FPJA Family Photojournalism Contest Judges

Jackie Bell

Jackie Bell joined the photojournalism sequence faculty in January 2001 at the Missouri School of Journalism after two years as an assistant professor at the University of Montana and four years as adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and Nashville State Technical Institute. She has 15 years of combined experience as a staff photographer at The Tennessean, The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Arizona Daily Star and a chain of magazines in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has worked on national stories as well as international projects in Haiti, Cuba, Israel, and much of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Bell serves as director of College Photographer of the Year, the world’s premier competition for college photographers. She teaches staff photographers for the Columbia Missourian, photojournalism skills courses, and freelance business practices for photojournalists and videographers.

Bell has a master’s degree in photographic communication from Ohio University and undergraduate degrees in Spanish literature and communications from the University of Michigan. Her areas of special interest include Latin America, where she worked on a long-term documentary photography project on indigenous cultures, environmental photojournalism, and underwater photography. In 2011 Bell won the O.O. McIntyre Professorship for excellence in teaching, an annual award presented by the Missouri School of Journalism.

Peter Power

Peter Power is a Toronto-based award-winning professional photographer with an emphasis on editorial and corporate portraits and story-telling.

With a wealth of carefully cultivated experience that draws on three decades of work in Canada and abroad, Power is widely considered among the top visual story-tellers in Canada with photography and journalism skills honed from years of assignments photographing everything from business leaders to revolutionaries. His corporate and commercial work has grown steadily with creative, well-produced and consistently high quality location photography while he continues to provide editorial clients with the highest standard of images and video.

The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Canadian Press, Canadian Geographic, the CBC, CAMH Foundation, Maclean's, Reuters, PostMedia, National Post, OurKids Media, Communitech, Clothesline Media, Appleby College, and NOMA Event Design are among Power's list of clients. He also works as a photography instructor at two community colleges in Ontario, and shares his experience and knowledge through instructional workshops and speaking engagements.

Power has been named the Photographer of the Year five times, has won four Canadian National Newspaper Awards (nominated nine times) and has won the prestigious Governor General's Michener Award for Public Service Journalism. His work has been recognized many times by the National Press Photographer's Association (NPPA), News Photographer's Association of Canada (NPAC), Pictures of the Year International (POYi), the Society of Newspaper Design (SND) among others. His multimedia work has been recognized internationally as a Webby Award Honoree three times, a Webby Award Finalist once, a POYi winner, and a NPAC POY winner.

Cathaleen Curtiss

Cathaleen is an award-winning photojournalist, editor, and the current Director of Photography at the Buffalo News, with broad experience in online media as well as traditional print publications.

An active member of the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). Cathaleen was previously the Coordinator of Entrepreneurship and Visual Media Consultant at Daemen College. She is managing director of JPGmag, a board member for the National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF), National Clip Chair for NPPA and a member of the board for CenterSpace. She also writes a blog “As I See It”. For over four years she has been recording an “iPhonoto” a day. She has had solo photography exhibits in NYC and Buffalo as well as juried work at the Corcoran Art Gallery, Library of Congress, the Building Museum and National Geographic. Most recently her work “AS i SEE IT” was exhibited at CEPA Gallery and “Through the Looking i” was on display at the Daemen College, Visual and Performing Arts Center. She regularly leads iPhonography workshops.

As a photojournalist she has documented events from Super Bowls to Superpower Summits, covering three presidential administrations. In 1990 she was named, Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association.

As Vice President of Global Photography at AOL, she built and managed a staff of visual content editors based in VA, NY, and Bangalore. While at AOL, she oversaw the direction, development, and implementation of AOL Visions and Pixcetera.com.

Joe Weiss

Joe Weiss has worked as a photojournalist, multimedia reporter, designer, programmer, producer and editor in print and online media since 1996. He is currently an independent interactive producer and the developer of Soundslides, a multimedia authoring application for journalists. Previously he was an interactive producer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the Director of Photography at The Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C., and worked for MSNBC.com as a multimedia producer in Redmond, Wash.

His multimedia reports have garnered national and international recognition including an Online Journalism Award from the Online News Association, multiple POYi and NPPA BOP awards, and two Digital Edge awards from the NAA. His work has also received a Gold medal in the Society for News Design's Interactive Design competition.

