Tara Kerzhner: An Unstoppable Rock-Climbing Adventure Photographer

Want to see an example of sheer determination in a photographer? Look no further than the life and work of Tara Kerzhner, an award-winning artist who has combined her talent for rock climbing with her skills in photography and cinematography. Kerzhner is a featured photographer in SmugMug’s “This Lens” campaign.

Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by SmugMug.

“This Lens” is an inspiring campaign by the do-it-all photo service that celebrates the power of photography to challenge perspectives and change the world. It tells the stories of real-life photographers and their passionate pursuits.

Kerzhner was born and raised in Bend, Oregon, before settling in Boulder, Colorado. Her passion for photography began ever since she grabbed her mother’s film camera as a child, sparking a lifelong dedication to the craft.

Over a decade ago, Kerzhner found her way into the world of rock climbing and adventure sports. By combining her interests, she has now become one of climbing’s most sought-after storytellers. Her tenacity and talent allow her to provide clients with an elevated perspective that other photographers are not willing or able to achieve.

“Early on I fell in love with bringing the art I’d learned in the darkroom to adventure photography,” Kerzhner tells SmugMug. “You’re not strictly shooting the action. You’re finding art within the movement and within the space.

“Right out of high school, I started reaching into the aspects of my life that I loved. Like I love music, so I would go and shoot live shows. I loved animals, so I tried a pet photography business. Then I fell in love with climbing.”

Rock climbing and photography benefit from the same traits: to accomplish difficult routes and images, one needs to learn to “try and try again” until everything falls into place and the hard work materializes into a successful result.

“Climbing is so addictive because we’re always chasing that moment where you achieve something that was hard for you” Kerzhner says. “Photography for me can elicit that same response: When I take a photo that I’m really excited about, I’m just filled to the brim with that exact same adrenaline.”

“If I’m going to spend a lot of time climbing something, it can’t just be for the difficulty—it also has to be because it’s beautiful.”

These days, Kerzhner shoots both high-angle adventure photography for her personal work as well as for editorial and commercial clients. Sponsored by Eddie Bauer, Lowpro, and Natives Outdoors, she has shot for the likes of Idaho Tourism, National Geographic, Amazon Prime, and Yeti.

SmugMug has featured Kerzhner’s life and work as part of the company’s inspiring “This Lens” campaign, which celebrates the power of photography to challenge perspectives and change the world.

The campaign lives online at smugmug.com/community/this-lens, where you’ll find inspiring stories, artist spotlights, and the opportunity to share YOUR lens and unique perspective.

More of Kerzhner’s work can be found on her website and Instagram.

Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by SmugMug.

Image credits: Photographs by Andrew Tower, SmugMug