"My interest is the people, not the process of technology," Karen says. "Instead of saying, 'Here is the machine our understanding has created,' I say, 'Here is the person affected by our understanding.'"
Born to a Japanese mother, Karenhas explored her own roots in several stories, including an intimate look at the world of Japanese women, economic coverage of Japan in Asia, and examination of the challenges facing Okinawa. Her travels have taken her from the rain forests of Malaysia to the megacities of India to the North Slope of Alaska. She has covered earthquakes in Japan, been arrested in Africa, and exposed to radiation in Russia.
Her book, Impact: From the Frontlines of Global Health, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. An exhibition based on the book has been displayed at the Carter Center and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Karen is prominently featured in the award-winning book National Geographic Women Photographers, and she has been profiled on several television shows.
She also works closely with Nikon and is a member of their prestigious "Legends Behind the Lens" group. A sought-after speaker and educator, teaching for many colleges, including George Washington University in Washington, DC, she gives frequent presentations on global health issues for corporate and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to working for National Geographic, Karen spent five years as a staff photographer with the Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star in Norfolk, Virginia. She has received numerous awards in the annual White House News Photographers and Pictures of the Year competitions.