For his development of Soundslides, he was awarded the J. Winton Lemen Award from the National Press Photographers Association.

He has judged several awards including Pictures of the Year International, Society for News Design's Interactive Design Awards, College Photographer of the Year, and the Online News Association's Online Journalism Awards. Weiss frequently speaks at seminars and workshops concerning the integration of photojournalism, audio reportage and multimedia technology, and has taught photojournalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jen Tse

Jen Tse is a photo editor and writer based in New York.

In 2017, she was Newsweek's acting Director of Photography. Prior to Newsweek, she worked for TIME Magazine, NOOR Images, and 500px. She worked as a visual journalist and editor in Toronto, Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Bangkok before moving to New York in 2015.

Her photo editing, photography, writing and video projects have been featured in Newsweek, TIME Magazine, TIME LightBox,The Intercept, VICE, Huffington Post, Die Welt, Welt Kompakt, Foto8, Copenhagen Post and others.

She received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Ryerson University School of Journalism in Toronto and received diplomas in Photojournalism and Multimedia Journalism from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark.

David Stephenson

David Stephenson is a freelance photojournalist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky's School of Journalism and Media. After hopscotching to jobs across the country for five years after graduating from WKU, Stephenson returned to his native Lexington and joined the staff of the Herald-Leader in 1997. He then left to join the Kentucky Kernel in 2009 as the photojournalism and multimedia adviser. He started teaching full time at UK in 2014. He is a four-time recipient of the Kentucky News Photographers Association's Photographer of the Year Award and has been named Sports Photographer of the Year three times. He won the National Press Photographers Association Region 4 Photographer of the Year twice.

Stephenson, a 1992 WKU graduate, published a four-year project, “A New Dawn?”, following a young mother addicted to pain pills through a local Drug Court Program. His multimedia piece for this series was awarded the Best Multimedia Project in the 65th POYi competition. A story about a Garrard County tobacco cutting competition was awarded First Place Multimedia News Story by POYi in 2010.

In 2005, Stephenson created heraldleaderphoto.com, a place for staff photographers to publish multimedia and slideshows. The site won a Media Eclipse Award for 2007 Kentucky Derby Coverage online. Stephenson led the staff’s charge into multimedia and has produced videos and multimedia projects which have won awards in the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, POYi, NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism, and The Southern Short Course.

Ken Geiger

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Ken Geiger has been a visual and technology leader in global media organizations, serving nearly 12 years with National Geographic Magazine as Deputy Director of Photography. Previously, he was Director of Photographer for the Dallas Morning News and most recently as Director of Photography for the Nature Conservancy. Ken's career as a photojournalist has ranged from China to Mexico, the war in Burma and Bosnia, terrorism in Punjab, the 1990 post-Sandinista election in Nicaragua, four Olympic Games, and numerous American political conventions. His awards include the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography, Society of Newspaper Design and National Headliners, and he has been named National Press Photographer's Association and Pictures of the Year International Magazine's Picture Editor of the Year.

Susan Walsh

Susan Walsh has worked as a staff photographer for the Associated Press since 1991. Walsh started in the Boston bureau but transferred to Washington in 1997 and traded in covering traditional sports for the sport of politics. In 1999, Walsh was part of the Associated Press team to win the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for a collection of photographs of the key players and events stemming from President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Walsh served as president of the White House News Photographers Association from 2001 to 2006 and during that time battled with the administration of President George W. Bush to significantly reduce the use of handout photos. During her career, Walsh has photographed every president since Carter, who was not president at the time. Her job includes international travel with presidents and political leaders.During her days off, Walsh can be found playing hockey or watching her son play hockey at one of the rinks near her home in Annapolis, Maryland.

Gary Porter

Gary Porter is currently a freelance photographer specializing in documentary, photojournalism, travel, and editorial. He is a recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for the story of an epic effort to use genetic technology to save a 4-year-old boy imperiled by a mysterious disease, told with words, graphics, videos and other images.

Gary Porter began his career as a photojournalist with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 1984, after working at the Janesville Gazette for 8 years. He has worked on many projects over the years and traveled extensively for the Journal Sentinel, including stories in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, Canada and Belgium.

