WE LOVE NIKON interview07
Carol Guzy | Photojournalist from the United States

The first person in history to win
four Pulitzer Prizes for journalism

Nikon helped make quality images
that resonated with viewers.

Carol Guzy Carol Guzy

Ms. Guzy, you have won the Pulitzer Prize, which is awarded for the most outstanding newspaper coverage, not just once but four times! Tell us more about the award-winning submissions.

 I won the first award in 1986 following the horrific Armero tragedy in Colombia. In 1995, my second win was for coverage of the crisis in Haiti. In 2000, the third award was for reportage on the Kosovo refugees. In 2011, the fourth was for the Haiti earthquake.

I understand that you are the first person to ever win the Pulitzer Prize four times.

 Yes indeed, I’m the only person to have won four times in the journalism category. As a photojournalist, I’m so honored to have received such an amazing award four times in my life.

So you received these four awards while you were working at newspapers?

 Exactly. The Armero tragedy coverage in Colombia was my only time as a Miami Herald photographer, and the other three awards were won while I was at The Washington Post. The awards were a team effort, and I shared three of them with my colleagues. The Haiti crisis work was a solo effort. For three of the awards, all but the Kosovo refugee piece, I used a Nikon camera. Nikon equipment was durable and allowed me to work under difficult physical situations. Without such quality gear the images may not have been made with such technical superiority.

What is the Pulitzer Prize?

The Pulitzer Prize is the most prestigious award for achievements in journalism, literature, and music composition in the United States. Prizes for journalism span genres including newspapers, magazines, and online news websites. The award was established in 1917 by Joseph Pulitzer, whose publishing endeavors included the New York World. In 2017, the award celebrated its 100th anniversary – the same year as Nikon’s 100th anniversary. The Pulitzer Prize is administered by Columbia University in New York, with prizes awarded yearly in 21 categories including “Breaking news reporting”, “Local reporting” and “National reporting.” Photojournalist Carol Guzy has won the Pulitzer Prize four times – a first in the history of the prizes in journalism – during her time as a staff photographer for the Miami Herald and The Washington Post.

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In 1986, Guzy’s first Pulitzer Prize-winning image shows the Armero tragedy in Colombia.
Photo by Carol Guzy/Miami Herald

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In 1995, Guzy’s second Pulitzer Prize was awarded for this photo of the Haiti crisis.
Photo by Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

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In 2000, Guzy won her third Pulitzer Prize with this image of Kosovo refugees.
Photo by Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

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In 2011, Guzy’s fourth Pulitzer Prize-winning photo was this one of the Haiti earthquake.
Photo by Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

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Pulitzer Prize certificates awarded to Guzy(1986-2011, from top left to bottom right)
Note: Pulitzer entries may consist of up to 20 images. All the stories awarded were entire packages of photos rather than a single image
although it seems there is usually one that becomes iconic in the eyes of viewers.

NPS (Nikon Professional Services) is very supportive, giving me the peace of mind to shoot better pictures.

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Press passes and an equipment bag Guzy has been using for years.

You just returned from covering the Caribbean hurricane disaster.

 I was initially there to cover the disaster for my agency, but then began a hopeful piece about a special forces solder serving in the disaster area and his family. I was supposed to stay for only a week, but media outlets including NBC (National Broadcasting Company) and NPR (National Public Radio) hired me for freelance work. So my stay there extended first to two weeks, then three, and in the end I stayed for more than a month. I only just returned the day before yesterday.

When you travel to disaster areas, what equipment do you usually take with you?

 It depends on the situation, but I usually take some survival gear. In conflict zones body armor and a helmet are important. If you’re covering a hurricane you need rubber boots, and a waterproof poncho is absolutely essential to protect the camera from the wind and rain. I also bring extra car chargers, camera batteries, and other gear in case anything goes wrong.

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Press passes and an equipment bag Guzy has been using for years.

Do you have any standout memories of Nikon’s camera support unit?

 NPS provides support to me all the time and is always available when I need assistance with my cameras. I went through some tough times about three years ago, when my mother, sister, and best friend all passed away over a short period time. I also lost my job and was feeling pretty down. The NPS team, many who I’ve known for some time, helped me out with loaner equipment and cleaned up my cameras. I can’t tell you how supportive Nikon has been throughout my career, especially when I was at my lowest. I will never forget it. For example, the NPS representative based in Washington D.C. made me cry when he introduced me at a presentation, saying that he had grown up watching my work. It was such honor for me; I was very touched that my local NPS representative recognized my challenges and helped to keep me shooting. NPS’s support is not always technical or camera related. They care about our work and promoting photojournalism, and about photographers taking pictures that are essential for the world. I truly appreciate the service.

nps

Nikon Professional Services (NPS) is a membership organization that provides support and services to professional photographers in about 30 countries. The group supports the activities of professionals and offers routine expert solutions, education, equipment loans, and maintenance and repair of their imaging equipment. NPS also operates a service depot at major international media events, so that Nikon professionals can do their work with greater ease.

My career in journalism has been accompanied at every step with Nikon during this new chapter.

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These are the D810 (above) and NIKKOR lenses (bottom) predominantly used by Guzy.
Body: D810
Lenses:
AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

You have such a long career as a photojournalist. What was your first camera?

