Michael Robinson Chavez – Profile

Michael Robinson Chavez

Education: San Francisco State University, BA in Journalism

Michael Robinson Chávez, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for The Washington Post, became seduced by photography after a friend gave him a camera before a three-month trip to Peru in 1988. A native Californian and half Peruvian, he currently works as a Staff Photographer with The Washington Post. He previously worked for The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and the Associated Press. He has covered assignments in over 70 countries including the collapse of Venezuela, climate change in Siberia, violence in Mexico, the historic drought in California, tsunamis in Indonesia and Chile, the Egyptian revolution, life in Brazil’s favelas, gold mining in Peru, the 2006 Hezbollah/Israeli war and the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Robinson Chávez was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 as part of a staff entry from The Washington Post covering climate change. He is also a three-time winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Photojournalism and was named Photographer of the Year by Pictures of the Year International in 2020. He has received awards from the Best of Photojournalism, PDN Photo Annual, Northern Short Course and the Scripps Howard Foundation. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Visa Pour l'image festival in France, the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Centro de Imagen in Peru, Imagenes Havana in Cuba and War Photo Limited in Dubrovnik among others. In addition, he teaches and lectures at workshops and photo festivals throughout the world.

Honors and Awards:
Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism, winner, 2020
Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting, finalist, 2020
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award International Photojournalism, 2018 and 2011
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Domestic Photojournalism, 2014
Photographer of the Year, Pictures of the Year International, 2020
Photographer of the Year, Pictures of the Year International, 2nd Place, 2014 and 2010
Pictures of the Year International, Environmental Awareness Award, Special Recognition, 2014
Scripps Howard Award for Environmental Reporting, finalist, 2017Scripps Howard Award for Photojournalism, winner, 2008
Photographer of the Year, Northern Short Course, 2020
WHNPA, Photographer of the Year, 2007, 2004
Visual Journalism Award, News Leaders Association, finalist, 2020

Gerald Loeb Award for Explanatory Journalism, finalist, 2017


Professional Affiliations: Society of Professional Journalists, National Press Photographers Association

Languages spoken in addition to English: Spanish, rudimentary Brazilian Portuguese


View more exclusive PhotoWings videos


Additional videos:

Critical Thinking

Photographing in Sensitive Situations


Michael Robinson Chavez advises photographers on how to keep their photography and their minds fresh through problematic times


Michael Robinson Chavez talks about his inspiration for becoming a photographer and the evolution of his photographic career over time.

Michael Robinson Chavez discusses his research process and the critical thinking skills required for developing a story.


Visit Chávez' Website to see his photographs.

View Chávez' page at Framework from the Los Angeles Times

Information and Photographs of Chávez' on Social Documentary

Review of Chávez' book Awaiting the Rain on Ventana Magazine

Earthquake in Chile from The LA Times

Deconstructing Mubarak on Picture of the Year international

Broken Promise, an slideshow with companion audio about peruvian gold mines on LA Times Magazine