Please tell us about your start. What got you interested in photography?
I always loved to take pictures but I never really thought I could do it as a career. I actually had a dream about taking pictures and I was on a mountaintop just clicking away at all the beautiful views. A week later I signed up for a photo class at LA Valley College and it sort of took off from there. I later received my B.S. degree from Cal State Long Beach in journalism.
What led you to choosing photojournalism as your focus?
I chose photojournalism because it gave me the opportunity to shoot a lot of different things. Sports, portraits, food, news events, interiors – everything you see in a newspaper. I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk. It also gave me a chance to travel the world and meet and learn about a lot of different subjects.
Please tell us about winning your Pulitzer prizes. How did these come about?
The Pulitzer prizes were awarded to the staff of the Los Angeles Times of which I was a member. They were for images taken during the riots after the Rodney King Trial and the 6.6 Northridge earthquakes. The riots and civil unrest were difficult and at some points scary. Shooting after the earthquake was the same because there were aftershocks happening while we were shooting. We also lost electricity during that time and so just getting the paper out at all was a scramble. It was exciting though and I think that’s what I always enjoyed about photojournalism. You had to get it done every single day. I love the challenge of that.
What do you enjoy photographing the most?
My favorite assignments are always about people. There are so many every day people doing interesting things and I never really would know about them if I wasn’t a journalist. I think the core of what I love about photojournalism is telling stories visually. Many photographers are fascinated with celebrities but I’ve always been much more envious of the guy or girl next door who is out making a difference in their community.
Do you have any words of wisdom for photographers who are just getting started in the industry?
I think that new photographers are starting during an exciting time. Photography is constantly changing and that will present many new opportunities. I would say to be true to what you love about photography. People have all sorts of opinions about photography and where it’s going. The truth is that no one knows, but it’s always been an exciting ride. So hang on!
Ginny Dixon spent most of the last 30 years making pictures at major newspapers and national and international magazines. She also had the privilege of being a member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning staffs at the Los Angeles Times in 1992 and 1994. Assignments have taken her to many parts of the world chasing beautiful light and stealing moments from interesting people and places. As of late, her focus has turned more towards charitable causes and making a difference. See more of her work at her website: http://www.ginnydixon.com/