Maggie Steber in Haiti in 1986 -87. Photo by Alexandra Avakian.
Haiti Earthquake

Historical Timeline

Historical Timeline

This timeline is a record of the earliest working women in photojournalism and highlights some of the poignant moments. It lists the first female photojournalists at large metro newspapers and wire services, directors of photography and a few early photo agency photojournalists. Also included are photographs and quotes by these women that help to illuminate their experiences in the field. This record aims to teach new photographers about the pioneers who paved the way. It is not intended to be a comprehensive description of the work of these photojournalists, but rather a starting point for further research.


Associated Press (AP) is founded, a not-for-profit news agency formed as a cooperative to serve its US newspaper members and with bureaus in every state and overseas.

Associated Press (AP) is founded, a not-for-profit news agency formed as a cooperative to serve its US newspaper members and with bureaus in every state and overseas.


Acme News Service: Frances Benjamin Johnston


LIFE Magazine: Margaret Bourke-White 1929; Dorothea Lange 1929; Hansel Mieth 1937; Rita Vandivert 1938 ; Marie Hansen 1940’s; Lisa Larsen 1948 Nina Leen 1945.

[Notable] Pioneer Picture Editors: Peggie Sargent and Chief Picture Editor Bobbi Baker Burrows 1966

Referring to the late Bobbi Baker Burrows: “She was the mother of LIFE magazine—she cared for all the photographers. She remembered pictures that never made the final cut, which years later would take on a whole new meaning for a new story she was working on.” —Harry Benson in TIME


Black Star Photo agency: Early on represented photojournalists. Marion Post-Wolcott, Lynn Johnson, Donna Ferrato (operated until 2010, unclear when it closed)


Associated Press first female staff photojournalists: Mary Morris Lawrence, 1936; Suzanne Vlamis, 1973; Kathy Willens, 1976.


Gerda Taro started photography and was killed one year later in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War in a collision between a car and a tank.


The Atlanta Journal & Atlanta Constitution first female staff photojournalists: Carolyn McKenzie Carter , Edna Weston 1945 . Merged with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Minla Linn-Shields ,1975; Nancy Skellie Mangiafico, 1976; Lanna Swindler, 1979.


The Los Angeles Times first female staff photojournalists: Maxine Reams, 1943; Mary Frampton, 1953; Kathleen Ballard.


The Baltimore Sun first female staff photojournalist: Marjorie Dean Andruk 1943; April Saul 1980.


The San Francisco Chronicle first female staff photographers: Virginia de Carvalho 1943; Susan Gilbert, 1972 (also director of photography 2002); Stephanie Maze 1973; Sandy Soloman 1975; Vici MacDonald 1976.


Magnum Photos (cooperative), early photojournalist members: Rita Vandivert, 1947; Eve Arnold, 1951; Marilyn Silverstone, 1967; Susan Meiselas, 1976; Mary Ellen Mark, 1977; Martine Franck, 1983.

[Game Changer] on copyright, Magnum’s legacy “Copyright would be held by the authors of the imagery, not by the magazines that published the work. This meant that a photographer could decide to cover a famine somewhere, publish the pictures in Life magazine, and the agency could then sell the photographs to magazines in other countries.”


Missouri Photo Workshop (MPW), Photographers and editors who taught during the early years: Margaret Bourke White, Vi Edom, Abigail Heyman, Margaret (Peggy) Sargent, Carolyn Patterson, Darlene (Pfister) Prois, Sarah Leen, Sandra Eisert, Melissa Farlow, Judy Griesedieck, Stormi Greener, Maggie Steber, Cheryl Magazine.

“Edom taught ethics and a “learning by doing” philosophy that was seen as the first teachings in photojournalism. Inspired by the gritty, content-rich photographs of the documentary photo unit of the pre-WWII Farm Security Administration, Edom promoted research, observation, and timing as the methods to make strong story-telling photographs”, reads the MPW website.

“Show truth with a camera,” taught Edom. Edom will be remembered as a man who brooked no pampering with the integrity of the journalistic photograph. To Edom honesty was a sacred trust. You didn’t organize, manipulate, or manage a photograph. You didn’t make a photograph. You took it. You photographed the reality of things as they were, not the way you preconceived them or would have liked them to be,” wrote founder of Black Star photo agency Howard Chapnick of Clifton Edom in Small Town America.


The Louisville Courier-Journal, first female staff photojournalists: Martha Holms 1950s, Jean Cunningham, Lucy Becker (Blodgett), Marian Klein Koehler 1956. Pam Spaulding, Melissa Farlow 1974. (There were 13 women photojournalists there before the 1970s. Some went on to work for LIFE Magazine).


