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Award-Winning Photojournalist and Alumni Martha Rial to Speak at Upcoming Commencement Ceremony

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

June 11, 2015

Martha Rial

Martha Rial, the 2015 commencement speaker at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and an Art Institute of Pittsburgh grad herself, is the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, the Scripps Howard Foundation Award for Photojournalism, a National Headliner Award, and the Distinguished Visual Award from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors.

“Making a difference in a person's life is the best reward” – Martha Rial

Martha Rial will address the graduating class of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh on Friday, June 19, 2015. She is a familiar face at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—in 1982 she earned an Associate of Science in Photography from the school.

Today, Martha is an independent photographer who specializes in documentary, editorial, and portrait photography. She began her career as the staff photographer at the Ft. Pierce Tribune and the Journal Newspapers in Alexandria, Virginia. She later also worked as a staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

One of Martha’s most notable photographic projects, “A Trek of Tears,” documented the lives of Burundian and Rwandan survivors of the 1994 genocide and led to her winning a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography in 1998.

Martha on shootMartha explains that she strives to tell a visual story that others haven’t told. She suggests that to grow professionally, photographers pursue personal work. “It is what makes you stand apart. Clients are drawn to work that showcases your unique vision.”

Martha also recommends that photography students build relationships with their subjects—in order to best capture a moment. “Making a difference in a person's life is the best reward.”

Martha is thankful for the relationships that she built while at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—and that continued after graduation. “Photography, like all creative fields, is all about relationships. They need to be nurtured, valued and respected. I am still in contact with some of my classmates from my [school] days.”

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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

June 11, 2015

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