Woodbury, NY—On the evening of November 7, 2018, the imaging industry celebrated the work of three visual storytellers who use their talents and passions to give back to important social causes. The 4th Annual Imaging Alliance Salutes Photographers Who Give Back program was held at the SVA Theatre in New York City.
Hosted by Nikon Ambassador Jen Rozenbaum, the event featured two professional photographers and one student photographer. All three were recognized for utilizing their talents as photographers and storytellers to give back to causes they are passionate about.
The first photographer honored was Linda Solomon, who founded the Pictures of Hope program to “change lives, one life at a time.” Pictures of Hope provides cameras to children and youth living in homeless shelters throughout the United States.
Solomon has brought the program to 53 cities over the last 10 years. Her emotional presentation featured videos as well as images of children experiencing photography, some for the first time. She explained that cameras enable the children to tell their stories in ways that are uplifting and confidence building.
Following this, Jerry Grossman, executive director of the Imaging Alliance, introduced Benjamin Mack-Jackson, the winner of the Anthony M. Ruotolo Photojournalism Award. Mack-Jackson is a 16-year-old high school student from Fremont, Florida. He has chosen to not let the legacy of World War II veterans die before their stories are told.
Mack-Jackson used the power of video to interview more than 60 WW II veterans, enabling them to tell their stories to pass down to future generations. His moving tribute also included a series of interviews of veterans who passed away soon after his interview. The audience was truly moved by his project as well as by the poise Mack-Jackson displayed as he presented his passionate call to share the story of World War II with future generations.
“I noticed when I read my high school history book that there were only two pages devoted to World War II,” he said. “At that moment, I knew there was a deeper story that needed to be told.”
The Anthony M. Ruotolo Photojournalism Award is presented each year in honor of Anthony Ruotolo, the former publisher of Popular Photography and American Photo magazines. An Imaging Alliance board member, Ruotolo passed away suddenly in 2015. His widow, Simone, was on hand to present the award after delivering a moving speech in his memory.
The final honoree was Larry C. Price, an Olympus Visionary and Pulitzer Prize winner. Price is currently at work on multiyear projects to document child labor and global pollution. He does so with the support of the Washington, DC-based Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. His startling images of child labor practices in underdeveloped countries tell the story of children as young as four years old working eight-hour days in harsh conditions. Moreover, his images ensure the stories of these children are made public to prevent these practices across the globe.
Salutes Photographers Who Give Back Q&A Plus Networking
Following the presentations, Solomon, Mack-Jackson and Price returned to the stage, where Jen Rozenbaum moderated a 15-minute question-and-answer discussion. Michelle Tramantano, program director of the Imaging Alliance and the architect of the program, wrapped up the evening. She thanked the program’s many sponsors.
The evening ended with a networking cocktail hour, where attendees could speak one-on-one with the award winners. It was truly a memorable as well as emotional evening.