In recent years, the world of photography has seen a bit of a renaissance. The age of camera phones and digital photography sprouted a significant uptick in images posted on countless platforms and apps. Few of us can say we do not like to share our photos – maybe even oversharing on occasion, or so we’re told. Being a 24/7 digital clicker, a social-media addicted selfie-master, or filtering one’s face into a younger, sexier image with the aid of a phone or pad, hardly makes a photographer. Even with all the nifty tricks and treats the digital world has bestowed upon modern society, most of us are light-years from being classified as professional photographers.

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

A professional photographer sees composition, seeks the correct light and shadow, fine-tunes the aesthetics and focuses on things like asymmetrical balance, contrast, reflection and more, to direct the viewer’s eye and capture emotions. This is something we know when we see, but can seldom define. 

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

Groth is a full-time professional photographer and a 30-year resident of the Keys. She lives and works in Key West but has a breadth of subject matter that includes far more than just our beautiful backyard. Some of Groth’s masterful photos in her Cuba collection are brilliant and perfectly halt time, capturing the essence of historic Havana. Her wildlife depictions and tropical sunsets are majestic. 

CJ Groth and one of her photos. CONTRIBUTED

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

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

Groth has served as chair of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and won many honors and awards for her images over the years. She currently shows at Guild Hall Gallery on Duval Street where she has been a fixture since 1998 and exhibits larger works at Art on Duval, a Procaccini Gallery. More information is at 

Shannon Wiley
Shannon Wiley is a native Floridian born in Hialeah, Florida. He's an artist, muralist, graphic designer, teacher and coach. He currently lives in Marathon with his two children. Besides painting, he enjoys all the wonders of the Florida Keys. HIs work is for sale at Guild Hall Gallery in Key West and at Shady Palm Gallery in Marathon.

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