Brenda Manookin blazes a path into a new generation of photojournalism
Photography By Brenda Manookin
A 2008 graduate of Brooks Institute’s Visual Journalism program, Brenda Manookin is one of the rising stars in photography. Her talent and passion for photography is obvious when you look at her work, which, even at the young age of 27, spans the globe. Soon after graduating, Manookin traveled to Afghanistan with James Rolfe, DDS, who built a dental clinic out of two used shipping containers and shipped them to Kabul. She credits one of her Brooks Institute Visual Journalism instructors, Greg Cooper, as the catalyst for that trip, which has blossomed into a major photographic project.
“He gave an assignment to go out and find someone who was making a difference,” says Manookin.
The desire to make a difference is the driving force behind Manookin’s photojournalism. Now just over a year since graduating from Brooks Institute, she has started a venture with two fellow Brooks Institute Visual Journalism alumni, John Waskey and Grant Morris, called New Sky Productions. The nascent venture is described as a “socially conscious media production company.” Describing New Sky, Manookin says, “We want to create real solutions, not just document. Sometimes I feel like just being a photojournalist isn’t enough for me. Getting your picture on the cover of Time isn’t enough sometimes. I want to provide real solutions. I feel helpless when I look at so many pictures, but there are a lot of instances when I want to help and I want to do something, but I don’t know how. With New Sky, we want to provide those solutions. That’s my dream.”
New Sky and Manookin are embarking on a different kind of photojournalism. She calls it being a “humanitarian photojournalist.” Says Manookin, “If I could do what I do and help one person, I’d be happy. There’s a place for regular photojournalists, and there’s a place for what I want to do.”
Manookin’s combination of talent and drive, honed by the inspirational instructors in the Brooks Institute Visual Journalism program, has set her on a unique course. We expect to see her and New Sky changing the world, one photograph at a time.
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