But the time will pass regardless - and it’s what we notice, what we’re present to - that matters most. 

In Search of Slow is our invitation to appreciate what’s present, to savour those fleeting, seemingly ordinary experiences that when strung together, create the richness, the foundation, and the very fabric of our lives.

And we are absolutely thrilled to have Kara O'Keefe in this space today. 

Kara is a photographer, pharmacist and Newfoundlander, capturing images of Newfoundland that are profoundly beautiful, moving and unique.

 

We think a home says a lot about the people who live there, so first off, how would you describe your home? 

My home is a culmination of modern simplicity and cozy eclecticism. It draws influence from the places I call home and my upbringing in Newfoundland. There are pieces of my personality built into each corner of my downtown St. John’s condo. Upon entering my home you’ll promptly find yourself standing in the kitchen – the centre of any traditional home in Newfoundland and Labrador. From the kitchen one can gaze out to the veranda which overlooks downtown St. John’s and its historic harbour. Newfoundlanders live to entertain family and friends in the kitchen. The term “kitchen party” is a common term heard in small towns throughout the province. As a child and a teenager, I spent the majority of my time in my family home sat in the kitchen. Even when we were not preparing to eat, it was my preferred setting. Our kitchen was the social hub of my family where we gathered amongst ourselves and entertained visitors. This traditional importance of the kitchen was passed onto me when I planned my own home. My kitchen is where I spend time with my friends and family alike. They sit to my island for coffee, the food I prepare for them, or for a glass of wine after a long week.

Upon choosing the colour palette of my home, I subconsciously tended towards the hues of the bogs and barrens of Newfoundland autumn. As a photographer, these deep blues of the ocean complimented by burnt orange, teal, and pale yellows are some of my favourite to work with. The modern flare of my home is inspired by my time living in Germany where I was exposed to a much more contemporary and minimalistic style of home than I had grown up with in Newfoundland. You’ll find pieces of my province throughout my home in the form of local art, family heirlooms, and local foods. As a Newfoundland-based photographer, I feel privileged to have strong support from my community and strive to reciprocate this in my own space.

 

How does your home help you reset + recover amidst the chaos of daily life? 

Working as both a pharmacist and a photographer can be challenging. Balancing two professions does not often lend itself to down time – this is something I struggled with throughout university and early on in my career. As time goes on, I am slowly learning to prioritize the need to reset. Having a space that is my own, that I am comfortable in, and that I am proud of is an integral piece of feeling at ease when I return home from the chaos of daily life. Taking a moment outside on my veranda to look at the city and spending time offline are vital when I’m looking to reset. I am gradually teaching myself that it is ok to slow down and to take time for myself, that we need to reassess how we overvalue working to the point of burnout – especially in healthcare. It is ok to say no. The focal part of my day when I can put my mind at ease is when I am preparing my evening meal. This is the time of the day which I cherish most.

 

How does your work as an artist influence your home?  

Being a photographer has its largest influence on my colour palette and my choice of decorations. In my own work, I often employ cool tones and incorporate the fogginess of our city into my photos. This coolness can be seen in my paint choices and the colours of my furniture.

 

I strive to incorporate the work of local artists and makers into my home wherever possible – whether that be through wall hangings, animal pelts, locally designed wallpaper, paintings, pottery, or woodworking. There are so many talented artists and makers in this province – I feel so privileged to be a part of their community.

Thank you so much, Kara!! 

You can find her work here and @karaokeefe on Insta. 

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