 It’s a bit blurry in my memory, as I’ve been taking pictures for decades. I do remember that while I was studying at nursing school in Pennsylvania, my boyfriend at the time gave me my first camera. I quickly became captivated by it, and decided to attend photography school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. I did an internship at the Miami Herald, which led to a job there. That experience led to another opportunity at The Washington Post. I gave my heart and soul to every story during my 1988–2014 career at The Washington Post, which was run for that time by the Graham family. Nikon has always been supportive on this journey.

Which has been your favorite Nikon to date, and which model are you using now?

 I mainly use a D810. I always use my camera to concentrate on moments, and this important tool has become an extension of myself – my eyes, heart, and mind. I love the D810 because it feels like a part of my body, really, and I would say this is definitely among my favorite cameras. One thing I love about the D810 is that I can photograph in the dark with its all-new Picture Control system. I don’t usually use lighting equipment or a Speedlight, so I’m often amazed that today’s Nikon cameras allow me to document in the dark and capture moments with excellent clarity, color, and sharpness.

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These are the D810 (above) and NIKKOR lenses (bottom) predominantly used by Guzy.
Body: D810
Lenses:
AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

The challenge is to translate someone’s experience through the camera.

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In response to the question, “What do you consider good photography?” Guzy replies, “Empathy is the keyword. If you don’t have empathy, you can’t tell someone’s story.”

Could you share any interesting and memorable stories from your journalism work?

 Some stories turn into long-term projects. I get really close to people, and become like a family member. I did a story on Sierra Leone war amputees a long time ago, and one of the children was four at the time. She is now 21 and lives in Washington D.C. Her adoptive family made me her godmother, and it was one of the greatest honors of my life. They opened their lives to document their intriguing journey and kept me around after the cameras were put down and the stories wrapped up. This has been the richest aspect of my career: that my network of friends and relationships lasts long after the stories are over. I have lost my entire family and dear friend who I love, but sometimes my subjects say, “We are family.” That means the world to me – as much or more than any photograph I could have taken.
 As journalists, we are not allowed to have feelings in so many cases. Workplaces and society tell us not to cry, even if we’re witnessing the worst things in the world. I don’t feel we should need to apologize when we cry, and I believe it’s okay to be human. We’re not robots. Perhaps the emotion and empathy I feel helps me to take better pictures. The challenge is to translate someone’s experience through the camera. It’s never the same as walking in another’s shoes, but the goal is to offer a glimpse of understanding of universal human emotions and this fragile planet we all share.

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In response to the question, “What do you consider good photography?” Guzy replies, “Empathy is the keyword. If you don’t have empathy, you can’t tell someone’s story.”

Which of your Pulitzer Prize-winning works stands out the most for you?

 Haiti was my second home for decades, and it broke my heart to see so many people dying there after the earthquake. There is one image, showing a couple holding hands, walking through the burning debris and bodies. I think a lot of times we tend to show all the worst scenarios as journalists, and forget to show a little more positive response to problems in disaster areas. There are always precious moments of hope amid the devastation. It’s vital that we show solutions as well as issues in any disaster area.

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Couple holding hands after the Haiti earthquake.
“People need to see the hope this scene expresses,” says Guzy.
Photo by Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

Message to Nikon on the company’s 100th anniversary

The 100th anniversary is very meaningful. Nikon has always supported students and professional photographers, and Nikon has helped me to earn the many achievements for which I am so honored and humbled. In 2017, I was honored to be invited to judge the Nikon Photo Contest (NPC) in Japan. I feel that I’m a part of the Nikon family, and feel thankful that Nikon has helped me overcome difficult times in my life. Their warm embrace has helped me to begin a new chapter in my professional life. Thank you very much. I will never forget how much Nikon has helped me personally, and so many other students, professionals, and organizations over the years.

Carol Guzy

Ms. Carol Guzy

Carol Guzy is a member of major photography organizations including:
Nikon Professional Services (NPS)
White House News Photographers Association
ASMP – American Society of Media Photographers
NPPA – National Press Photographers Association

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NEWSEUM and Nikon

The Newseum opened in 2008 in Washington D.C. and has attracted more than 7 million visitors since. Dedicated to displays that underline the connection between news reporting and freedom, the Newseum is made up of 15 gallery spaces and 15 theater spaces. These include the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, and collections dedicated to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany, and history-making news events. The visitor experience is interactive and exciting, with one hall allowing visitors to experience first-hand the workings of a television news program.

In 2017, Nikon and the Pulitzer Prize both celebrated their 100th anniversaries. In celebration of these milestones, Nikon Inc. became the exclusive sponsor of the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery at the Newseum where more Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs were taken using a Nikon camera than with any other camera.

For decades, photojournalists have used Nikon cameras to capture historic events. Embedded in the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery is an exhibit displaying Nikon cameras that trace milestones in the development of the modern camera. The camera that Carol Guzy used for the Haiti photograph that won her a second Pulitzer Prize in 1995 is also displayed in the exhibit.

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Nikon Photo Contest

Nikon Photo Contest (NPC) is an international photography contest held by Nikon. It seeks to provide a unified place and opportunities for photography enthusiasts around the world to collaborate beyond the boundaries of professionalism or amateurism. It also aims to promote the culture of photography. First held in 1969, the contest has grown to become an international event supported by photography enthusiasts from around the world. Since its inauguration, it has received a total of 1.62 million entries from 410,000 photographers around the globe.

WE LOVE NIKON
interview07 Carol Guzy | Photojournalist from the United States
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