Kathryn Kolb was born in Indiana and grew up in the rural countryside near Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1983 she received a BA in History from Emory University in Atlanta, concentrating on ancient Europe and the Near East. After taking photography classes at The Southeastern Center for the Arts, Kathryn began work as a free-lance photographer and has been based in Atlanta since 1985. Beginning in journalism and editorial work, by the mid-1990’s she shifted her focus to fine art images of natural forms and landscapes and began building her current body of work which she continues today.
Though Kathryn Kolb has no formal training as an artist, visual arts runs in both parents' families, and her paternal grandfather, Harold H. Kolb, was a noted watercolor painter working in Boston and the New England area. (see: hkwatercolors.com)
Kolb's editorial work is characterized by an artistic style with strong graphic elements. Her photographs have been widely published and have appeared in Smithsonian, Veranda, Rolling Stone, Nature Conservancy, Orion magazine and many others. Special photographic projects Kolb accomplished include: a series of environmental portraits of regional artists for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution; portraits of formerly homeless men and women who regained successful lives through Atlanta's Samaritan House, and self-published calendars of Atlanta and Athens musicians, including artists REM and Indigo Girls. In 1996, Kolb photographed a medical mission to rural communities in the Dominican Republic. In[masked], Kolb produced calendars for Georgia Forestwatch, featuring unprotected areas in Georgia's national forests. Her work was included in the Sierra Club's Clearcut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry, and she illustrated several articles for Smithsonian magazine including a feature on kudzu in October 2000. Her Tree Series photographs were featured in the Oct/Nov 2001 Veranda magazine, and The Wilderness Society commissioned Kolb to photograph roadless and wilderness areas of the southeastern Appalachians for the publication, Why Wilderness? What the Last Remaining Wildlands of the Southern Appalachians Mean to the People of the Southeast, published in 2004.
Kolb's fine art series include black & white and color photographs of landscapes, trees and plants from diverse natural environments, often from the Southeastern US. Her most recent color work explores abstract constructions that seem more akin to painting than photography. As photographer, Kolb stays true to the simplest form of her medium - all works are straightforward, un-manipulated images.
In 1999, through Soho-Myriad Gallery (Atlanta), Kolb was commissioned to create non-traditional landmark portraits of the University of Virginia campus for a permanent installation at the University's Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville. Images from Kolb's Tree Series were recently installed in the public spaces of the Children's Clinic at Emory University. In 2005 Kolb’s work was featured in a solo exhibit at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History (Atlanta). In August 2005 Kolb and her work were featured as cover story in the Arts Section of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. In 2007 she was featured on TBS' award-winning television series Storyline, and Kolb was one of five photographers selected to display work on Atlanta's MARTA buses for the public art project "Art in Motion," sponsored by the City of Atlanta in 2008. Kolb’s book, Kathryn Kolb Photographs, was released in November 2008.
Today Kathryn Kolb’s fine art photographs can be found in numerous private and institutional collections including those of the Georgia Museum in Athens, GA, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, King & Spalding (Atlanta), Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP (San Francisco), Georgia Conservancy, Emory's Goizueta Business School, Georgia Tech, and the City of Atlanta. (For full listing of collections, shows and clients, see Kathryn Kolb resume.)
Kathryn Kolb's interest in the environment goes beyond her visual aesthetic. Growing up in rural Virginia and with maternal family roots in the western North Carolina mountains, she developed a strong appreciation of the value of natural landscapes. Since the early nineties Kathryn has worked to preserve and restore native forest environments and care for urban trees and greenspace. She helped to produce new tree ordinances for DeKalb County and the City of Atlanta, served on the board of Georgia Forestwatch, and helped the City of Atlanta acquire a greenspace in her neighborhood. Kathryn received her Georgia Master Naturalist Certification in 2004, and from[masked] was the founding director of Keeping It Wild (originally a program of The Wilderness Society and now an independent non-profit) dedicated to bringing diverse conservation community partners together in order to connect urban residents to natural lands and promote the protection and restoration of natural and wildlands in Atlanta, Georgia and the Southeast.
In[masked], Kolb designed and launched a photography center and print studio in Serenbe Community in Palmetto, GA, and Kathryn Kolb Photographs won best of category “Nature Photography” in the JBX Media International Book Awards 2010.
Most recently, in addition to continuing her fine art work, Kathryn hosts photography workshops in partnership with The Third Eye Photographic Workshops and Adventures (TheThirdEyePhoto.com) and serves as director and leads naturalist walks with the non-profit EcoAddendum (EcoAddendum.org).
Kathryn Kolb's fine art photographs are currently available through Thomas Deans Fine Art, Atlanta; Haen Gallery, Asheville, NC; Artstudio 101, Scottsdale, AZ.
Winner, Nature Photography Category, International Book Awards, 2010
Sharing the Planet Award, Atlanta Jobs Corps, 2009
Most Innovative Award, for Keeping It Wild Program, Earth Share of GA, 2007
Print Excellence Award, for Georgia’s Last Wild Places calendars, Printing Industry Association of Georgia, 2000, 2001
Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Achievement, Sierra Club, 1999
Outstanding Commitment to Protecting Georgia’s Forests, Georgia Forestwatch, 1998