It was the longest David Guttenfelder had been away from North Korea in four years. Last June, the Iowa native and former chief Asia photographer for The Associated Press joined National Geographic and returned to the US to start the second act of his
David Guttenfelder is a National Geographic photographer who is used to spending countless days on the road. While most people think of it as a dream job, the reality can be a lot more complex. So to share what it actually feels like to be on assignment,
On a summer afternoon in 1994, David Guttenfelder took a taxi from the Rwandan capital Kigali to the nearby region of Bugesera. He walked inside the Ntarama Church and began taking photographs of people who had been murdered by their neighbors
Surreal and mysterious, North Korea was a black hole to outsiders wanting a glimpse of the country. That all changed in 2012, when AP photographer David Guttenfelder led the opening of the bureau’s newest office inside the hermit kingdom.
Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement: David Goldblatt
ICP Trustees Award: Pat Schoenfeld
Young Photographer: Kitra Cahana
Art: Mishka Henner
Publication: Cristina de Middel, “The Afronauts”
Photojournalism: David Guttenfelder
Applied/Fashion/Advertising: Erik Madigan Heck
Although he is accompanied by a guide wherever he goes and has to request in advance where he wants to go, the daily life photographs that he has taken—often one-off shots made on the way to or from an event—provide a stark contrast to the highly orchestrated government news-agency photos that are more commonly seen out of North Korea.
I imagine it’s reasonable, at this point, to consider AP photographer David Guttenfelder an ambassador. After so many visits to North Korea (and so many thoughtful images), he has gained their trust and, with it, an unusual degree of access. What’s special and fascinating, though, is the way his wonderful photos apparently represent so differently to the (very sensitive) powers-that-be in that culture as compared to how they read to us in the West.
David Guttenfelder is now the only Western photographer able to photograph on a regular basis there. He has used all of his extensive talents – and added a new one: acting as an unofficial diplomat between North Korea and the United States.
“I represent the U.S. and the outside world to them,” he said. “But the big responsibility is representing them to the outside world through my pictures – to understand what I see, to try to be as fair as I can and to dig as deep as I can.”
Pulitzer prize winning photographer David Guttenfelder has been photographing in Japan for nearly a month. Here is a collection of images he shot earlier this week from the evacuated zone surrounding the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.
As the scale of the devastation became apparent, dozens of other photographers packed their bags and headed to Japan too, including Magnum Photos’ Dominic Nahr, VII Photo’s James Natchwey, Paula Bronstein of Getty Images and Associated Press’ David Guttenfelder. Panos Pictures photographer Adam Dean arrived in Tokyo just 20 hours after the earthquake hit – and was shocked by what he found. “I am working with a writer out here and between the two of us, we’ve covered earthquakes in China, Pakistan and Indonesia, cyclones in Burma and tsunamis in Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as undercover reporting trips to North Korea and Burma,” he tells BJP. “But from a logistical point of view this has been one of the hardest assignments we’ve had to cover.”