IIn recent years, the world of photography has experienced a certain renaissance. The era of camera phones and digital photography has spawned a significant increase in the number of images posted to countless platforms and apps. Few of us can say that we don’t like sharing our photos – maybe even sharing them on occasion, at least that’s what we’re told. Being a 24/7 digital clicker, selfie-master addicted to social media, or filtering your face into a younger, sexier image using a phone or pad, hardly does of photographer. Even with all the nifty tricks and treats that the digital world has bestowed upon modern society, most of us are light years away from being classified as professional photographers.

CJ Groth’s “ Shrimp Boats in Port ” was the cover image of the 2019 Keys Culture Magazine. CJ GROTH

A professional photographer sees the composition, searches for the right light and shade, refines the aesthetic, and focuses on things like asymmetric balance, contrast, reflection and more, to direct the viewer’s eye and capture the emotions. It is something that we know when we see, but that we can rarely define.

CJ Groth is a highly trained and incredibly skilled photographer who lives right here on our little island paradise. Groth was born in Iowa and discovered photography in her youth when her brother bought his first Nikon camera and shipped it from Japan. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and an MBA, and spent years working in American companies before her fortuitous arrival in Key West.

Groth is a full-time professional photographer and a resident of the Keys for 30 years. She lives and works in Key West, but has a huge range of subjects that includes so much more than our beautiful backyard. Some of Groth’s masterful photos in his Cuba collection are brilliant and perfectly still, capturing the essence of historic Havana. Its depictions of wildlife and tropical sunsets are majestic.

CJ Groth and one of his photos. CONTRIBUTED

“I never know when I’ll see something that will speak to me, which is why I always carry my camera,” Groth said. “I hope others will feel the same connection to the subject when they see my work.”

Her work differs from that of most photographers as Groth combines the best of darkroom (process) and digital photography, enhancing color as best she can.

Groth served as president of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and has won numerous honors and awards for her images over the years. She is currently exhibiting at the Guild Hall Gallery on rue Duval where she has been a staple since 1998 and exhibits larger works at Art on Duval, a Procaccini gallery. More information on

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