Profile: Maggie Steber

Maggie Steber

Award-winning photographer and editor Maggie Steber is well-known for her passion for teaching, and so we were thrilled when she welcomed us into her classroom at the 2018 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Kolkata, India. Maggie provides insight into her style of teaching, the ways we can learn to find our own visual voice, and tips for editing and storytelling. "I really like to create an atmosphere where it's almost like a family," says Maggie, "I want us to be friends."

Maggie has worked in 64 countries focusing on humanitarian, cultural, and social stories. Her honors include the Leica Medal of Excellence, World Press Photo Foundation, the Overseas Press Club, Pictures of the Year, the Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service to Journalism from the University of Missouri, the Alicia Patterson and Ernst Haas Grants, and a Knight Foundation grant for the New American Newspaper project.

For over three decades, Steber has worked in Haiti. Aperture published her monograph, DANCING ON FIRE. In 2013 Steber was named as one of eleven Women of Vision by National Geographic Magazine, publishing a book and touring an exhibition in five American cities.

Steber has served as a Newsweek Magazine contract photographer and as the Asst. Managing Editor of Photography and Features at The Miami Herald, overseeing staff projects that won the paper a Pulitzer and two finalist recognition. Her work is included in the Library of Congress, The Richter Library and in private collections. She has exhibited internationally. Clients include National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, AARP, The Guardian, and Geo Magazine among others. Steber teaches workshops internationally including at the World Press Joop Swart Master Classes, the International Center for Photography, Foundry Workshops and and the Obscura Photo Festival.

Additional videos:

 Engaging Her Subjects

Before photographing subjects, Steber is always sure to sit down and speak to them first. Regarding that relationship between photographer and subject, she feels that "it's a collaborative effort on both our parts." Steber believes that she takes more successful photographs through intimate and mutual interaction with her subjects.

Critical Thinking 

Steber's message about critical thinking is simple: "[You're] going to get hired more quickly than somebody who is not doing that kind of homework." Speaking as a photo editor as much as a photographer, Steber stresses the need to make a "different kind of picture" in order to address the persistent issues of our times. Critical thinking is the key.

Value of Photographs 

"You never realize how valuable these things are, and sometimes it’s really all you have left of somebody," Photographer Maggie Steber explains about family photo albums.