Here at The Chicago Reporter, we're dedicated to telling stories that you might not see elsewhere and we do it in a way that is all our own.
We're also committed to supporting young talented journalists who have the skills to do compelling stories like our video on one young immigrant's fight for a life-saving kidney, or this photo essay on a place for Austin's teenagers to be safe from the gun violence on the streets.
We created two annual fellowships, including one minority fellowship. Our first fellows are great examples of the kind of talent we want to help develop. They are strong visual storytellers with both still and multimedia photography. For the nine months of their fellowship, they'll be working closely with our editors and reporters to develop our coverage of race and poverty.
Watch this space for their photo essays, slideshows and videos.
Villa got his start in high school as the photographer for his yearbook in Compton, Calif. His interest in taking candid shots turned into a hobby and while at college studying computer science, the hobby turned into a passion. He changed his major to photo communications and started freelancing for La Opinion, the largest Spanish-language daily newspaper in the country. The rest, as they say, is history.
"I grew up in a city much like Chicago with high crime, corruption and immigration,” said Villa of his interest in covering race and poverty. “Growing up and being exposed to such things makes it more personal for me as I want to report on the issues that The Reporter works on. By documenting the city on the topics covered by the Reporter, I am showing the lives of people who do not have a voice and share their story."
He also appreciates the power of photography to tell stories that are often difficult to put into words.
"It is our duty as photojournalists to portray the truth, beauty and sometimes harsh realities this world has to offer."
From the jungles of Vietnam to the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, Gibby's photography has spanned continents as well as different human experiences. It's also been a constant since the Los Angeles native was a young child: "I distinctly remember taking my first photograph at age 5."
He counts Getty Images, The Washington Post and The New York Times among his clips, and he can work with any camera.
"The camera I prefer is the camera that gets the job done. Type, brand, and price are all irrelevant to me. I have seen some amazing projects shot completely with disposable cameras, iPhones, and outdated DSLRs." They all have "the power to capture an entire novel, article or film in just one frame," Gibby said.
Gibby said his work has naturally evolved into covering social issues.
“Like many novice photographers, I thought making images of sunsets and flowers was the best,” he said. “From there I adapted into more of a portrait photographer and slowly drifted into the world of photojournalism. Now, after some time of working in the field, I have realized that I want to work in areas of the nation and globe where my work is most likely to contribute to society and effect change."