Porter has also been awarded a 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Award for Print Journalism for photos and video for the story "Imminent Danger," a look at mental commitment laws; two AP National Headliner awards, one for the documentary project “Made In China,” another for “Imminent Danger"; the Overseas Press Club Award for Outstanding Photojournalism from Abroad; the United Nations World Hunger Year Award; and several awards from the National Press Photographers Association, as well as being named Wisconsin News Photographer of the Year six times. Porter attended the University of Wisconsin system and studied photography at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Justin Merriman

Justin Merriman is a freelance photojournalist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a founding member of American Reportage, a collective of documentary photojournalists specializing in comprehensive storytelling of the American experience.

After covering the September 11, 2001, crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Merriman committed to chronicling the U.S. military's War on Terror. He followed this story across the United States and into the conflict zones of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He also has covered life in Fidel Castro’s Cuba in 2002; India’s efforts to eradicate polio from its population; the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba in 2012; the 2013 conclave and election of Pope Francis in Rome; the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution and subsequent unrest; and Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the international political crisis that unfolded in Ukraine. In 2014, he offered a look inside of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2015 and its uncertain future. Most recently, he traveled the entire U.S. border with Mexico documenting issues on immigration.

Merriman’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Time, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and publications across the globe.

He has been recognized with awards from organizations including Pictures of the Year International, Society of Professional Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association, National Headliners Awards, and the Society for News Design. He was awarded Photographer of the Year by the News Photographer Association of Greater Pittsburgh four times and most recently was honored with the Keystone Press Awards 2016 Distinguished Visual Award from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

After years of overseas work, Merriman has turned his camera towards the places he calls home. Working extensively in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, he is currently telling the stories of the communities throughout the region and the issues that they are facing.

Bill Frakes

Bill Frakes is a photographer and filmmaker has worked in more than 138 countries for a wide variety of editorial and advertising clients. His advertising clients include Nike, Coca-Cola, Champion, Isleworth, Stryker, IBM, Nikon, Kodak, and Reebok. Editorially, his work has appeared in virtually every major general interest publication in the world. Bill won the coveted Newspaper Photographer of the Year award in the prestigious Pictures of the Year competition. He was a member of the Miami Herald staff that won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Hurricane Andrew. He has also been honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for reporting on the disadvantaged and by the Overseas Press club for distinguished foreign reporting. He was awarded the Gold Medal by World Press Photo.

Preston Gannaway

Preston Gannaway is a Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary photographer and artist. Her work often focuses on stories about American families and marginalized communities while addressing themes such as gender identity, class and our relationship to the natural world. The story she did on the St. Pierre family, an intimate chronicle of a New Hampshire family coping with a parent's terminal illness, was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. She is a regular lecturer and has served as guest faculty in a variety of educational workshops. Her photographs are held in both public and private collections and have been exhibited widely. Her first book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, about the changing character of a seaside neighborhood in Virginia, was released in 2014. Born and raised in North Carolina, she is now based in Oakland, California.

Renée C. Byer

Renée C. Byer is a Senior Photojournalist with The Sacramento Bee and the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for her project "A Mother's Journey," an intimate portrayal of a single mother's emotional and financial struggles as her son battled neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. The story was also awarded the World Understanding Award and second place multimedia feature picture story at Pictures of the Year International 2007, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for feature photography, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, second prize in the Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards and an honorable mention in the UNICEF Photo of the Year Award. Also a picture editor and designer, Byer is represented by Zuma Press photo agency. Byer's photos have been published in Newsweek Asia, Paris Match, Marie Claire, El Mundo, Days Japan, Rangefinder, Photo District News, Business Week and most recently in View magazine in Germany. She has taught workshops and had gallery shows in San Francisco, California, Palm Beach, Florida, Yokohama, Japan, Siem Reap, Cambodia and Madrid, Spain. Her pictures titled "Seeds of Doubt," won the Harry Chapin Award for Photojournalism 2005 and she is also the recipient of the Associated Press News Executives Council, Mark Twain Award 2004. She was a finalist for a Dart award for victims of violence before coming to the Sacramento Bee 2003. Her numerous awards include honors from NPPA, POYi, AP, SND, Best of the West and regional contests in photography, picture editing, and design. View Renée C. Byer's feature on CBS Sunday Morning.

