The Photography of Carol Guzy
Carol Guzy is one of the most celebrated photographers of all time. Guzy is famous for focusing on capturing emotions rather than just pictures.
Guzy was born on March 7th, 1956 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and was raised by her mother. She received a degree in nursing from Northampton Community College, but later decided to pursue photography after receiving a camera from her boyfriend. She left nursing school and enrolled in the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. In 1980, she got an associate’s degree in applied science in photography got a job at the Miami Herald as a staff photographer.
In November of 1985, Guzy traveled to Colombia for the Miami Herald to document the aftermath of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano eruption that killed 23,000 people. She beautifully captured the devastation and plight of the survivors and her stunning photos earned her a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography in 1986. She later moved to D.C. and began working for the Washington Post. In 1989, she won “Photographer of the Year” from the National Press Photographers Association and in 1990, she became the first woman to win “Photographer of the Year” at the esteemed Picture of the Year contest.
Guzy has since photographed all over the world capturing the plight of Kosovo refugees, famine in Ethiopia, civil unrest in Haiti, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the catastrophic Hurricane Andrew in Florida. Below, I will analyze 3 of her most famous photos.
Above, is a picture of four young refugees in Kosovo. The picture perfectly captures the joy of the children in the picture. The children are toward the right side of the picture, which makes the picture seem more natural and not staged. The squinted eyes of the girl on the left and right and the gaped and imperfect teeth of the children also help to show how natural and genuine the kids’ happiness is. The younger girl with the bow who is hiding behind the flower sleeve of the older girl emphasizes the innocence and youth of the children. The free-flowing wind and sun shining on the children’s smiling faces conveys an undeniable and contagious happiness.
The Above photo was part of Carol Guzy’s Pulitzer Prize winning entry in 2000. The photo shows two year old Agim Shala being passed through a barbed wire fence to his grandparents. The photo was taken at a camp in Kukes, Albania where a refugee camp was set up for those fleeing the conflict in Kosovo.
The child is at the center of the photo so that the viewers’ eyes focus directly on what is happening with the child. Also, the sky in the background is slightly whited out so that the focus is the child in the center. The picture is taken from the eye level of someone standing at the scene which makes the viewer feel as if they are in the scene, looking at the child. The straight lines of the barbed wire represent the oppression that is holding these people back, and the fact that the people are able to bend the wire and get a child through is inspiring and shows that there is hope that the people will overcome their situation. The contrast between the child’s bright blue outfit and the orange field behind makes the blue pop emphasizes the innocent and hopeful nature of the picture.
This picture was part of Guzy’s photo journal on an autistic child named Alex. In this, she expertly uses depth of field. The picture is a close up of Alex’s hand, but his hand isn’t in focus and the focus is centered at is eye. His thumb frames his glasses, which perfectly frame his eye. One of the goals of the photo journal is to see what life is like through the eyes of an Autistic child, and by focusing the image on Alex’s eye, the viewer has a unique view into Alex’s life. Also, the fact that the picture is taken from underneath a table and taken from directly above represents Alex’s playful and irrational personality.