DPP Home Profiles Carolyn Cole: Running In

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Carolyn Cole: Running In

L.A. Times staff photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner Carolyn Cole wants to make a contribution

running in
Ten-year-old Fatna Adam takes cover from the sun in Darfur, where the living conditions remain poor for thousands of displaced people.
While most of us have an instinctive reaction to run from danger, Los Angeles Times staff photographer Carolyn Cole more often than not runs toward it, camera in hand. She’s driven by a desire to report the news as accurately and as honestly as possible. Her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Among her many accolades is a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the civil war in Liberia and much deserved Robert Capa Awards for Courage In Photography for her coverage of the Iraq War, the conflict in Liberia and the siege at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

Cole began her career in 1986 as a staff photographer with The El Paso Herald-Post followed by a two-year stint at The San Francisco Examiner. She decided to try her eye internationally as a freelancer in Mexico City, working with newspapers and magazines, including The Los Angeles Times, The Detroit Free Press and BusinessWeek. In 1992, she joined the staff of The Sacramento Bee, then moved on to The Los Angeles Times in 1994. Regardless of the news outlet she works for, the images she creates put a very human face on some of the more difficult realities of the human condition.
I discovered that through photography I could learn about the world and make a contribution.
DPP: When did you decide to be a photojournalist?

Carolyn Cole: It was luck, really. My parents gave me my first camera, a Pentax K1000, as a high-school graduation present, which I took on a trip to Europe. The camera allowed me to approach strangers despite my shyness. Growing up in the suburbs of Virginia and California, I was sheltered from what was happening in the news. It wasn’t until college, when I took my first journalism classes at the University of Texas, that I realized what I wanted to do. I discovered that through photography I could learn about the world and make a contribution.


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