The NY Daily News, first female staff photojournalists: Evelyn Straus, 1950s; Linda Kopczyk, 1974; Mary Diblase Blaich, 1974. Evelyn started working for The Daily News in the 40s; named to a staff position in the 1950s.

“Evelyn Straus was the first woman staff photographer at The Daily News. I worked with her during the 1970s before she retired. Evelyn told me how she became a photographer. During WWII, she worked in the photo library. So many of the male photographers left to serve in the war, she was asked to switch over to the photography department to fill in. She stayed.” (Oral history passed on by Mary DiBlase Blaich).


United Press International started after it merged with Acme Newspictures (1923 to 1952) then bought by Reuters in 1985, Reuters was launched in 1985 in the US.


The Dallas Morning News, first female staff photojournalists: Doris Jacoby 1953; Jan Sonnenmair, 1981; Paula Nelson, 1983; Nuri Vallbona, 1986; and Judy Walgren, 1987.


[Game Changer] SLR 35mm were widely used with Nikon F model and interchangeable lenses came out in 1959. The modern era of photojournalism begins. Ulrike Welsch recalls her father’s Rodenstock with a 127mm film was her first camera. Then, as staff at The Herald Traveler in 1966, it was 2 1/4 film size Mamiyaflex with two interchangeable lenses, which was very bulky and heavy she says and Pentax 35mm.


Doris Derby photographed The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.


Gamma Liaison, Early contributors include Catherine Leroy, Francoise Demulder. (The agency was sold to Getty in 2007).


The Washington Post, first female staff photojournalists: Margaret Thomas 1966 ; Linda Wheeler, Vanessa Hillian 1977; Dayna Smith 1985; Carol Guzy 1988.


The Boston Herald Traveler, first female staff photojournalist: Ulrike Welsch


The Denver Post, first female staff photojournalists: Olivia Fall Edwards, 1969; Jodi Cobb, 1974; Lynn Alweis, 1977; Susan Biddle, 1983.


“[I]t’s just hard to say when I became something I could call a photographer since I learned on the job,!!! A lot of mistakes along the way before I arrived. By ’71 I kind of knew what I was doing, but then do we ever know, ha!” —Susan Biddle.


Woodfin Camp photo agency is founded by G. Woodfin Camp III (joined a year later by Midge Keator who became Woody’s business partner): Early represented photojournalists, Wendy Watriss, Jodi Cobb, Sisse Brimberg, Annie Griffiths, Stephanie Maze, Later Alexandra Avakian, 1984; and Charlyn Zlotnick, 1986 (unclear when it closed).


The San Francisco Examiner, first staff photojournalists: Teresa Zabala, Katy Raddatz, Judith Calson.


TIME magazine, female contract photographers: Sahm Doherty first female photographer on Timemasthead in 1972. Other contract photographers would follow Diana Walker, 1977, Catherine LeRoy, Francoise Demulder, Cynthia Johnson, mid-1980s.


The Boston Globe, first female staff photojournalists: Ulrike Welsch, 1972; Janet Knott, 1976; Wendy Maeda, 1980; Joanne Rathe, 1985; Suzanne Kreiter, 1985; and Yunghi Kim 1988.

“Through her sensitivity and compassion, Ulrike Welsch elevated feature photography in photojournalism to a new level. Usually she would turn in between 6-10 feature photographs a day, in addition to covering an assignment or two. The title of her book “The World I Love to See” (1977) is an inspiring collection of work. The World, however, loved Ulrike showing up with her camera.” —Janet Knott of Ulrike Welsch.


United Press International, first female staff photojournalists: Lana Harris UPI, Sue Klemens


The New York Times, first female staff photojournalists: Joyce Dopkeen,1973; Teresa Zabala, 1974 (hired by the Director of Photography John Morris); Ruby Washington, 1975; Marilyn K Yee, 1977.

“You’ve got to see it to photograph it.” said Teresa Zabala in NYT

“Being women of color at the paper, we bonded more so than the others. I think we had a special affinity together, and we were both mothers who worked during our pregnancies.” —Marilyn K Yee on Ruby Washington in NYT


Agency Presse Sygma: A founder Eliane Laffont (Sold to Corbis in 1999). Early represented photojournalist, Caterine Milinaire.


Sipa Press is founded (sold to German news agency DAPD, 2011), Ayperi Ecer, NY bureau chief in the ’90s. Notable editors: NY bureau chief in the ’90s, Jocelyne Manfredi (Paris), Sue Brisk (NY). Early photojournalists Alexandria Boulat, Catherine Leroy, Nina Berman, Jana Schneider & Heidi Levine.


Newsweek, first female contract photographers: Susan T McElhinney; Contract photographer Maggie Steber, 1991.


