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Meet Benjamin Chambers
I am a photojournalist from Ecuador. In January, I moved to beautiful Erie to join the Erie Times-News as a photojournalist.
Before moving to Erie, I won a Pulliam Fellowship and worked at The Arizona Republic, another Gannett/USA Today Network publication, covering a variety of assignments in Phoenix and its surrounding areas during the hot summer months of 2021.
In the summer of 2020, I had a short (due to the pandemic) internship at The Adirondack Explorer. Here, I photographed the river, dams and hiking.
Prior to beginning my photojournalism career in the United States, I lived in New York, where I completed a master’s in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. I also earned a bachelor’s in photojournalism at St. John’s University, took workshops at the International Center of Photography and was invited to the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop XXVI. I love New York!
Before moving to the United States, I studied communications and art in Brazil at the Universidad Federal de Pernambuco and photography in Ecuador at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito, where I began my photojournalism career and collaborated with almost all the printed media in Ecuador.
The most important part of my life is that I’m married to my best friend, Maria.
Why I became a journalist
Photojournalism is one of those careers one follows by vocation, and photojournalism is my only vocation.
Photography as a language, combined with journalistic ethics, techniques and methodologies, gave birth to photojournalism as a new genre of investigation. Photojournalism helps us witness issues and how people overcome conflicts. It also helps us interpret the struggles and achievements of our societies.
I love being a reporter and telling stories through images. To achieve this, I have educated my eye throughout my life. I have worked hard to have a strong formal education, foundation and training in journalism and the arts.
I was born in Quito, a romantic city where newspaper street vendors still scream, at the top of their lungs, the name of the papers they are selling along with their front-page headlines. Quito is one of the cities where people still read print editions, and get upset if newspapers don’t have original photos or headlines on their front pages. I have learned and worked with the best photographers from my country.
There were always newspapers, books and magazines in my childhood home. I grew up in a family of social scientists. My father is an anthropologist, my mother is an economist, my uncles are philosophers and professors. I inherited from them an interest in, and respect for, diverse communities and the arts.
For that reason, I strongly believe that I was born to tell stories through pictures.
What I like best about my job
What I like best about my job are the people of Erie. I love the access my profession grants me to photograph relevant, often intimate, moments in the lives of people from the different communities who co-inhabit and together magnify this beautiful city. It’s exciting to witness the joy of children when the Erie Otters score a goal, or when an 80-year-old fisherman confides in you his ice fishing secrets.
I also like the geography of the city, its architecture and the fresh air. Being a photojournalist is a privilege that I take with great responsibility and deep gratitude.
I also enjoy the company of my co-workers; I like the fellowship that we have forged together. They are all people with a vocation and great passion for their profession. For example, my fellow photojournalist Greg Wohlford, besides being a great professional, is also a great person. I really enjoy chatting with him.
What is the biggest challenge I face?
The biggest challenge I have is complying with the filing system, including the archiving processes, that we must follow in post-production. After all, publishing a newspaper is complex work and publishing a printed newspaper is a daily “miracle.”
What I like to do when I’m not working
I love to spend time with my wife. Together we enjoy sightseeing in the Erie peninsula, parks, restaurants and beautiful neighborhoods. We enjoy the quiet and calm of this amazing town. I spend time every day trying to learn more about Erie and Pennsylvania.
My wife and I love to travel. We travel a lot. We have worked on many independent photojournalism projects together during our travels in Peru, the United States and Europe. We have spent most of our time in New York and Black Rock City, Nevada, where the annual Burning Man festival is held. We make a great team. I have won awards in journalism due to the logistic support and inspiration she provides me.
Favorite event or Erie-area tradition
I have been in this city for over two months now, and I have loved all my assignments. My first assignment was a photo story on ice fishing in the bay. That same day I understood that I loved this city. One of my most recent assignments was covering the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, I loved participating in that assignment. I am honored to work in this city.
photo gallery:Ice fishing on Presque Isle Bay
photo gallery:2022 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Erie
Why journalism matters
I agree with Gabriel Garcia Marquez when he expresses that, “I consider journalism as a literary genre at the same level as the novel, poetry, story and theatre. And it is important because it is a literary genre with its feet on the ground. Literature allows you to escape, but with journalistic training a cable keeps you on the ground.”
More about BenjaminBenjamin Chambers bio
Contact Benjamin Chambers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-870-1695.
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Meet more of the Erie Times-News staff
David Bruce | Tim Hahn | Josh Reilly | Valerie Myers | Matthew Rink | Mike Copper | Jennie Geisler | Ed Palatella | Greg Wohlford | Jim Martin | Baylee Demuth | AJ Rao | Lisa Thompson | Dana Massing | Kevin Flowers | Tom Reisenweber