Photographer of Life: As a Staff Photographer for the Los Angeles Times, Ginny Dixon Covered the O.J. Simpson Case, the 1992 L.A. Riots, and the Northridge Earthquake, Winning Two Pulitzers in the Process. Her Latest Daring Project? Portraits That Show the Beauty of Women with Disabilities

By Christensen, Jen | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), June 19, 2007 | Go to article overview

Photographer of Life: As a Staff Photographer for the Los Angeles Times, Ginny Dixon Covered the O.J. Simpson Case, the 1992 L.A. Riots, and the Northridge Earthquake, Winning Two Pulitzers in the Process. Her Latest Daring Project? Portraits That Show the Beauty of Women with Disabilities


Christensen, Jen, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


Suddenly on the afternoon of February 8, photographer Ginny Dixon got a call from the Associated Press: The news agency could not get its photographers out of Miami fast enough to cover, a few miles north, Anna Nicole Smith's death in Hollywood, Fla., where Dixon lives. Could she, a former member of a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team at the Los Angeles Times, rush over to Memorial Regional Hospital right away and document the troubled model's final demise?

Sure, she said. But when she arrived at the hospital, Dixon discovered that a promised press conference was not to be, leaving little to shoot. With nothing to do, some journalists began pulling random people from the nearby Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to ask how they felt about the death of their fellow hotel patron. "That was such a farce," Dixon says, remembering the day. "It was chasing around nothing."

But as with so many other occasions, Dixon knew how to turn "nothing" into something. The 5-foot-6 blond went over to the Broward County medical examiner's lab, muscled her way past the aggressive paparazzi, plunked down the three-foot stepladder she always carries in her car for such reasons, and found the perfect angle to snap a decent portrait of the medical examiner his expression tired, his brow furrowed--telling the waiting press that the autopsy results could take weeks. By early that evening the shot had been beamed around the world on AP's various wires.

For Dixon, 46, who is out, the experience was business as usual. No longer a staff photographer for an outlet, her well-honed eye now focuses on a wider range of freelance projects, many with a charitable bent. They include her ongoing series "Uncensored Life: Raw Beauty," which shows off the beauty of women with disabilities rather than the disabilities themselves. The portraits will soon be turned into a book and exhibited across the country.

Dixon's early life sounds like the plot of a 1960s beat novel. At 19 the Florida native left the safety of her family in Fort Pierce and drove cross-country to California with a friend. When she arrived in Los Angeles she knew just one person: her uncle, a mortician. So she started a business to help him write death certificates. In five years she turned a profit, sold the business, and bankrolled an education in photojournalism.

"I was always messing around with cameras," Dixon says, "but I never thought I could make photojournalism a career."

It certainly helped that she started out at the Los Angeles Times, where she won a coveted internship while a student at California State University, Long Beach, that she parlayed into a full-time job. Although she ascribes her big break to luck--"Everything just fell into place," she says friends say she was simply talented.

"She was different, and differences always connect," says Jorge Carreon, a fellow journalism student and later Dixon's roommate. Carreon is also out, and both shared a passion for their college newspaper. "She has this incredible ability to sit back and listen," he says. "She cuts through all that bullshit, and her work, even then, showed you what's real."

Carreon has met his share of celebrities in running a successful movie publicity company in Los Angeles, but he still keeps a picture from those days of him and Dixon posing with Annie Leibovitz. The two had waited outside Brentano's, where the famed photographer was doing a book signing, to request an interview with her. Leibovitz gave them 10 minutes.

"We were so young and stupid," he says. "We felt like intrepid reporters, hot on the story, and when we got up the nerve to finally ask her really politely if she would step for an interview and picture, we were amazed when she did.

"We were thrilled when Annie shot a photo with Ginny's camera," he adds. "I think she signed Ginny's camera strap."

At the Times, where Dixon worked for eight years, local stories turned into international headlines: She became part of the pool at the O. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Photographer of Life: As a Staff Photographer for the Los Angeles Times, Ginny Dixon Covered the O.J. Simpson Case, the 1992 L.A. Riots, and the Northridge Earthquake, Winning Two Pulitzers in the Process. Her Latest Daring Project? Portraits That Show the Beauty of Women with Disabilities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.