Marjorie Morris, Editor NPPA’s News Photographer Magazine.


The New York Post, first female staff photojournalist: Martha Cooper, 1977; Lenore Davis, 


The Detroit Free Press, first female staff photojournalists: Lona O’Connor, 1975; Patricia Beck, 1977; Mary Schroeder, 1979; Susan Tulasa, 1979

[Notable] Helen McQuerry, was an African-American lab technician. She started in 1966 and was the seventh African-American to work at the Free Press. Helen McQuerry was hired before the first female photographer, she was a lab tech but the first woman in the photo department. Everyone says she is totally awesome, and the best printer ever, she made them all look good and especially when she worked on contest prints including David Turnley’s.” (Oral history passed on by Diane Weiss.

“Helen McQuerry is one of the best printers I have ever worked with, one of the most special and dearest friends I have ever known, and one of the first black women to be hired at The Detroit Free Press under Tony Spina, Chief Photographer for decades,” —David Turnley, photojournalist.


The Pittsburgh Press, first female staff photojournalists: Lynn Johnson, 1975; Marlene Karas 1977; Melissa Farlow, 1983; Susie Post-Rust, 1987.


The Hartford Courant, first female staff photojournalists: Mary Alice Dwyer, 1975; Judy Griesedieck, 1978; and Kathy Hanley, 1982.

“Before I got a job at the Hartford Courant, I briefly had a job at the Hartford Tribune, which folded two weeks after I arrived. Never got a paycheck and had to pack up two enlargers in my car and return them to the camera store. Then I got a temporary job at the Hartford Civic Center as a photographer, but the roof collapsed in a snowstorm a week after I got the job. Then a DOP in New Jersey looked at my pathetic portfolio and told me I had no talent, should go home and have ‘a good cry’ and think about a different profession. Yikes. Glad I ignored his advice,” —Judy Greisedieck, former staffer



The Miami Herald, first female staff photojournalists: Mary Lou Foy, 1975; Pam Smith O’Hara, 1978; Marice Cohn Band, 1979; Trish Robb, 1979; Carol Guzy, 1980.


National Geographic: Jodi Cobb was a contract photographer, then a field staff photographer in 1977. Additional notable names: Annie Griffiths, 1978; Sisse Brimberg, 1979; Stephanie Maze, 1979; Sarah Leen, 1980; Karen Kasmauski, 1984; Maria Stenzel, 1991; Joanna Pinneo, 1991; Lynn Johnson, 1991; Melissa Farlow, 1991; Susie Post-Rust.


Contact Press Images photo agency is founded. Early represented photojournalists: Lori Grinker, 1989; Alexandra Avakian, 1991; Yunghi Kim, 1995; Jane Evelyn Atwood and Kristin Ashburn.


The Detroit News, first female staff photojournalists: Barbara Mclellan 1977; Michelle Andonian 1984; Kathryn Trudeau; Diane Weiss 1989.


The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, first female staff photojournalist: Darlene (Pfister) Prois, 1976.


The Kansas City Star, first female staff photojournalist: Chris Cannella


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, first female staff photojournalist: Joyce Mendelsohn



The San Jose Mercury News, first female staff photojournalists: Penni Gladstone, 1979; Mary Jo Moss, 1979; Karen T. Borchers, 1982.

“This (of San Jose Mercury News) is where I really understood the concept of photojournalism with the help of other great shooters that were hired around the time I began. We watched life transpire in front of us. We never made the moment” —Penni Gladstone, first staffer.


The White House: Mary Anne Fackelman during the Carter and Reagan presidencies, Susan Biddle 1987 during the Reagan and Bush presidencies, Carol Powers during Bush, Sharon Farmer and Barbara Kinney 1993 during the Clinton presidency.

[Notable] White House photo editors: Sandra Eisert, Kathleen Hennesy, Jodi Steck, Alice Gabriner.

[Notable] Sharon Farmer, first female African-American White House photographer 1993 and Director of the White House Photography Office 1999.

“You are young, you’ve got ability, get out! Get out, see what’s going on and shoot.” She recognizes the value of her newspaper training and the diversity of assignments that came her way”. — Mary Anne Fackelman in Popular Photography, 1981

“Photography is a ticket into other people’s lives. I am kind of nosy, but little did I know that I would end up in the life of the President of the United States”. —Susan Biddle


Maria Mann, Director of Photography, The Toronto Sun.


The Rocky Mountain News, first female staff photojournalists: Staff Linda McConnell, 1981; Laura Fitzler, 1982; Deb Reingold, 1982; Janet Reeves, 1982.


