The Prints & Photographs Division has extensive holdings of photojournalism. Documentary in nature, these photographs were usually taken to report or illustrate current events in newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets. Most images, however, were never published.
Researchers seeking news photos that illustrate Latin American and Caribbean history should search the collections listed below. Each was created by a major news agency or publication in the United States.
For those interested in the history of photojournalism in Latin America and the Caribbean, below is a list of leading photojournalists represented in the Prints & Photographs Division. Please note that some collections have not yet been fully organized and described. These generally have "unprocessed" in their call number. To access these "unprocessed collections," please submit an online request form at least 14 days in advance to visiting the Prints & Photographs Reading Room.
Born in Neuchâtel in western Switzerland, Andujar (b.1931) grew up in Romania and Hungary then moved to Austria, the United States, and finally Brazil in 1956. In Brazil, she photographed the Caraja Indians (not in the Library’s collection) then became a photojournalist, publishing in Life magazine and Look magazine. Her photography for Look magazine pictures urban living in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the Brazilian government, and the military.
Native to Sweden, Bäckmann (1867-1950) was a teacher-turned-journalist who reported on political violence in Russia and the Boer War in South Africa. She also traveled in South America, photographing society and culture in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
Doret was a leading photojournalist in Haiti in the mid-twentieth century. He photographed newsworthy events, including Haiti’s interactions with the United States. His images were commonly published in newspapers such as Haiti Sun. Doret also photographed Haitian landscapes and historic landmarks. He sometimes printed these images photographically on postcards, like ones in the Archive of Hispanic Culture, listed in the “Archives” section.
Ferry is an American-born photojournalist now living in Colombia. He photographs the environment, society, and politics in Latin America and throughout the world. He also documents human rights crises. His photography of Bolivia explores the legacy of the Spanish conquest in Potosí. The images depict the daily struggles of Quechua miners.
Born into poverty in Mexico City, García (1923-2012) was mentored by Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002) at the Academia de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas. He became a leading photojournalist, exposing political violence, economic inequality, and social injustices in Mexico. He published in Look magazine and Paris Match, among other places.
Maryland native Susan Meiselas (b.1948) won early acclaim photographing women performers at New England carnivals. She went on to document the Nicaraguan Revolution, taking a widely recognized photo of Pablo “Bareta” Arauz throwing a Molotov cocktail. Meiselas also photographed the Salvadoran Civil War, helping to expose the El Mozote Massacre.
Born Assunta Adelaide Luigia Saltarini Modotti in Italy, Tina Modotti (1896-1942) moved to San Francisco in 1913. There she practiced acting and modeling. In neighboring Los Angeles, she met photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958); the two became lovers and opened a studio in Mexico City. Modotti became a photojournalist, publishing in newspapers like El Machete and New Masses. A member of the Mexican Communist Party, she documented its activities.
Montecino (b.1943), born in Santiago, Chile, studied international relations at George Washington University and art theory at the Universidad de Chile. He became a photojournalist in 1973, documenting the military coup that ousted Chilean President Salvador Allende. He went on to photograph the Pinochet dictatorship and Chile’s eventual return to democracy. He also covered the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional in Nicaragua and took photos in Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru.
Born in Germany, Severin (1902-1984) was a photojournalist who published in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. He married a Jewish woman, and they moved to the Americas to avoid persecution by the Nazis. Severin then traveled throughout Latin America taking photos. He photographed Fordlândia, Henry Ford’s town in the Amazon, and the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay.
Texas native Maggie Steber initially worked at The Galveston Daily News and went on to become Assistant Managing Editor of Photography and Features at the Miami Herald. She has photographed in 67 countries, including Haiti, where she has documented Haitian culture, political crises, and natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake.