About

Award-winning photojournalist Chiaki Kawajiri (川尻千晶) brings a strong sense of empathy and humanity to her work. Chiaki bonds with her subjects and captures their feelings in her emotionally compelling photographs. Her photos evoke a wonderful sensitivity to the real story of real people. She couples a warm compassion for her subjects with a fierce determination to show their story with dignity.

Chiaki has covered stories worldwide, including the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, infant mortality in Nepal, and village life in Thailand.
While working as a photographer at The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, and The Oregonian, she has received several Pulitzer Prize nominations and numerous awards from the Asian American Journalists Association, National Press Photographers Association, the White House News Photographers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association, Chesapeake Associated Press, USC Annenberg School for Communication, and others.
Her work has appeared in Life Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Parade Magazine, and books.

 

I worked on many stories with Chiaki in my years as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, including a month-long trip to Nepal to write about a public health project. She was invariably creative, persistent and fearless in shooting, sometimes under the most difficult circumstances and had a knack for connecting with wary subjects. I still keep and treasure her stunning photographs.

– Scott Shane
Reporter, The New York Times

 

Chiaki is one of the finest photographers I’ve worked with during my years in journalism. I worked with Chiaki at The Baltimore Sun on many assignments, including a three-part project. She has a special eye and a warm heart that results in profound, revealing and moving photographs. She is also a hard worker who puts her all into every assignment.

–Jonathan Rockoff
Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

 

I had the opportunity to work with Chiaki many times during our years together at the Baltimore Sun, and she never failed to impress me with her sharp eye for the story and finding different ways to help tell it. The images she captured were terrific — emotional, insightful, topical. She was particularly effective at helping to reassure tentative subjects, particularly children. Chiaki is a terrific photojournalist and a pleasure to work with.

–Howard Libit
Former Assistant Managing Editor for News, Baltimore Sun
Chief Operating Officer, Kearney O’Doherty Public Affairs

 

Chiaki Kawajiri is one of the most talented and creative photographers I have ever had the pleasure of working with — and one of the nicest people I’ve known. It only figured that when Pope John Paul II visited Baltimore in 1995, Chiaki would be among the photographers assigned by The Baltimore Sun to cover the event. Her image of the Pope kneeling in prayer was widely reproduced (and can readily be found through an online Google search). But you didn’t need a papal visit for Chiaki to shine, even with assignments as mundane as a weather picture. One of my favorite Chiaki photos shows children trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues.

– David Ettlin
Semi-retired newspaper reporter and editor

 

I worked at the Baltimore Sun for nearly 35 years and had numerous photographers on my assignments. Chiaki was one of the gems. She actually helped me report the stories by working as a partner on assignments. Her attitude was always cheerful and professional. No line-em-up photos, which were common in the 70s. She worked hard to make her images works of art. When I would do an occasional overseas story and do my own photography, the folks in the photo department would advise me to keep my day job. Chiaki’s work was proof of why that was true.

– Mike Bowler
Reporter, Editor, Baltimore Sun, 1970-2004

 

In her eloquent, memorable photographs, Chiaki Kawajiri brings together a journalist’s urgency and clarity, a humanists sympathy, and a visual artist’s elegance and originality. No matter what the subject or circumstance, she is unfailingly resourceful and original. When we were colleagues at the Baltimore SUN, I always felt it was a privilege to work with her.

– Michael Sragow
Film Critic

 

I worked with Chiaki on many stories at The Baltimore Sun. She has a keen eye, rejecting the obvious and going instead for the unusual and artistic. In addition, she has a wonderful manner with the people she photographs. She readily puts them at ease and in so doing, captures their spirit as well as their likeness.

– J. Wynn Rousuck
Theater Critic

 

I’ve known Chiaki’s work, both as a consumer and a colleague, for almost 15 years now, and I continue to be impressed by her passion, dedication, good eye and hard work. There’s an immediacy to her work, the sense of a moment captured, that really pulls the viewer in, yet at the same time her images are beautifully composed, with an almost painterly sense of light and balance.
As a writer, though, what I truly envy is her way with people. Her portraits have a way of sneaking past the defenses most folks put up when dealing with strangers, and capturing honest, sometimes difficult emotions. You can see the care and empathy she puts into her work, and it makes an enormous difference.

–J.D. Considine
Music Journalist

 

Chiaki has an excellent sense of narrative. More so than perhaps any photographer I’ve worked with. She not only knows how to capture remarkable images, but she understands how they fit into the tone and arc of the overall story. She immerses herself in the material as much as the writer. And the final product is all the better for it”

– Tom Dunkel
Freelance journalist

 

In the 18-plus years I worked as a reporter, Chiaki stood out as one of the most talented and creative photojournalists I had the opportunity and good fortune to work with on assignments. She has a humanity and empathy to her that puts people at ease. She has an eye for zoning in on the heart of the subject in front of her. In doing so, Chiaki is then able to brilliantly capture the subject or subject matter in an image that tells a little story standing on its own, without words. Her abilities always enriched the stories I wrote and made me strive to be more creative, more thoughtful and more eloquent to match the high caliber of her work.

– Dan Thanh Dang
Baltimore Writer

 

I had a chance to get acquainted with Ms. Chiaki Kawajiri when she was a photographer at The Baltimore Sun and published a feature article about the families who were separated during the wartime. Besides her professional photographic knowledge and skill, she is a person of high caliber, diligence, punctuality, kindness and honesty. Since I knew her, I always paid attention to the pictures in The Sun Paper and learned that her pictures always stand out among many photographs.

– Hosurl Pak

 

Chiaki was one of the first photojournalists to take a deep interest in the human tragedy and drama of North Korea even though its restrictions on photography make it all but inaccessible. I was amazed at how she could capture images of North Korea through the faces and stories of Korea’s divided families. Her thoughtful, sensitive and nuanced approach, in combination with an uncommon integrity makes her very special and very rare.

– Stephen W. Linton, Ph.D.
Chairman, Eugene Bell Foundation

 
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