[Game Changer] USA Today introduced as a daily full-color newspaper. It was the first newspaper to go full color, setting the standard for color reproduction and accelerating other newspapers to follow. A Poynter Institute study found, by 1983, 53% of American daily newspapers used some color. “USA Today is widely admired in the industry for setting a high standard of color reproduction. USA Today proved that it was possible to produce a high-circulation national newspaper in color with clear graphics and crisp photographs.” 1993 article in The New York Times


USA Today first female photojournalists: Barbara Kinney, 1982; Dixie D.Vereen, 1982; Barbara Ries, 1983.


Thirty years before #MeToo, women sued media organizationsAP, The New York Times, Newsweek — for gender discrimination. AP in 1983. lawsuit settled.



JB Pictures, early photojournalists included: Louis Gubb, Maggie Steber, Sarah Putnam, 1985. Tribute to founder, Jocelyn Benzakin who died in 2005.

When I missed important moments, she’d encourage me to get going on to the next. And when we did good, I remember well her deep guttural chuckles of delight effervescing down the long-distance phone line. She loved to win. Fellow photographers in South Africa used to comment on how lucky I was to have such a dynamic, effective agent.” — Louis Gubb in DigitalJournalist

“She constantly made the point that photography was about something bigger than any one of us, and it was absolutely about the people in the photograph, and not about the photographer.’ — Maggie Steber in DigitalJournalist


Mary Alice Murphy sued The Providence Journal to get on staff.

“I had to sue to get hired in 1984 because they hired 3 guys then and I had to train one for his picture desk job! They hired me and Frieda Squires right away when that happened.” retired staffer Mary Alice Murphy


Agence France Press started photo service in U.S., first female staff photojournalists: Susan Ragan, 1984; and Robin Beck 1986.


Carolyn Lee is named The New York Times Picture Editor (Director of Photography) first woman on the news masthead, Nancy Lee, 1991; Margaret O’Connor, 2001.


Karen Mullarkey, Director of Photography, Newsweek.

“Karen was the first woman to achieve prominence as a photo editor in magazines.“ Former Editor of American Photographer, Sean Callahan.

“Karen Mullarkey is one of the most influential and respected picture editors of all time. In my opinion, she’s a national treasure. Dozens, if not hundreds of photographers (including me)” Kenneth Jarecke’s owe much of their success to her piece on Mullarkey.


Maria Mann, Director of Photography Agence France Press for North and South America. 1994 International Editor in Chief for photography.


The Los Angeles Times goes limited color. Full color in 1989.


Impact Visuals (cooperative) 1984-2004. Early represented photojournalists: Donna De Cesare, 1984; Donna Binder, 1986 (director); Catherine Smith,1986; Leah Melnick, 1989.


Reuters starts in US, first female staff photojournalists: Charlotte Massey and Nanine Hartzenbusch. Contract photographers called “Super Stringers” 1988-89: Greta Pratt (New York), Tami Chappell (Atlanta), Rebecca Cook (Detroit), Sue Ogrocki (Chicago).

“In the summer of 1985, I moved to Washington DC, where I was one of the first women hired to work on the picture desk at Reuters. The other female hired by Reuters was Charlotte Massey. I had the dual role of photo editor and photographer. I made pictures of big stories like state visits, large protests, and quirky features. Colleen Combes joined us and we became a trio of women at Reuters. We were hired to work the photo desk, shoot occasional assignments in DC and eventually receive a posting at a Reuters foreign bureau”

After several years on the desk at Reuters in DC, I realized a foreign posting was not going to happen for me. I missed the daily challenge of newspaper photojournalism and began a job search that took me back to the street. From Reuters, I moved to New York City as a staff photographer for New York Newsday. Our visual team was a mix of men and women. I was very proud to be part of the Newsday team that won the Pulitzer Prize in1992 in breaking news for our coverage of the Union Square Subway crash. Our coverage led to improved rail safety standards and random drug and alcohol testing of motormen and bus drivers.” —Nanine Hartzenbusch, excerpt from her testimonial.


[Game Changer] Mary Schroeder was a plaintiff in a lawsuit fighting for equal access by male and female reporters and photographers to the Detroit Lions locker room.




The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Women in Photojournalism national network is formed by Annalisa Kraft, Marilyn Shapiro, and Mimi Fuller Foster.


US News & World Report, first female staff photojournalists: Linda Creighton, staff in Washington DC and Anna Clopet 1986, staff in Europe.


Panos Pictures is founded.


Agence VU photo agency is founded. Early represented photojournalists, Jane Evelyn Atwood (for Europe only), Vanessa Winship, Darcy Padilla, Anne Rearick.


Kathy Ryan, Picture Editor, The New York Times Magazine (title: Director of Photography title used later at the NYT).


