By Matthew Wright
Photographed by Karen Pearson
In 2002, I started dating a fashion photographer named Karen Pearson. That’s when I started to experience life through the captured moment. I learned there was a depth of feeling that could be experienced, even discovered, through the lens of the camera.
Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time with Karen’s work, first in our flirtations in the photo lab or while sharing coffee as we pored over contact sheets.
Later, with our feet propped on her desk as she edited her way through 1,200 digital images from a recent shoot, I remember trying to learn what she was looking for in a photo.
What was it in that frozen moment that was speaking to her, telling her this was the shot that meant the most; this was the one that told a story in a single frame? There’s always been something about that shot that feels like catching lightning in a bottle. Somehow, she was always able to do it.
When we became a family, I knew the camera would be our constant companion. It’s the silent observer that will always be in the right place at the right time. Smiles and tears, tantrums and injuries—they are all open to the gaze of Karen’s photographic eye.
Over time, Karen has taught me that there is true joy to be found and held in a photograph, even in the discomfort or pain of loved ones. A head bump is only a head bump, unless that head belongs to somebody dear to you. In the tears of my young son or daughter lie the innocence and trust that childhood has come to mean to me since becoming a parent. Their smiles and raucous laughter are countered by moments of contemplation and decision. These are the photos we cherish most.
Looking back on their lives so far through this body of work tells an unscripted story in a way a school photo or a holiday dinner snapshot can’t. Our daughter has been showing us this defiant face since she was tiny—it’s both a beautiful memory and a reminder that this is a girl who will not be swayed easily, even to this day. Spring naps in the sunshine will always remind us of childhood, both our own and of the little ones we’re raising. The special moments are fleeting. My Little Pony will be outgrown, ears will be pierced, and hairstyles will evolve.
Wherever life takes us, looking back on all of these times through Karen’s work will bring us together. To see more of her work, visit www.karenpearson.com. If you would like to commission Karen, contact her at Upspace studio. █