A La Porte County Life In The Spotlight: Carol Estes

By: Angela Abina Last Updated: March 14, 2018

Carol Estes moved to Northwest Indiana from Kansas City in 1982 where she ended up marrying her husband who grew up in LaPorte County. She’s been a resident of New Durham ever since and spent 28 ½ of her years here running an antique store in downtown La Porte. Now, a widow of 11 years and retiree for two, Estes spends her life immersed in her passion for art photography.

Author of Memories Evoked, three-time contributor in Birds in Bloom magazine, and 2014 Hoosier Woman Artist award winner, Estes didn’t pick up her love for the camera until around the year of 2011. That’s when she visited her brother-in-law and cousin in California after the loss of her husband. She brought a camera along to document her trip and just like that – there was a connection to healing.

“It was just one of those moments where things just kind of clicked,” Estes said as she spoke about dealing with the grief of her loss. It was soon after that she responded to an article in Birds in Bloom about using photography and working with bird feeders as a form of coping and therapy. Estes’s submission made it into in the article and following that, and her work was published two more times in the same magazine.

Well-known for her photo of cardinals all lined up on a fence facing the same way, Estes was awarded the 2014 Hoosier Woman Artist award and her photo hung on Lt. Governor’s wall for a calendar year.

Since her publications and awards, Estes has been involved in many artist groups and art galleries in NWI, Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri. She does anything from model work in Milwaukee to themed exhibits in art galleries, but one thing Estes doesn’t do is commercial work.

Despite having done a few weddings by personal request, Estes said as a true artist at heart, “I consider myself an art photographer by choice.” Estes’s latest work has involved using a technique that involves moving the camera while taking the photo, inspired by the art movement of Impressionism.

Estes has come a long way in the last decade after losing her husband. The art of photography, poems, and proses have served as a therapeutic way to heal peacefully, and beautifully if you’ve ever seen any of her work. “I decided to take my journey and time and use that as therapy through going through a grief in loss. So here I am,” Estes said.

As a member of Franklin Art District Artists, Estes encourages artists and community members to come out to the very first Friday of their season to see galleries of artists from around the area, including her own.

Located downtown in Michigan City at 617 Franklin Street, FADA is open to all Friday, March 2. To request a showing for any first Friday, contact Estes by visiting