Capturing the magic of the Boulder ordinary

Your neighborhood through Karen Jacot’s lens

By Paul Hagey Jul 30 2020

Boulder may have some of America’s most photographable neighborhoods. From ‘hoods filled with custom, one-of-a-kind homes to those filled with more homogenous styles to those of townhomes, mobile homes, in a variety of densities, and many with unique flourishes — yard art, home paint design, landscapes and more.

Boulder photographer Karen Jacot, who lives in the north Boulder Orange Orchard neighborhood, has begun exposing these in glorious fashion, capturing the magic of the Boulder ordinary with over 100 photos during her many morning walks, which kicked off a few weeks into quarantine. She’s captured nearly every Boulder neighborhood — north, south, east and west.

Some shots from one of Karen’s South Boulder neighborhood walks. Credit: Karen Jacot

After each walk, she returns home to edit the photos and then publishes them as a stream on her Instagram stories.

Karen Jacot. Credit: Riki Jones

“I’m trying to represent in photos how it felt,” Karen says.

Her photos strike because they add a fresh view to the ordinary scenes we see everyday. Many neighborhoods I recognize, but through her lens they appear sharper, more interesting, alive. Part of that’s the morning light, part of that’s the easy-to-overlook wonder of the everyday, part of that’s Boulder’s many hidden delights and part of it comes from Karen’s quality cameras and much of it from what she decides to direct our focus on.

Karen’s route on Sunday morning, July 26

Finding Boulder

For the first six weeks of lockdown, Karen’s bed kept her in the mornings. The extreme disorientation of quarantine hit Karen like many of us. “I found I couldn’t focus on things,” she tells BLDRfly.

Then in late April inspiration hit her — she could get up, take walks and listen to audio books, and her camera, of course, would travel with her, as it does nearly everywhere she goes. “It was an excuse to get out,” Karen says. This exercise quickly turned into an IG photography exhibit.

Now, four or five days each week, Karen wanders Boulder neighborhoods on approximate two-hour, five-mile strolls, listening to her audio book and snapping photos of different scenes with her Nikon D750 using two telephoto lenses 24-70mm 2.8 and 70-200mm 2.8.

From a Martin Acres walk. Credit: Karen Jacot

She gets in her car to drive to new hoods in Boulder. Boulder’s nooks of magic stand out — clever mailboxes, dead trees carved into totems, a full-scale Japanese Tori gate.

Her audio books accompany her on her walk, and also help get her out the door. She doesn’t allow herself to listen to them at home. She’s hooked on teen dystopian novels and has listened to seven so far on her photo walks: The Hunger Games trilogy, including the recently released prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, two books of Veronica Roth’s four-book Divergent series, and currently she’s listening to the Emily St. John Mandel’s 2020 sci-fi novel The Glass Hotel.

She began the everyday photo journey when her son, now 14 was born. She took a photo of him everyday until he turned 13.

The magic continues most days. Find it at @yeahkaren.

Feature image: Images from Karen’s North Boulder morning stroll on July 26. Credit: Karen Jacot.

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter.