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. 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 who is very dedicated to her craft. Karen was recognized as one of the worlds top contemporary photographers by both Magnum and LensCulture in 2017. 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. 

She is a former staff photographer, for what was the largest newspaper in Tennessee, The Commercial Appeal. She finds the extraordinary, in the ordinary, everyday.

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 an impressive and diverse client list; she specializes in projects and editorial photography for the Associated Press, magazines, wire services and various publications. She is a content creator; she is a heartfelt and passionate visual storyteller.

Karen does limited video and produces occasional documentary and multimedia projects . Her work is spread through out the pages of many books as well as over two dozen album covers.

Work Phone: 901-331-7934


~  "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! 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 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:

Professional affiliations- Women Photograph; 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 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, Financial Times, Paris Match and a cover on Time Magazine for Kids.

She is a ukulele and harmonica player, travel-blogger, pet lover, gardener and humanitarian. More than anything, she loves to laugh.

FOLLOW KAREN ON SOCIAL MEDIA (social links below)

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

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