Stephen Karlisch

Meet Stephen Karlisch

Photographer · travel enthusiast · deadshot aficionado

Published in Architectural Digest, Veranda, Elle Decor, House Beautiful to name a few, Stephen has consistently helped designers pitch stories to get published in local, regional and national publications for over 15 years.

As a former architecture student, Stephen learned how to see space in an orderly way. That education has been invaluable in his pursuit of photographing interiors.

Being able to translate the layers of design to a two dimensional realm has always been an exciting challenge for me.

Stephen grew up traveling the world as the son of a Navy pilot, living in Asia, Italy, and spending his formative years in Brussels, Belgium. Studying architecture and then photography grounded him in the visual arts world, naturally progressing to focusing on interiors. Now he works with the top interior designers in Texas and throughout the US to help elevate their brand assets for coffee table books, editorial features and visual archives.


Behind the Lens

Stephen Karlisch

I always wanted to be an architect. As far back as I can remember, possibly age 9 or 10, I started observing the built environment with appreciation. At the time I was living in Naples, Italy, and my parents were obsessed with travel. Every chance we got as a family, we were driving all over Europe in my dad’s tiny BMW 2002 (with me in the back battling my motion sickness), visiting as many towns and cities as possible. 

Every trip was a chance to wander, and study a different culture and lifestyle. My elementary school drawings were extremely detailed and precise (the brickwork in my castles alone would win awards), and I would choose to only write and draw on graph paper (my obsession with pencils has been passed on to my daughters). It was during these years that my love of buildings really took hold.

Fast forward to high school. I was living in Brussels, and completely enamored with northern European architecture. I spent hours alone staring at buildings, trying to place myself back in time with the architect. Each architectural era evoked a different response from me. From the Art Nouveau to Gothic, and the suburban modern homes, I was hooked. Off to architecture school it was!

So, not all things go as planned. My great life as an architect was halted in one day halfway through my studies. It was a day I'll never forget. Before we were allowed into upper level classes, we had to photograph all of our projects from design classes the two years prior. This involved learning how to shoot in a studio with lights, and learning how to work a camera. After two long days of struggling through this process with my class, I decided that was where I needed to be. Behind the camera. 

It was so obvious, and a bit of a shock to my parents, but I've never been happier than at that moment of clarity. That was the summer of 1991. I haven't put the camera down since.

I decided that was where I needed to be. Behind the camera.