[Game Changer] Canon Auto FocusCanon introduces the EOS-1 camera system. It was designed to be an autofocus system from the start and incorporated a new lens mounting system to support it. Eventually, Canon released high-quality EF lenses, including many fast zooms, which were capable of quickly acquiring sharp focus. Getting images in focus became easier for photojournalists and many switched to Canon in the early 1990s. Canon loaned equipment to many photo departments and individual photographers to promote the system.


[Game Changer] The Leafax scanner/transmitter was the size of a briefcase and cost about $32,000. It allowed photographers to travel anywhere in the world and scan their negatives and transmit the images back to their newspapers over a standard phone line. It was developed by Boston-based Associated Press staff photographer David Tenenbaum in the mid-eighties. Depending on the quality of the phone line, it could take as little as thirty minutes to transmit a color image. By the late eighties, it was widely used by both wire and newspaper staff photographers.

“Negative scanning was the next push forward in the mid-80s with AP’s procurement of the Leafax, a compact and portable picture transmitter held in a briefcase-sized case. AP photographers could take color or black-and-white negatives, scan them into the Leafax, tone, sharpen, crop and add captions, then send them through to the network. With the exception of developing film, the Leafax eliminated darkroom work and printmaking for photographers and again cut the amount of time it took for the picture to travel from the camera to the news consumer.” Excerpt from TIME, “Celebrating 80 Years of Associated Press’ Wirephoto

“It was a ridiculous machine but at the time it was like magic. Around 1988 we were still printing in the AP office then putting the prints on a drum to send. In the early 90’s we would travel all over the world with a leaf, an enormous two suitcase sat phone and a wet develop kit. That seemed light compared to what we had to haul before. We had all kinds of tricks to get them to calibrate correctly or boot up, including closing the latches, putting it on its side and kicking the shit out of it.” —John McConnico, Former AP photographer.

“I remember paying for an airline seat so that it would be next to me on a trip.” —Cathaleen Curtiss

“I can’t tell you how many times airport security asked me to ‘turn it on.’ Except that it didn’t really do anything without a negative in it. It looked like a bomb in a Halliburton suitcase.” —Matt Mendelsohn

“It really was the cutting edge of technology and in retrospect, quite historic. I felt like the kid carrying Edison’s light bulb (although I did not drop a Leafax).” —Gerald Herbert, AP staff photographer.

Before the Leafax came along, the news wire services depended on drum scanners to transmit photographs. Traveling newspaper photographers would go into the offices of the Associated Press or United Press International to use their darkrooms and transmit their work. The drum scanners required physical prints to be made. Captions were taped directly on the print before they were mounted on the scanner. Photographers would work out of the nearest AP or UPI bureau to where they were shooting. It was not uncommon for wires services to setup remote locations in hotel rooms, gyms, school rooms, anywhere with running water, a room that could be “light-proofed” and a good phone line. Both the photographers working for the wires and the newspaper photographers who worked for member newspapers would work out of this location. It took nine minutes to transmit a black & white image and twenty-seven minutes to move a color “project”.

“Amazing to think that analog drum transmitters of different types were the standard from 1935-1992. When I started at UPI in 1984 it was 15 minutes to send a black and white print, single-speed, 60 rpm either AM or FM depending on the quality of the phone line. After Reuters bought UPI’s international photo service we went to 120 rpm which cut the transmission time in half. A color “project” required three separate transmissions, each one filtered on the transmitter for magenta, cyan and yellow. With a minute between each transmission.” —Santiago Lyon, former AP staff photographer, and director of photography.

“My recollection is that it was more like 24 minutes for color: 8 each for cyan, magenta and yellow. And that’s if all went well. If you had any sort of interruption at all—aka “line hits”—with any of those 3, you’d need to do over.”—Bill Swersey

“When I started at AFP in 1990 in Hong Kong we had the Leafax, but we were still using a drum scanner too. The computers (b/w) could remove some basic dust spots, but photographers would still often need to make prints and send them with the drum scanner. I believe we used the Kodak scanner after that. I remember when our first Apple computer arrived in the office with a color screen and photoshop…’92?” —Radhika Chalasani

“My first big job was at UPI in Miami. They sent me to Haiti to cover the overthrow of Duvalier. When you left Miami, you had to take an enlarger, chemicals, paper. You would set up a darkroom in your hotel bathroom. I can’t believe the airlines let us on with all the toxic liquid chemicals.” —Lynn Sladky in CJR


“You would start printing when the negative was still wet (newspaper deadline) You had to be really skilled in processing and printing as well as shooting. Literally 15 minutes. The newsroom would have a space left open for that one photo.”—Yunghi Kim in CJR

“Before digital took hold, played with a far more limited pool of freelancers. The bar was much higher because we were shooting film and chromes mostly. They had favorites etc, but the reality was they had to hire people who could PRODUCE good, strong imagery that was actually exposed correctly. Exposing chromes, especially in a fast-paced news environment, required technical precision within 1/3 of a stop or the image was completely unusable. That was a barrier for the freelance market.” —Todd Bigelow.

