Pulitzer winner to speak at gallery opening

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Griffin Fletcher

Editor’s Note: a previous version of this story referred to the Women Photojournalists of Washington, D.C. exhibit as Carol Guzy’s exhibit. The exhibit includes Guzy’s work as well as work of several other photographers.

Carol Guzy is one of four people to win the Pulitzer Prize four times. She has photographed crucial pieces of history from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the devastation of Hurricane Andrew.

Throughout her more than 30-year career as a photojournalist for both the Miami Herald and The Washington Post, Guzy has earned countless awards for her excellent coverage of international war-time conflicts, natural disasters and nearly everything else.

A new photography exhibit featuring 21 of the top-ranked images taken by female photojournalists in 2017, “Women Photojournalists of Washington D.C.,” is set to open Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in Jody Richards Hall. She will present a lecture titled “Bearing Witness: Photojournalism and Emotional Aftershocks,” Wednesday, Aug. 29, in the Jody Richards Hall Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Guzy’s visit to WKU is sponsored by Nikon.

Guzy plans to cover topics including her life and the stories that touched her most over the course of her career, calling attention to the emotional trauma journalists often face after reporting in areas of extreme loss or danger.

“It’s sort of a philosophy about photography and how we connect,” Guzy said. “How we deal with grief, loss, especially in the world of photojournalism.”

Guzy said she hopes the presentation serves to inspire and educate students to the role of photojournalists as she sees it.

“It’s never about us making great pictures,” Guzy said. “It’s about us telling the narratives of others.”

Guzy’s colleague and friend, award-winning photographer and author David LaBelle, who also worked as a photojournalism professor at WKU for more than a decade, featured Guzy’s work heavily in his book “Lessons in Life and Death.” LaBelle said he believes Guzy’s heightened sensitivity toward her subjects separates her from typical reporters.

“Carol blends an aesthetic eye with a truly compassionate heart with those she photographs,” LaBelle said. “She’s sensitive almost to a fault.”

On account of her courage and ability to compose great photos under fire, Labelle said he believes Guzy has been one of the best voices for female photojournalism and the craft in general.

“She’s one of the greatest photojournalists ever,” LaBelle said. “It just happens that she’s also a woman.”

Manager of Nikon Professional Services (NPS) Campus and Educational Markets Kristine Bosworth said Nikon is proud to support Guzy in her visit and presentation. Bosworth said she believes Guzy’s commitment to photographing both extreme tragedy and great triumph makes her presentation a learning opportunity for aspiring journalists at WKU.

“She’s so inspiring, and she’s very happy to give back,” Bosworth said. “She can empower the young minds and the up-and-coming pros that are at the school.”

Though Guzy is well-known for her fearlessness in documenting controversies of all sorts, Bosworth said she believes the emotional aspect of Guzy’s work is what impresses her most.

“It’s the emotion that she brings to everything she shoots,” Bosworth said.

“You really feel it.”

Guzy believes sensitivity and empathy are essential when reporting on difficult subject matter, as both traits help journalists better relate to any story. Now working as a freelancer, Guzy strives for the stories that matter to her, forever inspired to “seek out the hope and show the reality” of every story.

“You can’t change the entire world, obviously, but you can change one moment in a person’s life,” Guzy said. “That’s how, I think, great change happens.”