We'll start out this week by profiling Charles Dharapak with the Associated Press as our featured journalist! A photojournalist with the AP, Dharapak was born in New York City and received degrees in print journalism and economics at New York University. His first paid gig was freelancing for a neighborhood newspaper in TriBeCa, New York. "I got paid $25 for a photograph of a veterinarian," Dharapak writes.
He first joined the AP in 1995 as a staff photographer based in Southeast Asia. While in Bangkok, Dharapak covered the Cambodian civil war and the pro-democracy movement in Burma. He later became the AP’s chief photographer and photo editor in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he covered the unrest in the archipelago that led to the fall of Suharto, East Timor’s independence, various communal and religious conflicts, and the rise of Muslim extremism. In 2002, he spent considerable time photographing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "It's a privilege to have a front row seat to history as it unfolds," he writes on what it means to be a journalist. "Be fair in presenting what you see and learn."
Since 2003, Dharapak has been based in Washington, D.C., covering national politics, including the Bush administration, the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, and the Obama White House. His work in Gaza in 2002 was recognized by the Associated Press Managing Editors, and he has received awards for his Washington political coverage from the National Press Photographers Association and the White House News Photographers Association. He was named the 2012 White House News Photographers Association Still Photographer of the Year and received a 2012 National Headliners Award. He has also taught photojournalism workshops with the Indochina Media Memorial Foundation in Vietnam, reviewed portfolios at the NPPA Northern Short Course, and judged the North Carolina Press Photographers Association annual contest.
To PR folk interested in pitching him, he advises, "Message me. Since I am currently in photojournalism, any story where the subject lends itself to a strong visual narrative interests me." As for advice he offers to budding journalists, it's this: "Be interested in current events. Get your news from a variety of sources, both traditional and new media. Always remain skeptical." Don't miss samplings of Dharapak's amazing work in his portfolio here.