Local photographer's work on display in Midtown - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Local photographer's work on display in Midtown

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MIDTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Karen Focht has been taking pictures for the Commercial Appeal for the past 25 years.

Even when she is about to be interviewed for her photo exhibit she can't resist snapping one more shot of a TV reporter staring into the lens of another camera.

It is what she does.

The pictures hanging on the walls of Otherlands Coffee House on South Cooper in Midtown Memphis are just a very small sample of her work over the years. Santa Claus and a little girl, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis.

But it was a photo of a mother and her offspring that caught the attention of the world.

"Oh, it's been shared all over the world, Focht said. "Millions of times. Painters call and want to paint it. It's the most popular picture I've ever taken."

But not the one that made her the happiest. That would be this shot of Sir Paul McCartney and Carl Perkins.

"I had just been doing an album cover for Johnny Rivers and Carl Perkins," she said. "I where working a lot on that and as I came of the newspaper I took a right on Beale Street. Thinking how can I find Paul and I find Carl Perkins walking up Beale Street.

"I pull the car over and said, 'Carl! Any chance you know where Paul is?' He says, 'Not right now, but I would like to hire you to take pictures of him later. We are going to be playing a little before his concert,'" she added.

Did you catch how many big names she dropped just then? But it's not bragging. It's just one afternoon in a lifetime of covering news for a woman whose life is much the richer for it.

One of the most talked about photos in Focht's exhibit is the man chasing the chicken. The chicken man.

"It seems the newsroom had gotten a call that a cab driver was trying to save a chicken who had jumped off a chicken truck and was running wild on the interstate," she said. "I was lucky enough to be in the newsroom and she said, 'Come on Karen, let's go. He caught the chicken and took it to a fast food restaurant and fed it by hand. And last I knew the chicken found a happy home in Germantown.

"When pictures are authentic like the giraffe and homeless man, those are all authentic moments that I could not control, I could not have made happen, and that's what makes this special. That's what makes it magical.

 

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