About Celia Pearson

You know those moments when in an instant your life changes? My first photography teacher, Richard 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.

I quickly learned to go wherever my inspiration and imagination led. I have always been guided by an abiding trust in my intuitive responses, a strong sense of design, and a desire to see beyond the surface.

Celia's years growing up were spent on a farm near Washington, DC, and on the coast of Maine. At Swarthmore College and Georgetown University, she studied mathematics, Asian religions, and English. When by chance she attended Richard Bond's photography class in Annapolis, Maryland, it proved to be a turning point. Intrigued, Celia continued to study with Bond and began to exhibit in local galleries. Soon, to support herself with work aligned with her passion, she launched her own business as an assignment photographer. 

Becoming an assignment photographer was a shock. I had been photographing what irresistibly beckoned me; now I was wrestling with frequently poorly lit, uninspiring subjects. Stubborn, persistent, and hopeful I would somehow find my way, I gradually gained confidence, began to photograph more interesting assignments, and learned to harness the light I so loved.

Soon Celia was practicing with medium- and large-format analog cameras, and gaining experience as a black-and-white and color darkroom printer. Ultimately she specialized in photographing designed spaces, working for a variety of clients - architects and landscape architects, interior designers and garden designers, residential owners, and publishers.  Over the years her work appeared frequently in regional and national magazines, including Coastal Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Chesapeake Life, Style Magazine, Metropolitan Home, and Southern Accents

During this time, Celia was the principal photographer for the monograph Wayne L. Good Architect: Tradition, Elegance, Repose, which was published in four languages.  She was fortunate, too, to have the opportunity to photograph for Richard LaMotte's book Pure Sea Glass, and ten years later, was the photographer for his second book, The Lure of Sea Glass.

One day I found myself reaching for my camera again "just because". As I began spending some time making images that were solely inner driven, I was excited to discover that the set of skills and assuredness I had acquired as an assignment photographer were allowing me a new creative freedom.

Celia gradually transitioned to a focus on her own art. She began to exhibit again in galleries, and then in museums. She created a body of work about sea glass, called Glass Transformed as she continued to be drawn to those sea-worn treasures that seemed to have their own light. With her first digital camera in hand, Celia traveled twice to Southeast Asia (in 2008 and 2009). The trips left deep impressions, propelling her in new artistic directions as she started to make photo montages and to print on silk fabrics and mulberry paper for her resulting exhibit called Layerings

Celia continued to apply these new ways of working to her varied subjects, and in 2015 incorporated her techniques into a large-scale exhibition called Molten Beauty: The Soul of an American Galvanizing Plant. In January 2020 Celia published a book by the same name, which includes the exhibit work and supporting essays. Her magnetic attraction to the hundred-year-old industrial workplace had surprised her, as it was unlike any subject she had photographed before.

There are two corollary creative endeavors which are a part of Celia's life as a photographer. Each year she publishes a small, unique calendar illustrated with her photographs. It has a loyal following and is one of her most joyful endeavors. The calendar always includes a note at the front with reflections and stories about the images she has chosen. Celia also periodically embraces opportunities for public speaking - usually about a particular exhibit, or about the practice of making photographs, paying attention, and the transformative nature of light.

Celia's work has been exhibited in Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington, DC. Her fine art prints are in many private collections and in several museum and corporate collections. She is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and has receive
d 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. Celia lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

My father was a lifelong entrepreneur, my mother a professional dancer. I credit them for my creative bent and my independent spirit. 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 people, as well as the deep satisfaction of longtime relationships that I value highly. 

 

 

 


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