“For Tiananmen Square, we had a Time bureau in Beijing, so all I had to do was drop the film. Everyone’s agency would make a deal. You might have a group of 20 photographers with a loose relationship with Time, or Paris Match, or Newsweek, or Figaro to get their film in. Overnight Monday, the Asian version of Time or Newsweek would arrive in Beijing. Everyone would eat breakfast, and it would be the first time we saw our film” —Kenneth Jarecke in CJR

“I had a system for filing stories and shipping film (from Somalia in 1992). I would fly in-country for a couple of weeks at a time to do my reporting then I would return to Nairobi to send telexes to my editors to pitch and file my stories. Occasionally I would ship my film using a local freight company, but most often I would carry my film to the airport and ask a tourist or businessperson if she would be willing to carry my film to Paris. I’d telex the flight details, the name and a description of the passenger to my editor and Sipa would send a messenger on a moped to pick up the package from the passenger at the airport. An editor would then text me to confirm that the film had arrived and informed me of potential play and upcoming stories.” —Chery Hatch in Testimonial (link)


[Game Changer] Cell Phones. Before the flip phone, there were “brick” or “bag” cell phones. They were expensive, big, annoying to carry, and unreliable. Before these first-generation cell phones, there were two-way radio systems. Company cars would be outfitted with dedicated antennas. Handheld radios were often carried by staff photographers and freelancers on assignment. The flip phone was small, easy to carry and usually offered decent coverage. But mobile phones came out in the late 1980s. It all seems funny looking back…

“It was more like a huge two-way radio base station than a mobile phone, but in 1987 it was nothing short of amazing to me. The of phones were phones because they were the size and weight of a brick” Alan Lessig next generation called “brick”

“While I don’t recall the year I do remember having to make my first call while driving. I just couldn’t believe it didn’t have wires. How could this possibly be? I kept talking about it before I could even get to the point of the conversation. My first job was at the San Jose Mercury and the guys, all guys would use similar speak on the two-way as if they were truckers…copythat.”—Penni Gladstone


Darlene (Pfister) Prois, Director of Photography The Minneapolis Tribune later merged as the Star Tribune.


Eddie Adams Workshop. The Workshop began in 1988 with the goal to redress the exclusivity of professional opportunities by accepting students based on their demonstrated skills, and not on their ability to pay tuition.” —Eddie Adams Workshop

Notable women in early years: Alyssa Adams, Adrienne Aurichio, Melinda Anderson, Rachel Cobb, Maria Ragusa-Burfield, Bobbi Baker Burrows, Mary Dunn, Yonca Gerloch, Sari Henry, Evan Kriss, Eliane Laffont, Nancy Lee, Shauna Lyon, Miriam White Lorentzen, Corey Lowenstein, Karen Mullarkey, Jolie Muller, Kathy Ryan, Michele Stephenson, Virginia Sherwood, Yunghi Kim.


Michele Stephenson, Director of Photography, TIME magazine.


Saba Press photos agency (Sold to Corbis in 2000, started Redux in 2003). Early represented photojournalists, Najlah Feanny, Susan May Tell, Ricki Rosen, Mariella Furrer, Kate Brooks.


Sally Stapleton. The first senior photo editor of Latin America and Africa for The Associated Press. By late 90s Stapleton was number 2 in charge of AP World Wide Photo as the deputy executive.


Karen MullarkeyDirector of Photography, Sports Illustrated.


Susan Gilbert, Director of Photography, The Rocky Mountain News; Janet Reeves, (second) Director of Photography.


NPPA President, Mary Lou Foy; Alicia Wagner Calzada, 2005; Melissa Lyttle, 2016.


[Game Changer] Photoshop was first developed in 1988 but widely used in the early ’90s.

