chronicles Koehlers life and work
onced worked as
photographer for the Courier-Journal
Helen E. McKinney
(September 2008) At age 11, Marion Klein Koehler
climbed into her fathers lap with a camera and said, Papa,
show me how it works. Since that time, Koehler has been snapping
shots that have earned her a lengthy career in a field she has been
zealous about her entire life.
by Helen McKinney
Theodore Klein, draws inspiration for her photographs from
nature and her
Koehler, 78, began her fascination with photography at
an early age when her father, internationally known nurseryman Theodore
Klein, purchased a camera for her. As the oldest of four children, she
began taking pictures of her baby brother. When her parents added another
brother and sister to their family, she had ample subject material from
which to choose.
Not only did she pose her siblings in front of her camera, but Klein
also had a vast natural setting in which to practice. Growing up at
the family home that is now known as Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood,
Koehler drew inspiration from nature.
I was always surrounded by flowers and trees, she said,
and frogs and crickets at night.
People and Places Through the Lens of Marion Klein Koehler
is the title of an exhibit coming to the Oldham County History Center
from Sept. 2 to Dec. 31. The center is located at 106 N. Second Ave.,
La Grange, Ky.
This exhibit is divided into various themes surrounding Koehlers
life and work. These include travel, pets, commercial work and childrens
Koehlers love of children and horticulture are what bring life
to her photographs. I love catching people on film, she
said. I love the moment when you can see whats going on
in their head, and see it in their eyes.
Her grandfather Klein and her uncles all dabbled in photography as a
hobby. Koehlers mother, Martha Lee Klein, let her take art lessons
when she was in the fourth grade to further her interest behind the
She was lucky enough to travel after graduating from college, and the
sights she experienced further enhanced the presentation of her photography.
I love to travel, said Koehler over her oversees travels.
Having studied art and design, this adventure of seeing the world at
a young age impressed upon her the beauty of great works of art. She
ended up spending six months abroad instead of the planned one summer.
One of her favorite places to visit was Italy. Just seeing such magnificent
works as the Sistine Chapel and other artistic masterpieces gave her
a sense of awe. I could just feel the vibes, still emanating
from those works, she said.
Back home, Koehler worked for the Louisville Courier-Journal as a staff
photographer from 1956-1957. At the time, there were 14 men on
staff and one girl. I was the one girl, said Koehler.
She said she enjoyed her job with the newspaper, and her career took
her in the direction of photography for promotional advertising.
Koehler still does portrait commissions and often uses children in her
work for advertisements. She is well known locally for photographing
children for Clore and Duncan Real Estate ads.
Her favorite subject matter will always be children in a garden
setting, said Koehler. Her goal is to make a childs photograph
interesting to someone besides their parents.
As a free-lance photographer, Koehlers services have been employed
by Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky Educational Television
and various other organizations. Koehler has become best known over
the years for her children and family portraits. For her, photography
is my love.
Also included in the History Center exhibit are Unknown Faces
and Places of Oldham County, photographs from the History Centers
For more information, call the Oldham County
History Center at (502) 222-0826.
Back to September 2008