films stills photography biography articles contacts
Japanese American photographer and film director, Karina Taira was born in San Francisco. She picked up a camera when she was 6 years old shooting the things she loved around her, her friends, family, horses, everything. At 15 she was shooting documentary and conceptual art projects and portraits as personal work. Not surprisingly, she started her professional career at the young age of 19, while still attending Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and traveled between Tokyo and Los Angeles. After moving to New York, she was awarded the Diesel perfume campaign which then brought her to Europe. This in turn led to major editorial and advertising work in Paris, Milan, Tokyo, and London. She specialized in beauty, luxury and skin with an organic touch, keeping a sensual feminine approach to her work. She loves to show beautiful women with a feminine and strong mood. Her images have led her to having a contract with Life Magazine shooting all of the celebrities for their covers. Karina has also been busy shooting commercials from perfume to car commercials all over the world. At the present time Karina divides her time between Paris / Rome and the rest of the world, traveling from project to project and dancing tango in Buenos Aires in the moments between. Her next big dream is to move into features as she is currently writing her first script. Karina Taira Director/Photographer A short biography Japanese-American Karina Taira was born in San Francisco and grew up in the States, yet remained close to her Japanese roots and family, several of whom provided her with artistic and creative influences. Her relationship with photography started early, by age six she was taking pictures of her friends, and putting together fashion shoots. Around the age of 15, Karina got more serious about fashion photography and started working in a lab. While completing her education between Paris, England and then Stanford University, she carried on photographing fine art projects. By 19 she was working professionally as a photographer, while studying at the Art Centre College of design in Pasadena, California. After a year off to work freelance as an assistant then a photographer in Tokyo, she had a full portfolio and started working in Los Angeles and New York in parallel to college. After graduating and moving to New York she quickly began working for major magazines, agencies, and clients. Her distinctive and award-winning Diesel Fragrance job in particular helped launch her career into fashion beauty, going on to shoot campaigns for Dior, Bill Blass, Guerlain and L’oréal. A lot of these jobs for perfume, cosmetics and luxury goods clients brought her to Paris. Her work having a very French aesthetic to it, Paris became her hub quite early on, but also to London and Milan, Tokyo, where she worked on major editorial work (Vogue, Life, XS, I-D). In 1999 she decided to further her talents into directing commercials, she self-produced her first spec commercial, which coupled with her already strong photography portfolio quickly won her jobs, two years later she had two commercials short-listed in the perfume category in Cannes. Since then she has directed dozens of memorable commercials, not only for beauty and cosmetic clients (Boucheron, Cerruti, Covergirl, L’oréal, Lux, Nivea, Cacharel....), but also sensuous spots for Nestlé, as well as more recently launching into car commercials (Alfa Romeo, Toyota). Today her bases are Paris and Rome, but travels frequently throughout the continents, as her work as a director and a photographer has been highly successful internationally.