“Late 80s. I remember when we first got the film scanners and one of AP Boston’s top photographers came to our paper to show us the ethical basics of how to use photoshop. I’ll never forget her looking at the managing editor when he asked her what she thought about Photoshop. Elise half smiled and said, “It’s the devil’s paintbrush.”—Cheryl Senter, Elise Amendola

“July 1993, while working as a photographer for the United Nations in Bosnia. Soup, scan (Nikon cool-scan?) file. Color grading and cropping only. Bought my first MacBook in 1996 with photoshop. Saved all to Zip drives. Filed via landline…from AP office northeast Bosnia, I seem to remember 3-6 minutes a photo, fingers crossed the line did not drop.”—Staton Winter


[Game Changer] Nikon CoolscanA film scanner that didn’t require the photographer to make a print in order to transmit an image. This allowed photographers more freedom, as they no longer had to travel with a full darkroom setup. Instead, they just needed to process their film which only required chemistry, a few stainless steel film tanks, film reels, and a thermometer (at the bare minimum). Often, the traveling photographer could find a one-hour photo lab that would give them dry, ready to edit the film, in about ten minutes. Still, most phone lines were slow. Most were still made from copper. A good phone line was prized. A bad one could lead to a sleepless night spent sending and resending files.


Corinne Dufka seriously injured by an anti-tank mine in Sarajevo covering the Yugoslav War working for Reuters.


Zuma Press is founded.


Geri Migielicz, Director of Photography The San Jose Mercury News.


Cheryl Magazine, Director of Photography and Assistant Managing Editor (AME) at The Hartford Courant.


[Game Changer] The advent of AOL’s (America Online) email service. Out of the stone age, photographers could connect with friends and networks all over the world.



Thea Breite, Director of Photography, The Providence Journal


Getty Images is founded.


MaryAnne Golon, Director of Photography, US News & World Report


Elisabeth Biondi, Visuals Editor, The New Yorker.


Susan Gilbert, Director of Photography, The Charlotte Observer .


American Journalism Review, The Year of the Women” Photojournalists. The year women established an even playing field by sweeping top honors. Carol Guzy, Yunghi Kim, Corinne Dufka, and Gail Fisher sweep the honors.

“This is a thorough and perceptive description of forces and issues that were becoming more and more evident in the ‘80s and ‘90s. As Sherry points out, we began noticing the growing dominance of women among POY winning photojournalists, particularly in the photo story and essay categories where complexity and appreciation for subtlety and ambiguity were more often rewarded…However, when you consider the diversity of subject matter, sophistication of presentation, sheer number of first-rate workers, and gender balance among all professionals, the ‘80s and ‘90s were the true golden age. Or so it seems to me.” — Bill Kuykendall the long-time former Director, University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year.


The year of the “Washington Post’s Landslide. Under the direction of Joe Elbert and Michel Ducille, The Washington Post dominates photojournalism with Carol Guzy, Nancy Andrews, Danya Smith, Nikki Kahn, Juanas Arias, Michel Williamson, Lucien Perkins, Dudley Brooks.


Maggie Steber, Director of Photography, The Miami Herald


Corbis stock agency is owned by Bill Gates and sold in 2016 to the Visual China Group.


[Game Changer] WIFI became widely available. The first version of the 802.11 protocol was released in 1997. Starbucks becomes the photographers’ new office.

“Starbucks made you pay for WiFi. When all the public libraries got up to speed I would park outside if they were closed or go in if they were open” —Rose Cundari Lincoln

“I would drive slowly down the street hoping to catch an open unsecured line. I’d pull over and transmit” —Penni Gladstone

“I remember pulling up as close to one as possible in my SUV in Lakeland, Florida, during a hurricane so I could use their wifi while I sat in the air conditioning because the entire strip mall was shut down during the storm.” —Carrie Pratt


Yola Monakhov is shot in Bethlehem, Israel while on assignment for The Associated Press.



Sports Illustrated Staff: Lynn Johnson


[Game Changer] Affordable Digital Cameras. Wire services and big newspapers started using early digital cameras in the early 1990s, namely, the Nikon NC200 and the Kodak/ Canon DCS series. Both shot image files that measured about 1.3 megapixels. They were slow, had a frustrating lag time between when the shutter button was pushed and the shutter was actually released and was very expensive at about $43,000 apiece for an early model. At the turn of the century, Canon released the D30 (about $3,000) and Nikon released the D1 (about $5,000). The file sizes were large enough for most newspapers and met the needs of some magazines. Naturally, with their needs to deliver images fast, wire services had been the early adopters of this technology, but now, with the higher quality and lower price, many magazine freelancers made the switch to digital as well. In certain situations, like the US-led military action in Afghanistan, where there were no one-hour photo labs or reliable phone lines, these cameras were the only way for news photographers to share their images with a worldwide audience in a timely manner.

