It’s an honor to select Michael Ciaglo of the Houston Chronicle as the Star Photojournalist of the Year for 2017. When all hell was breaking loose for days and weeks without reprieve, Michael Ciaglo was able to make images that not only explained what was happening, but moved past the pandemonium to offer quiet, almost intimate moments that showed determination, suffering, and strength. It is not easy to maintain composure in such settings, no less do one’s job, and then excel at it… but that defines Mr. Ciaglo’s success as exhibited in his portfolio.
His photographs are straightforward and simple, yet contain so much information for the viewer to digest, whether it’s a street scene in Cuba with rich detail captured at the perfect moment, or a quiet moment between aunt and nephew, in an almost Madonna-like pose, placed amid a setting nobody would want to experience.
As I viewed his photographs, I almost felt like I was wearing sound-deafening headphones as his images cut through the cacophony and offered a moment when I am invited in to be a silent observer.
And sometimes it’s just man-made bedlam as in the World Series or the Super Bowl where making the right photo at the right time telling the right story is the challenge as deadlines loom, thousands are screaming, and concentration is critical.
Michael Ciaglo is a Star photojournalist, but those who truly benefit are the readers of the Houston Chronicle.
Heartland Men’s Chorus and former AP photo editor
Cliff Schiappa’s career as a photojournalist began in high school at a weekly newspaper founded by Walt Whitman in his hometown of Huntington, NY. He earned his bachelor’s degree in photojournalism at the University of Missouri and spent two summers interning at the Providence (RI) Journal. He was a stringer in college for the Associated Press and upon graduation served as contest coordinator of Pictures of the Year. He was a photographer and photo editor at The Kansas City Times for four years then began a 23-year career with the Associated Press in 1984 as a photographer, digital technology advisor, assistant bureau chief and Midwest photo editor, all based in Kansas City.
He covered major stories including the summer Olympics in Seoul and Barcelona, papal tours of the United States and South America, presidential campaigns, conventions and inaugurations, Hurricane Katrina, 1993 Midwest floods, the Final Four, World Series, Super Bowl, Goodwill Games and 8-man football in southern Kansas. In the early 1990s Schiappa visited newsrooms of 120 U.S. newspapers, teaching journalists how to operate the LeafDesk, the first electronic darkroom that transformed the industry. In 2000, Schiappa was promoted to assistant bureau chief and in 2004 he became Midwest photo editor responsible for AP photo coverage in 13 states. He has received top honors from the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, National Headliner’s Award and the National Press Photographers Association. Schiappa has served as a member of the board of directors of the NPPA and a trustee at the William Allen White Foundation at the University of Kansas. He was inducted into the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame in 2011 and is now the development director of Heartland Men’s Chorus where he also sings low bass.
To see photos from Michael Ciaglo’s prize-winning portfolio, please click the links below: