All posts filed under: Awards

Columbia Journalism Review: A photojournalist tells the stories of Chicago police torture victims

Jackie Spinner, a professor at Columbia College who has invited me to speak to her international reporting classes several times and ex-Washington Post correspondent in Baghdad and elsewhere, wrote the first little bit of press about my current oral history and portrait project on victims of Chicago municipal police torture under former Commander Jon Burge. Burge was on active duty with the Chicago Police Department from 1973-1991 and subsequently fired in 1993 after an array of crimes involving the abuse of suspects in custody were exposed on his watch, including but not limited to beatings, burning and electro-torture. Graciously, Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) has ran a couple of the press photographs including one of Marvin Reeves, a man so gentle he was like an uncle when we spoke for nearly two hours in his sister’s Bronzeville apartment. He received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of Chicago for the injustices done to him. From Jackie’s article: Now Rivkin, who grew up in the city, plans to spend the next year photographing these men and …

IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists Grant for “Burge Victims Speak”

Thrilled to announce for the first time in my life, I am being given a grant by the International Women’s Media Fund (IWMF) Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists to stay home and work. I’ll be spending the next year at least in Chicago interviewing and photographing survivors of municipal police torture under former Commander Jon Burge, who imported techniques such as electrotorture which he learned as a military police officer in Vietnam onto the streets of Chicago for nearly 20 years to force confessions from 1972 until he was suspended from the force in 1991 and fired in 1993. He later served four years for perjury but still receives a full city pension. Very special thanks to everyone who has lent time, expertise, knowledge, and patience to this project so far, there are many of you to thank and a few of you who would rather I didn’t but know you have helped tremendously and I am filled with gratitude.

Etem Erol, 1955-2016

The last message I had from Etem hoca was just a few days before he passed away. I had a night layover in Istanbul on my way to Odessa for two months and I asked if he wanted to join some friends for dinner, so naturally I invited Etem, as I had not been back to the city I called home for two years in over a year. He wrote to say he regretted he could not make it that he was leaving early that same morning for Bulgaria with his brother. It was in Bulgaria, I came to learn just a few nights ago from a classmate and fellow student in his Elementary Turkish I class so many years ago, that he had a heart attack and died in his brother’s arms. He was so young, 60, and with so much life and so much still to give. I write this with tears streaming down my face and it’s been more than a day now since I heard this really excruciatingly painful news. It …

The Importance of Memory and World Press Photo’s “Contemporary Issues”

“The struggle of man against power is the act of memory against forgetting.” -Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting I have my own personal reasons for choosing to photograph over other mediums, for believing that we must look sometimes even when we are more often compelled not to. The collective memory of societies around the world relies on aesthetics, whether represented through flags, leaders, advertising and propaganda or news photographs. Only the last can claim to attempt to accurately reflect the conditions of all citizens but especially the disenfranchised, even if so often the focus is on podiums and the powerful. Earlier this month, World Press Photo announced the results of its annual competition. Shortly thereafter, the mayor of the Belgian city of Charleroi sent the Amsterdam-based foundation a letter stating his objections to an essay entitled “Dark Heart of Europe” that depicted his town as some sort of desolate sex-depraved locale where fetish and fantasy were expressions of current realities. Many of the scenes in the photographs were simply staged through a …

Columbia Journalism School Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma 2014 Ochberg Fellowship

I have been named a 2014 Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Ochberg Fellow along with some other pretty seriously accomplished journalists. It means, among other things, that I will be in New York for a week or so in January. It also means I will get advice and gain wisdom from some of the foremost experts on trauma as it impacts journalists. In the past, I attended two events co-sponsored by the Dart Center, a workshop on veterans at the Carter Center in Atlanta and a journalism and trauma workshop in Istanbul that I photographed as well. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, along with the Rory Peck Trust, have proven to be the gold standard in resources for journalists covering traumatic issues. I am indebted to them and the work they do.

Explorers Journal: Views of Sarajevo From Young Explorers

The Explorers Journal blog of National Geographic featured late last week a teaser post about a project I have been working on with recently named Young Explorer Cara Eckholm in Bosnia and Herzegovina on cultural heritage preservation and postwar reconstruction, “Views of Sarajevo From Young Explorers“: National Geographic Young Explorers Grantees Cara Eckholm and Amanda Rivkin have been on the ground in Sarajevo this month. They’re pursing the story of the new urban landscape in Sarajevo, delving into the triumphs and tensions of a city that not long ago was ravaged by war. Through interviews with Sarajevo’s citizens Cara and Amanda are investigating battles over public monuments and museums, the complications of the foreign investments funding the rebuilding, and other stories from every corner of the historic city.

2013 Poynter Fellowship at Yale University

A few months back, I was notified that I was named the recipient of a Poynter Fellowship at Yale University to give a talk this fall on my work photographing “Protests, Pipelines + Women” in Turkey and Azerbaijan at Yale University. I will be joined by economics professor Tolga Koker. The talk is sponsored by the University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. The date is now set for October 1, 2013 at 4pm in Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, Yale University. The talk is free and open to the public. More information is available on the Yale University website. Yale Daily News article, “Photojournalist Discusses Travels, Gender“.