“The first Pulitzer won with a digital camera was in 1999, by AP, with a Kodak NC 2000. The photos were shot in 1998, though.” of Monica Lewinsky coverage” — Indira Williams, DOP Newseum,

“We were using the DCS NC 2000 AP Technology camera in 1997. I shot the world cup in 1998 using one film camera and another very slow digital 1.2 Megapixel camera. A nightmare to say the least. Very magenta, and about a frame per minute, which was not ideal for sport” —Elizabeth Dalziel

“Yep, I shot Clinton’s election night in 92 using one of those. The tether was the diameter of my thumb-I looked like a ghostbuster wearing that thing, AND the battery died while we were waiting for Bush to concede, so I got exactly ONE frame off.” —Bill O’Leary

“If I remember correctly, we began using the NC2000 I~n a big way in 1996, during the political conventions and gradually everyone at AP had to use them. I was covering the White House then and remember how awfully they rendered Clinton’s skin tone— it made him look Salmon-colored. I shudder to think of the awful quality that we used to record history in those early years of digital!” —Ruth Fremson.

“We shot and published with the D1 in 2000. I remember opening the boxes and feeling the power of the future in my (photo chemical allergic) hands.” —Carey Wagner


VII Photo (cooperative) is formed: Early members are Alexandra Boulat, 2001; Lauren Greenfield 2002; Jessica Dimmock, 2007.


Getty News: Paula Bronstein becomes a staff photographer.


Luci Williams is found dead.

“Luci was a gem. One of kind. She led by example with heart and extreme kindness to all.” —Sue Morrow


[Game Changer] The New York Times vs Tasini copyright ruling. (Good) The ruling established electronic media was separate from print format in licensing. (Bad) The negative fallout from this ruling was that publications implemented an avalanche of predatory contracts for freelance photographers.


Susan Gilbert, Director of Photography, The San Francisco Chronicle. Kathleen Hennessy 2nd DOP; Judy Walgren 3rd DOP, 2010.


Redux photo agency: Maggie Steber, Nina Berman, Liz Gilbert, Karen Ballard.


European Press Agency started bureaus 4 cities in the US. Rhona Wise, staff photographer in Miami.


Maria Mann, Global Director of Corbis


Alexandra Boulat dies in Gaza.


Noor Photo Agency cooperative: Samantha Appleton and Jodie Bieber original members. Director Claudia Hinterseer. Nina Berman, 2009; Alixandra Fazzina, 2010; and Andrea Bruce 2011.


Facebook and the era of social media begins. The site launched in 2004 and is widely used by photographers by 2007.


Getty Reportage is founded.


Maria Mann, Managing Editor, European Press Agency (EPA)


Paula Nelson, Director of Photography, The Boston Globe


[Game Changer] Instagram is launched and the era of iPhone photography commences. The era where everyone has a phone camera and thinks they are a photographer; images are used for marketing and the obsession with photographers’ branding begins.

Instagram helped empowered photographers to directly engage with their followers. Early on, some claimed Instagram was a savior to photojournalism and some have gained a large number of followers with mixed success. Most photojournalists will not have enough followers to become influencers for big brands. For journalists, there are also ethical concerns, as advertising conflicts with their stated goal of objectively reporting on world events.

Large scale uploading of images to Instagram helped facilitate the theft of images (today, paparazzi are leading the way to protect copyright). Some say the licensing of images and terms of use has been severely weakened by Instagram, as images are now perceived to be free. Some claim Instagram has become the largest photo library. Most users are unaware of Instagram’s terms of service with the potential of a rights grab. The floodgates are opened.


Carol Guzy wins her fourth Pulitzer Prize, the first journalist to do so.


Mary Anne Golon, Director of Photography, The Washington Post


Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic.


[Game Changer] Daniel Morel vs Getty Images. Established copyright applies to images on social media with a $1.2 million judgment.

After the ruling, he said he had pursued his case for four years ‘because someone had to fight for photographers.’”Daniel Morel, interview in The New York Times.


Anja Niedringhaus is killed in Afghanistan.


Marica AllertDirector of Photography, The Dallas Morning News.


Photo agencies, we mentioned a few early photojournalists. Photo agencies represented a spectrum of photographers including non-photojournalists. We did not list them. Some are no longer represented by the agency and moved to other agencies and cooperatives.

Photo agencies represent freelance photographers. Cooperatives are run by a group of freelance photographers.

Newspapers listed are largely large metro newspapers with first staff photographers or early staff photographers. Because there were many newspapers at the time, we limited it to mostly large newspapers or newspapers known for strong photography. The year next to the photographer’s name is when they were hired as staff photographers but many women previously started at a smaller newspaper and often they were the first female staff photographer there as well.

[Notable] Listed are pioneer directors of photography such as Karen Mullarkey for Newsweek in 1984. Carolyn Lee with the The New York Times in 1984 and Maria Mann with The Toronto Sun in 1980. But there were many photo editors who were quite influential to photojournalism like Peggy Sargent, Bobbi Baker Burrows, Sandra Eisert, Carol McKay, Vanessa Hillian, and many others.

Any corrections please contact: