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©Karen Smith

© Karen Smith

Passionate to share our miraculous marine ecosystem, I aim - through JillMcCarty Images - to improve public awareness and foster protection of our fragile undersea world which is essential to humankind's well-being.


Photography was an early interest: I studied film and darkroom work under Professor Leo Holub as an undergraduate at Stanford University. While studying marine biology as a Biological Sciences major, I became a certified SCUBA diver in 1976, and published research at Hopkins Marine Station, Monterey, California. My work revealed that polychaete tube worms sense heavy metal pollution (J.A. Ward). Additional research projects included cardiovascular properties of dorid nudibranch toxins (F.A. Fuhrman PhD) and colonial tunicate immune recognition and its application to human organ transplant success (I.L. Weissman PhD).


Both photography and marine science were "put on the back burner" as I pursued a career in medicine, completing a combined MD-PhD Medical Scientist Training Program at The University of Iowa and the Medical College of Virginia.  Residency at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute followed, then a fulfilling 29-year career in ophthalmology, performing cataract and oculoplastic surgery to improve the quality of life for thousands in Southern California.


Living in coastal Ventura, California renewed my passion for photography and marine science.  Over the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to document underwater life on reefs and in the open ocean all over the world while learning from renowned underwater photographers including Alex Mustard, MBE and Martin Edge.  A Master Scuba Diver, I am driven to share underwater discoveries in an engaging, creative style, to be enjoyed as art, to educate, and to stimulate public action to take on the enormous human-derived challenges our world faces.

At JillMcCarty Images, I invite inquiries for location photography, photojournalism, stock photographs, and customized fine art photography.

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