About Celia Pearson

You know those moments when in an instant your life changes? My teacher, Dick Bond, was a scientist with a keen intellect and a taste for wonder. When I stepped into my first class with him I was mesmerized. With a camera almost always by my side, soon I was exhibiting in small gallery shows with friends. I have never looked back. 

Now a nationally recognized and published photographer, Celia Pearson attended her first photography class in 1972 in Annapolis, Maryland. She had grown up on a farm near Washington, DC, and on the coast of Maine. She'd studied liberal arts at Swarthmore College and Georgetown University. Then she discovered photography. Celia exhibited her first fine art photographs in the late 1970's in Annapolis. In 1979 she founded a photographic assignment business, determined to make her living, as well as her life, as an artist.

Becoming an assignment photographer was a shock, my world tumbling in an instant. I had been photographing what irresistably beckoned me; now I was wrestling with often poorly lit, uninspiring subjects. Stubborn, persistent, and believing I would somehow find my way, I gradually gained confidence, began to photograph more interesting asssignments, and learned to harness the light I so loved.

Largely self-taught, Celia worked independently. By the mid 1990's she had specialized, earning a national reputation for her images of designed spaces (architecture, interiors, gardens) which appeared regularly in national and regional, professional and lifestyle magazines. By then Celia had become an accomplished black-and-white and color darkroom printer, and was practicing with medium and large format cameras.

At the same time I'd begun to specialize, I'd also begun to reach for my camera again "just because." For 18 years I had been photographing in response to someone else's agenda. To head in new creative directions with a set of skills and an assuredness that I hadn't known as a young photographer was very exciting. 

In 2003 Wayne L. Good Architect: Tradition, Elegance, Repose, a monograph published in four languages, was published with Celia as the principal photographer. That same year Pearson photographed the book Pure Sea Glass (Sea Glass Publishing 2004) for author Richard LaMotte. Collaborating again with LaMotte in 2014, Celia photographed a second book, The Lure of Sea Glass, which was released in June 2015. Her body of work called Glass Transformedcreated over the last 13 years, has become the basis for a traveling museum exhibit. 

In mid-career Celia once more began to make fine art photographs. This has now become her sole focus. For many years the darkroom was central to her endeavors. Thses days she is using a computer, making large works, printing on silk, as well as on the more traditional cotton rag paper and a very fine canvas. She is creating exhibits for museums and galleries. Each year Celia publishes a small, unique desk calendar illustrated with her art.

Her wide ranging subjects have always been characterized by a strong sense of beauty and a desire to see into the heart of what's before her. Trips to Southeast Asia in 2008 and 2009 led to an exhibit called Layerings that included her first photomontages and prints on alternative materials. She has continued to explore these approaches, most recently in a large scale exhibit, Molten Beauty, based on her experiences of a small century-old galvanizing plant.

Over the last 10 years Celia has embraced opportunities for public speaking. Whether about her exhibits, her artist's story, or a particular body of work, at the root of her talks are her insights about the practice of paying attention and the delights and revelatory nature of seeing. In April of 2016 Celia will co-lead a one-day retreat, part of a series called Through Your Own Lens, the brainchild of life coach Amy Standler. 

A number of years ago I realized that not only was the practice of standing behind my camera gradually guiding me to a way of photographing, it also was guiding me to a way of living. There was more. I was becoming aware that the story of the world outside us is the story of the world inside us.

Celia's work has been exhibited in Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington, DC. Her fine art prints are in the permanent collections of the Academy Museum of Art, The New Bedford Museum of Glass, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, and the American Board of Surgery. Celia lives in Annapolis, Maryland. She is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and has received an honorary YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry Award, has been featured on Maryland Public Television, and is the recipient of Maryland's Arts Council of Anne Arundel County's Annie Award for Visual Arts.

My father was an intrepid entrepreneur, my mother a professional dancer. I credit them for my creative bent and for the boldness required for me to forge my way as an artist. I have never regretted for a moment the choice I made to make my life as a photographer. There is always something new to learn, opportunity for personal growth, and the pleasure of meeting new and interesting souls as well as the deep satisfaction of longtime relationships which I value highly. 

 

 

 


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