Mary Vignoles

Mary Vignoles is a freelance picture editor based in Oregon. In 16 years as an award-winning professional picture editor, she assisted numerous staff photographers in elevating the quality of their work. While at the Los Angeles Times, she coordinated major projects and weekend coverage, and worked on national and international stories as well as significant social issue and timely local stories. Her interest in video has helped photographers translate still imagery into storytelling videos.

Denny Simmons

Denny Simmons, BJ '93 is a University of Missouri graduate, currently a photographer/visuals coach with the Evansville Courier & Press and The Gleaner (Henderson, Ky.). Past positions include picture editor at the News Sun (Waukegan, Ill.), picture editor at the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, and photographer at the Jacksonville (Ill.) Journal-Courier. Simmons was named NPPA's Best of Photojournalism Photographer of the Year (smaller markets) in 2008. He has also been Indiana POY thrice and currently serves as its president. Simmons has served the NPPA in multiple roles including national clip chair, Region 4 director and Region 7 magazine editor. He was awarded the title of College Photographer of the Year for work done in 1992. In a few weeks, Simmons will be serving on faculty for The Mountain Workshops for his fourth time. Simmons is married to Penny (yeah, Penny and Denny) and they have two kids in college and two dogs on their couch.

Carol Guzy

Carol Guzy is a four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with The Washington Post, the only journalist honored with that extraordinary achievement. She was the first woman to receive the Newspaper Photographer of the Year Award in 1990.

Guzy received her most recent Pulitzer in 2011 for up-close portraits of grief and desperation after a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti. Her previous Pulitzer awards were in 2000 for photographs of Kosovo refugees; in 1995 for her portrayal of the U.S. intervention in Haiti; and in 1986 awarding her work for The Miami Herald during a mudslide in Colombia. Guzy graduated from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in 1980 and acquired her first job with The Miami Herald after a successful internship. She spent eight years at the Herald, then joined The Washington Post in 1988.

Jeanie Adams-Smith

When Jeanie Adams-Smith left the Chicago Tribune in 2002 to take a position at Western Kentucky University, she was looking forward to sharing her expertise with students in one of the nation’s premier photojournalism schools.

Her 10-year career at the Tribune culminated with her in the position of national/foreign picture editor during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, which forever changed America. By then, Adams-Smith had already published a photo-documentary book on minor league baseball, and a multimedia piece on the children of divorce that won first place in Pictures of the Year International.

In the years since she joined the staff at WKU, powerful and affluent media outlets have collapsed or downsized and a “leaner and meaner” news industry is emerging in fast-paced and ever-changing web-based multimedia outlets. Adams-Smith is fully engaged in the technologies that drive these changes, while stressing that they are simply new tools that can help journalists accomplish their mission of gathering and communicating news in a professional and ethical manner.

Since arriving at WKU, Adams-Smith published two more books of social documentary photography and was named 2006 Photographer of the Year by the Kentucky News Photographers Association. The university nominated her book, Survivors: The Children of Divorce, the culmination of six years of work, for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction.

Adams-Smith has also won international awards for photography documenting women’s health clinics in Chicago neighborhoods, Vanderbilt University’s burn unit for children, a family’s struggle with traumatic brain injury, and a photographic testimonial by survivors of rape and sexual assault in Kentucky.

In the past several years, she has traveled twice to Cuba, documenting the everyday lives of people in Old Havana, a World Heritage Site as yet untouched by international commerce. She has also been to western Ireland to document family farms threatened by industrial agriculture. The work has won her several regional and national awards. She recently returned from England where she taught at Harlaxton College for a semester and worked on a project on family farms in Europe.

Adams-Smith has been asked to judge regional and national photo competitions, including the White House News Photographers Association, Photographer of the Year International, and the Society of News Design. She regularly spends several weeks each summer teaching journalism to selected high school students in Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars Program, and she takes great pleasure in introducing the joys of photography to children in two local programs.

Martha Rial

Martha Rial first fell in love with the power and grace of photography as a teenager studying images in Life and Look magazines. Her desire to tell compelling stories has taken her from the mountains of Haiti, to African villages, to the streets of her hometown of Pittsburgh. Her photographs have received international acclaim, including a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for work documenting the lives of Burundian and Rwandan survivors of the 1994 genocide. She specializes in documentary, editorial and portrait photography. Working mostly on location, she explores communities and photographs people where they live, work and play.

