Karissa Hosek is gone dirtn’

Karisssa Hosek sits on her van as the sun sets behind her. Linhbergh Nguyen/Courtesy

Some people are lucky enough to turn the outdoors into their place of work. Karissa Hosek and her partner, Linhbergh Nguyen, are among them. Combining their love of automotive photography with the outdoors, the two have been able to curate a life of mobility and adventure. 

Hosek was born in Texas and moved to San Francisco when she was 21 to pursue her love of photography in college. From there, she made her way to Los Angeles where she was able to grow her business into her own. 

“I run my own photography company and I have clients that hire me,” Hosek says. “ I’m pretty much just outsourced, like whenever somebody needs something I come, I shoot, I finish with editing and then move on to the next one.” 

Her love for automotive photography began in Texas. Her family owns a car audio shop and Hosek also owns a racecar back home. 

“Cars was my first hobby and then I found photography not long after I started really getting into cars,” Hosek says. “I would look through car magazines and look at brochures and I just thought I like take a photo and like dissect like how they shot it, how they lit it, and then I realized that like I was always a creative person growing up and so that was kind of becoming my creative outlet, then I went to San Francisco to pursue it.” 

In addition to automotive photography, Hosek and her partner Nguyen also chase their love for the outdoors in their Montero van named “gondirtin.” The name came about at a car conference called Specialty Equipment Market Association in Las Vegas. 

Hosek and Nguyen had just purchased the van and while conversing with friends at SEMA, Hosek told them, “yeah in California we don’t go muddin’ because we’re in a drought so we gon’ dirtin’ instead.” She has thought about changing the name since it sounds “redneck-ey” to her, but for now, it remains as both the license plate of the van and her Instagram handle. 

In their most recent adventures, the partners have made their way into Utah and Hosek’s most recent work was with Omaze. They also hope to outfit their van for a trip to Alaska, permitted that the borders are open. 

The van has allowed the pair to challenge themselves in their work, opening new opportunities for other mediums in photography. 

“It’s a new passion of our’s is to document adventures, do landscape photography because that’s technically another hobby and it’s challenging because it’s different than shooting a car, like nature photography is actually extremely hard,” Hosek says. “So it’s kind of fun, it’s challenging and yeah we love sharing that through Instagram.” 

Recently, the pair have been looking into going out of their comfort zones in their typical work. Nguyen has been getting into YouTube and using the platform to show off his cooking skills. Meanwhile Hosek has been looking for ways to branch out of L.A. 

“Definitely a goal of mine is to branch out more into the commercial world of automotive to where I’m able to do a few jobs here a year and then also travel and be on the road and potentially use our Instagram platform,” Hosek says. “If things redirect in our paths then that’s awesome and if they don’t, we’re happy with that too.”