Magazine article Editor & Publisher

World Press Photo, Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Struggles to Find Work

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

World Press Photo, Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Struggles to Find Work

Article excerpt

Last spring, Anthony Suau pleaded with Time magazine -- where he's been a contract photographer for 20 years -- to publish his photo essay on the economic crisis in Cleveland, Ohio.

"When I arrived there I was in shock," Suau recalls. "There was almost not a single street in Cleveland that didn't have a house that was boarded up because of a foreclosure." He compared the scene to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Time decided not to print the story, and Suau's pictures ran only on Time.com, where it drew little attention in the U.S. -- until today, when one of Suau's Cleveland pictures won the World Press Photo of the Year award.

In an interview shortly after the award was announced, Suau said he worries the economic crisis may leave him having to find another job or leave the home he just purchased for his family.

The last two months have been especially bad, Suau says. He hasn't had a single assignment except for covering the presidential inauguration for a Japanese book publisher.

"If the situation continues like it has in the last two months, down the road I would be in danger," Suau says. "Do I have to get another job to do something? I don't know. I may have to do something else besides photography."

Suau has covered conflicts and human crises around the world and has won two World Press Photo of the Year awards, the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, and numerous other recognitions.

He shot the Cleveland story in March, a few months before the devastating impact of the mortgage crisis was fully understood. It would take until September, when investment banks began to fail and financial markets to begin to fall, for most Americans to take notice.

Last year Suau took one trip to Cleveland for three days, then requested that Time send him back for a longer return trip. On the second trip he arranged a two-day ride-along with a sheriff's detective who was handling evictions.

"I wanted so badly for that series of pictures to be published in the magazine, and everywhere people could see it," Suau says. Though it never ran in print in the U.S., the project had more luck with secondary sales in Europe, where several magazines published it.

Suau says he was busy with assignment work last year and saw his archive sales go up in the fall as magazines turned to stock as a less-expensive alternative to assignments. …

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