Michelle Agins Interview – Eddie Adams Workshop

Michelle Agins - Eddie Adams Workshop 2018


On Gaining Access

Earlier this year, Michelle Agins, a staff photographer for the New York Times since ’89, took home the NPPA’s highest honor: the Sprague Award. We got to know Michelle at the Eddie Adams Workshop last year and had the honor of recording an insightful interview on topics such as Access and Gender Discrimination.

Michelle V. Agins joined The New York Times as a photographer in June 1989. Prior to that, she had been a staff photographer for The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer since December 1987.

Ms. Agins began her career in photography as an intern for The Chicago Daily News and in less than a year became a sports photographer.

In 1975 and part of 1976, she became affiliated with Project Upward Bound and taught photography first at Loyola University and later, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. From 1976 to 1977, she worked briefly as a photojournalist for the South Shore Sentinel Newspaper in Chicago.

In 1977, Ms. Agins became a photographer and audio-visual specialist for the City of Chicago's Department of Human Services and in 1983 she switched to the mayor's press office where she became the mayor's office photographer, a position she held until 1987 when she joined The Charlotte Observer.

Ms. Agins' photographs have been widely exhibited. In 1981, in Chicago, she received the Mayor's Award for Photographic Excellence and staged a one-woman show titled "I Saw You." She exhibited in a show titled "Faces" at the 1987 National Black Journalists Conference in Miami, and in 1990 she was awarded citations by the New York Association of Black Journalists and the New York Associated Press.

Ms. Agins has received two Pulitzer Prize nominations, first in 1990 for her coverage of the Bensonhust protests and then again in 1995 for her work on the Times series “Another America: Life on 129th Street.” In 2001 Ms. Agins and her colleagues won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their series “How Race is Lived in America.”

On Gender Discrimination

Award-winning New York Times photojournalist Michelle Agnis looks back on some of the obstacles she had to overcome as a woman interested in photography and the support she received from her grandmother.