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I have a diverse background in photography, which began as a venture during grad school some 15 years ago. My first assignment from our student newspaper was to photograph then Governor George W. Bush at a small meeting with kids and their art projects. Fast-forward a few months, and I was freelancing for a wire service covering W's campaign, while the next day I'd be shooting an assignment somewhere out in the rural Texas for a local newspaper, and developing film and making prints in a darkroom.
During grad school in journalism, I began work as a photography assistant for Sports Illustrated. I was soon traveling all over on assignments that wildly varied from basketball and hockey to cover portraits of sports stars in exotic locales to pigeon racing in Nevada, as well as the Olympic Games and pretty much everything in between. Throughout this I was also assisting commercial photographers, managing the setups and lighting on commercial and editorial shoots, in addition to shooting my own work.
Everyday was a different. One day it was a 30-foot wide mural for a shoe store in New York City, another portraits for a civil rights organization, while another would be producing large format fine art prints for an interior of a hotel in DC.
This work laid the foundation for what I do today. Since moving abroad in 2012, my passion has become working with non-governmental aid organizations in various fields -- from health and nutrition, farming and agriculture, to education and economics. These organizations provide critically needed resources to people in the developing world — and it’s vital to show both the needs of the people they serve as well as the important work such organizations are doing to help them.
Many of the people served by the NGOs I’ve worked with don’t have access to the basics that many of us take for granted: availability of nutritionally adequate food, potable water, basic medical care, productive sustainable agriculture techniques, basic educational materials -- the list goes on.
It's a bit of an odd juxtaposition, as my former work with SI had me meeting and working with some very big name stars, but those people are actually more accessible and "common" in a way because we are always reading about them and have knowledge of their lives through media. Whereas the people I meet working with NGOs and similar organizations -- they are all but hidden from view. Yet they are the actual fabric of daily life in the real world. The people I photograph on such jobs are some of the hardest working and resilient people I’ve ever met. Their desire to learn and push forward in spite their difficult situations is inspiring and humbling, and the fact I get to meet them and they let me into their lives for brief period is something I’m always incredibly grateful for. It's my hope that visually communicating their needs and their situations, and the efforts of the organizations I work with, will ultimately provide opportunities for them to prosper.
Clients and published work
My work has been featured in magazines, books, annual reports, and interiors of hotels, embassies and retail stores. In addition, I've authored and contributed to books on photography. If you'd like to discuss a project with me, please feel free to send me an email.
Client work has included:
Aston Martin Racing
CRS (Catholic Relief Services)
Food & Wine
The Four Seasons
Human Rights Campaign
National Eye Institute
National Geographic Books
Ogilvy Public Relations
Rums of Puerto Rico
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Chemistry Council
The Wall Street Journal
This Old House
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC
Washington Post Magazine
World Wrestling Entertainment
Site updated: August, 2018
© 2018 John Healey Photography