Karla Petersen

Biography

I have wanted to take pictures since I was 9 years old. I asked and asked and asked for a camera and mom and dad wouldn't let me have one until I earned my own money to pay for film. They gave me my first camera on my 13th birthday after I had started babysitting. It was a little Instamatic with drop-in film cartridges and I indeed had to buy all my own film and pay for developing. That is where all my money went all the way through high school and even college.

I do not know why I was so persistent about having a camera as a child. But now that I've had years with a camera, I realize that I am pretty much an introvert and taking pictures is my way of participating in groups and activities using my own fairly quiet personality and my creative gifts. Most people in my life have come to expect and appreciate (I think) the memories I bring into our group activities; I get really fun feedback on many of my projects.

Photography seems precious to me because it can capture our journey in life. Personal possessions come and go as do activities and sometimes people. Who we are and our own pathway through life is ours alone and being able to capture the memories seems like the best way to honor our journey. Photographs can measure special moments AND everyday life. They can help us name our joys, our sorrows, our growth and our hopes. Though they may give others a window into our families and our days, I think photos more often give US a window into our own hearts.

My true joy in photographing children has been nourished by the foster children I've had. Most kids who've come into my care have not been noticed enough to have regular, everyday photographs taken of them. When I start taking pictures of EVERYTHING they do, most of the kids start smiling, hamming, and begging for copies of everything. The photos seem to validate their lives and their existence. Most of the kids have not had the opportunity (because of finances or other family situations) to have someone take enough pleasure in their presence, their activities, their accomplishments to want to capture the memories of them. One of my goals with my photography is to offer any and all of my photography services to foster children and children in low-income communities.