As a skilled multimedia storyteller, she also creates audio slideshows for editorial projects, nonprofit organizations and corporate clients. Recently, she contributed to The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, a traveling exhibition of photographs chronicling the impact of shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. She was also selected as one of the photographers for the Downtown Now Photography Project, a special initiative of The Heinz Endowments. Her work has been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Mattress Factory, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Galleries and the Hewlett Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, and can be found in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, BNY Mellon and the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Previously, she worked as a staff photographer for the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Rial's work has earned the Scripps Howard Foundation Award for Photojournalism, a National Headliner Award and the Distinguished Visual Award from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors. She was also named Pennsylvania News Photographer of the Year. She has worked as an adjunct associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and taught at the Western Kentucky University’s Mountain Workshop and the Sundance Photographic Workshops. She is also a master class instructor at the Chautauqua Institution. A graduate of Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, in the spring of 2017 Martha Rial received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Point Park University.

David Leeson

Pulitzer Prize winner David Leeson is a Dallas-based photojournalist and visual artist, freelancing in still and video photography. He worked as a newspaper photographer from 1977 to 2008.

Leeson was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times prior to winning the award in 2004 for photographs made for The Dallas Morning News during the war in Iraq. He has also won two Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and numerous regional, state and national honors. During his years as a newspaper photographer, he specialized in war and social unrest, covering numerous global conflicts.

In 2000, he began shooting video for The Dallas Morning News, completing numerous documentaries. His videos won a National Headliners Award, a national Edward R. Murrow Award, and two regional Emmy Awards. He was also a finalist for Best Short Film at the USA Film Festival.

In 2006, Leeson was named Innovator of the Year in Photojournalism by American Photo magazine for his work in obtaining high quality still images from high-definition video.

Aside from his journalistic endeavors, Leeson began working in art photography, with a focus on self-portraiture, in 1982. His work has been shown in galleries, and he was recognized as one of 32 emerging photographic artists worldwide for the 2007 "Festival of the Photograph."

David H. Wells

David H. Wells is an award-winning freelance photographer/video maker using whatever technology he can to create visual narratives. He is based in Providence, Rhode Island, affiliated with Aurora Photos and is also a photo-educator. One editor described him as a “specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video."

Wells became the photographer he is today by first trying on the styles and/or methods of other well-known and historic photographers. Then he mastered the challenging discipline of color slide film. He fused all of these experiences, over thirty-plus years, to develop his own style, built on a mastery of light, exposure and tonality, framing and composition with predictable and consistent control over focus and depth of field. As a photography educator, he leads students to learn how to consistently master these same elements of photography. He was featured in Photo District News as one of “The Best Workshop Instructors.”

His project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, and others.

His work has been in over fifty exhibitions and he has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and at the Maine Media Workshops. He has received two Fulbright fellowships, a grant from Nikon/NPPA, a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation.

Eric Strachan

Eric Strachan is the editor of Florida Weekly in Naples, Florida. He was previously the senior managing editor at the Naples Daily News, where he started as a staff photographer in 1981. He has won numerous awards as a picture editor and photographer in the NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Pictures of the Year International, Florida Press Club and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. He was named director of photography at the Daily News in 1991, later serving as a graphics editor, assistant managing editor/presentation prior to being named managing editor.

Gina Ferazzi

Gina has been a staff photographer with the Los Angeles Times since 1994. Her Wildfire photos were part of the staff Pulitzer Prize win for Breaking News in 2004. Other recent awards include: Best of Photojournalism 2007: Second Place - Natural Disaster Single, 61st Pictures of the Year 2004: Second Place - Spot News; Award of Excellence - News Photo Story; Award of Excellence – Pictorial, Best of Photojournalism 2004: Second Place - Domestic News; Honorable Mention - Domestic News Picture Story. Gina has covered the last three Winter Olympics in Japan, Salt Lake City and Italy. She also covered many national sporting events, presidential campaigns, local and national news events including Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, Gina has been on the Campaign Trail through Iowa and New Hampshire. Before that she was covering the American League baseball playoffs and the California Wildfires in 2007. In 1992, Gina was named Best of Gannett and California Photographer of the Year while working for the San Bernardino Sun in San Bernardino, CA. She began her career in photojournalism at the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Maine after graduating from the University of Maine, Orono with a degree in Journalism.