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Saluting Photographers Who Give Back

Credit: Samer Daboul from Pexels 
Hamid Amirani - 1.9.20

On March 25 in New York City, The Imaging Alliance will recognize three professional photographers/videographers and one new photographer/videographer for work that has given back to their communities by raising awareness of vital issues.

The Imaging Alliance was established to further all areas of the imaging industry by forging alliances between professionals, consumers, thought leaders and innovators. As their website says: “The Imaging Alliance is dedicated to helping the imaging industry adapt to disruptive technologies and changing consumer preferences, by connecting members to a network of industry leaders, knowledge and insight.”

Read on for details of this year’s honorees and how to submit an entry for the Anthony M. Ruotolo Photojournalism Award.

“The power of imaging is never more apparent than when it is used to help those in need”



Multiple award-winner James Balog describes the overarching theme of his 40-year body of work as the human modification of nature. He is recognized as a global expert on climate change and among his accomplishments are THE HUMAN ELEMENT, his 2018 film about “how humanity interacts with earth, air, fire and water,” and founding the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most comprehensive photographic study of glaciers ever undertaken. Balog has also given back by founding the Earth Vision Institute to “educate global citizens about the impact of environmental change on the world” by producing visual stories, both photographic and video, that bring art and science together as the way to inform and educate.


Manhattan photographer Alicia Hansen’s work comprises premium commercial photos and fine art. Among her clients are Bloomberg News, IBM, Fortune Magazine and the Municipal Arts Society. In 2005, Hansen launched NYC SALT, her nonprofit initiative that she created in order to connect inner-city youths with photography as a way to empower them by teaching them the technical, creative and business aspects. Hansen says: “I started NYC SALT because I wanted to give something back to my community, and I wanted to create a program where my peers in the industry could also give back within their skill set and talents.”


“I have dedicated my life to photographing those unique traditional cultures from our common past, still living in the present, for future generations.” This statement by photographer, filmmaker and National Geographic Society Explorer Chris Rainier encapsulates the ambition and scope of his career in which he’s turned his viewfinder on endangered indigenous cultures. Rainier, who was Ansel Adams’ last photographic assistant in the 80s, is being honored this year for his efforts as founder and CEO of the non-profit Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation, which seeks to “find a balance between cultural preservation and economic reality” by protecting biodiversity. 



If you’re an aspiring photographer or videographer who’s used images to create a positive impact, you can enter the Anthony M. Ruotolo Photojournalism Award contest. The award seeks to “Salute” someone who’s “used their talents and passions to give back and heighten awareness through the power of imaging.” The award is named in memory of Anthony M. Ruotolo, who was the publisher of Popular Photography and American Photo and was a member of the board of the Photoimaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA).

It’s free to enter. You need a letter of recommendation from a teacher, professor, or employer, and links to at least 10 samples of your work. Good luck!

If you wish to attend the award ceremony, go here to register. Tickets are $25 and proceeds go to charity.

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