Washington Post's duCille Returns To The Camera; Jenkins Named As The Post's New Photography Editor

May 3, 2005

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michel duCille, 49, photography editor for The Washington Post since 1988, will be going back on the street as a senior photographer for the newspaper in June.

“For a very long time now I’ve been yearning to return to my first calling as a photojournalist,” duCille wrote in a message to the Post photography staff. “After years of editing, the urge to shoot again (always beneath the surface), is hard to ignore.”

“Relinquishing the passion to help edit your photos and to have an impact on your work in the newspaper is not easy. I often felt that I was your representative in the newsroom; I will miss being there for you. As an editor, I have always tried to keep the mind and eye of a photographer — trying not to forget your daily dilemmas. I hope that those memories will come in handy as I embark on new adventures,” duCille concluded. He’s been an NPPA member since 1981.

Joe Elbert, assistant managing editor for photography for The Washington Post, named Keith Jenkins(PhotoBlog), photography editor for The Washington Post Magazine, to succeed duCille. “Michel leaves an important role, but we are lucky to have the perfect successor in Keith,” Elbert wrote in the announcement.

“When I persuaded Michel to leave The Miami Herald and become a picture editor here at The Post, he’d just won his second Pulitzer,” Elbert said, “and I couldn’t believe I was asking him to hang up his cameras. Still, he agreed, thinking he would do it maybe three years and then return to shooting. I’m an incredibly lucky guy because he did it for 17 years.”

The first Pulitzer Prize for duCille was shared with fellow Miami Herald staff photojournalist Carol Guzy (now also at The Post) for their spot news coverage of the Nevado Del Ruiz volcano in Colombia in 1985, winning the Pulitzer in 1986. A second Pulitzer followed in 1988 for feature photography for a Tropic magazine photographic essay on crack cocaine addicts in a Miami housing project called “The Graveyard.” He credits his love of photography to his father, who worked as a newspaper reporter in Jamaica and the States. After graduating with a B.S. in journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, duCille later earned a graduate degree in journalism from Ohio University in Athens, OH.

Clearly the urge to shoot has stayed with duCille even as he worked as an editor. In recent years he picked up a camera to cover the “Marsh Arabs” returning to their homes in southeastern Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein; the refugee crisis created by 14 years of civil war in Liberia; and an essay called “The Other War,” documenting the cruel and disfiguring aftermath of war suffered by the citizens of Sierra Leone as a result of their own civil battle, a conflict mostly unseen by the world because global attention was focused on the bloodshed in Kosovo.

"I feel incredibly blessed to have gone from one of the best magazine jobs in the country to one of the best newspaper jobs in the world," Jenkins told News Photographer magazine. "The Post is one of the few remaining families in an otherwise corporate journalism world. That helps make the work that we do here special, and makes it a pretty great place to work."

"I look forward to the challenge of following in the amazing path of Michel, as well as to helping the photography staff - many of whom I had the pleasure of working with at The Washington Post Magazine - chart a course for photojournalism into the 21st century."

Jenkins became a staff photographer at The Washington Post in 1992 after working as a freelance magazine photographer for publications such as U.S.News & World Report, Washingtonian, Entertainment Weekly, and The Washington Post Magazine. In 1996 he became the first director of photography for Washingtonpost.com, and from 1997 to 1999 he was the first director of photography for American Online. He returned to the Post in 1999 to become photography editor of the Sunday Magazine.

Jenkins was also a staff photographer at The Boston Globe and has a law degree from Boston University. NPPA, the Society of Newspaper Design, and the Society of Professional Journalists have recognized his work as a photographer and photo editor. He’s been a workshop teacher at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and a portfolio of his photographs is in a permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.