meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective)

This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put "something of yourself" into what you're doing, whatever it may be.


Karen Pulfer Focht has the eye of a journalist and the soul of a poet.

Her photographs reflect reality but in a way that both informs and inspires.  She captures moment and mood, motion and emotion, fact and truth.

It's not just her artistry at work here, it's her empathy.  She sees with her heart, and when we look at her photographs, so do we.

Karen is an award winning freelance photojournalist in Memphis. She is a former staff photographer for what was the largest newspaper in Tennessee, The Commercial Appeal,  1988-2014. She finds the extraordinary, in the ordinary, everyday. Karen was recognized as one of the worlds top contemporary photographers by both Magnum and LensCulture in 2017.

She is currently self-employed and based out of Memphis, Tennessee where she brings her authentic documentary photojournalism style to whatever assignment she is on. Her work is regularly published in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. Karen has a diverse client list but she specializes in projects and editorial photography for the Associated Press,  area magazines, several wire services and various publications. Karen is a visual storyteller; she does limited video and produces occasional documentary and multimedia projects .

Karen's work is spread through out the pages of many books as well as over two dozen album covers.

She brings an artistic quality to much of her work and she is frequently invited to exhibit her art; she has also recently started selling select prints.

Work Phone: 901-331-7934

FOLLOW KAREN ON SOCIAL MEDIA (social links below)

Video Portfolio- https://vimeo.com/karenpulferfocht


~  "Karen is creative, sensitive and flexible. She displays empathy and quickly connects with subjects. Because she is so open and has such a good heart, she is easy to trust and she’s able to get intimate access to situations where other photographers would be shut out. " John Sale


~  "Congratulations! Photographers from 135 countries submitted work for these awards this year, and your work was recognized as being among the best of the best by our international jury." Jim Casper-editor-in-chief of LensCulture Magazine & Magnum Awards 2017

~  “This was Karen’s hallmark for her 26- year career at The Commercial Appeal: talented, passionate and driven by her love of meeting and learning about people. When Karen took on an assignment, she lived it.”  Louis Graham, Editor- The Commercial Appeal

~  "Karen's pictures connect to the Heart, because she captures them with the camera of her Heart."  John H. White, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, Chicago.

~  "Focht moves easily between the world of photojournalism and art."  Columnist Richard Alley

~  "She sees with her heart, and when we look at her photographs, so do we." Columnist David Waters

Bio- Honors:

Karen has received innumerable awards during her career.  Most notably, she was presented with the Society of Professional Journalists' Medallion for Distinguished Service to the American People for her series on infant mortality in Memphis, "Born to Die."  For this project, she also was awarded the Casey Foundation Medal For Meritorious Journalism. 

Professional affiliations- The American Society of Media Photographers, the premier trade association for the world’s most respected photographers; National Press Photographers Association

Karen got her start at the newspapers near her hometown of Chicago. From there, she went to the Post-Tribune in Northwest Indiana, where she was named Indiana Photographer of the Year in 1987 as a rookie.  With The Commercial Appeal,  her photo assignments took her to the White House, New Zealand, Peru, China, and France. Her work is featured in many books; Karen was chosen as a photographer for the book project America 24/7. The America 24/7 team of top international photojournalists, took extraordinary pictures of an ordinary week in America.  She's been published in many national and international publications, including Newsweek, Rolling Stone, People, Sports Illustrated and a cover on Time Magazine for Kids.

A more in depth body of work, biography, specific honors and stock photography collection can be found at www.karenpulferfocht.photoshelter.com