Essdras M Suarez – Pulitzer Prize Winner
Suarez is not a specialist – but a generalist, who happens to be able to shoot a vast array of different photographic genres extremely well including Spot News, Travel, Street Photography, Fashion, Portraits, Food, Product, Nature, Landscape, etc.
However, it is Travel and Street Photography that hold a special place in his heart, especially because of his uncanny ability to connect with people, which also happens to be his favorite subject to photograph.
He focuses on documenting “normalcy” and making the normal look extraordinary. “Therein lies the challenge! he says.
Suarez, a two-time Pulitzer Prizewinner, worked as a newspaper photojournalist for over 20 year.
In a recent interview said, “As a newspaper photographer, you are expected to wear many hats. In addition to being a photojournalist, you are expected to be a travel photographer, documentary photographer, food and product photographer, and a portrait photographer.”
He added, “I’m not a specialist – I’m a generalist. I can shoot anything and everything… But my favorite subject is people, so Street, Travel, and Portrait photography hold a dear place in my heart… documenting ‘normalcy’ and making the normal look extraordinary that’s where the challenges lie within.”
Further explaining, as a photojournalist, “You simply were expected to be able to do it all, unlike working in an area where you can afford to become a specialist. So, in essence, you have to become a “specialist” in many genres of photography.”
Founder of EMS Photo Adventures LLC
Suarez dedicates his time to now sharing all of his knowledge and experience as a speaker, educator and leader:
- As the founder of EMS Photo Adventures LLC, he has lead photographers on adventures and in workshops where his focus is hands-on training while helping photographers take their skills to the next level with dedicated, on-location guidance and instruction.
- During the COVID Pandemic, Essdras emphasized his role as an educator by adding virtual, custom, educational webinars and conducting portfolio, photo and photo collection reviews and curation to his repertoire.
- He also offers short- and long-term mentorship programs
Essdras has been a guest speaker and has taught workshops nationally and internationally
- In 2020 he was named an official social media influencer for Nikon Latin America for the mirrorless Z7 digital camera.
- In 2018 and 2019, Suarez had exhibits at the Xposure International Photo Festival in the UAE, with special permission, taught Street Photography workshops.
- As a USDOS Expert Speaker in Photojournalism specializing in Latin America, he routinely presents to Panamanian photographers.
- During his time in Boston, MA, he was an adjunct professor at the Boston University College of Communications and gave talks and presentations at other institutions of higher learning such as MIT, Harvard, Northeastern University, and the University of Florida.
- He is routinely asked to speak at meetings and conferences such as
- YPO/WPO – premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world.
- TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) – the largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands, and industry professionals.
- ETC (Educational Travel Conference) – the world’s only conference dedicated to addressing the needs of those involved in educational and specialty travel.
- NECCC: He has been a guest speaker a couple of times to the NECCC (New England Camera Council) Annual Photography Conferences, in Amherst MA.
- He has taught workshops and lead photo programs locally and internationally for the past decade: Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ireland, Israel, Peru, Croatia, Sharjah/ UAE, Tanzania and Kenya.
Throughout his career, Suarez worked in over 60 countries while covering a myriad of assignments. He continues to be a full-time, freelance photographer focusing on documentary-style event coverage, editorial assignments as well as corporate story-telling photo essays.
- Among his many news coverage assignments throughout his career are the Columbine High School shooting, the war in Iraq, and the Columbia Shuttle disaster, the bloody ousting of Pres. Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and the Indonesia Tsunami. The evacuation of the Israel Gaza Strip settlements, the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the Boston Marathon Bombing to name a few.
- Among his more unique assignments was a trip to Romania in 2009 to document first shipment of radioactive material being shipped from this former USSR satellite country back to Russia. The program was a joint venture between the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Russian Federation, the Romanian Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
After moving to the Alexandria, VA he continued to be a freelance for the Washington Post and for ZUMA Press Agency. In 2017 he was the only photographer to get images of congressman (R) Steve Scalise after he was shot during a baseball practice in Alexandria. He more recently covered the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and that of Civil Rights leader John Lewis passing among other national news.
Suarez has also earned awards with his Travel, Portrait, Business, and even Product Photography. His images have been published in National Geographic, Time Magazine, New York Times and Washington Post, and many other national and international publications.
Most recently, Suarez:
- Was featured in March of April 2019 as the cover story in Street Photography Magazine.
- In 2019 he was a judge for the biggest Travel Photography contest in the world: Travel Photographer of the Year contest.
- Had two articles published in the Photographic Society of America Journal (PSA Journal), the biggest association of photographers in the US: “Where to crop and not to crop the human form” and “Street Photography, timeless classics.”
- 2020 NikonZ 7 Latin America Influencer
- 2019: He was featured in March as the cover story in Street Photography Magazine.
- In 2018 and 2019 he taught Street Photography workshops at Xposure International Photo Festival.
- He has had articles published in the Photographic Society of America Journal, the biggest association of photographers in the US: “Where to crop and not to crop the human form” and “Street Photography, timeless classics.”
- In 2018 he had two exhibits featured at Xposure International Photography Festival: An Eye on Cuba, and A life in Images.
- 2014: Spot News Pulitzer (Boston Marathon Bombing), Boston Globe Editorial Staff
- 2008, 2007, 2005: Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation
- 2008, 2007: 1st Place features category from the Association of Newspaper & Editors
- 2008, 2000: Headliner Awards for International Photojournalism and Feature
- 2008: Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism award
- 2002-2012: Varied awards from the Boston Press Photographer’s Association
- 2000: Spot News Pulitzer (Columbine Shooting), Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff
- 2000: Robert F. Kennedy International Photojournalism Award
- 1996-2001: Varied awards from the Colorado Press Association
- I was born and raised in Panama, raised by my grandparents and Uncles. I would sit for hours in one of my uncle’s drugstore pouring over magazines. My favorite was National Geography. I learned from an early age there was a big world out there and that I wanted to see it. This planted the seeds for my wanderlust and my career
- I started studying Journalism at the University of Florida, specializing in magazine writing with minor in Zoology. But words were not my expression – I needed to find another way. A chance meeting with the then- Photo Director of the Nat Geo at my school ignited my passion for photography. I switched my major and ended up getting an internship with Nat Geo out of that meeting. During this internship, I spent time in the jungles of Panama, Costa Rica and Columbia – I was truly home. I was hooked.
My Professional Path
- I interned for Fort Lauderdale and Rocky Mountain News. RMN hired me after 18 months and it was with it I won my first Pulitzer covering Columbine.
- I went on to win several other national awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Intl. Photojournalism Award for “Osveli’s Journey” – a 14-year-old Guatemalan boy who died after being smuggled into the US and his journey back home to be buried
- My next professional station was with the Boston Globe. I was there for 12 years.
- I covered the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003, the Indonesian Tsunami aftermath in 2007, a project called “Crossing Divides” – a look at life in 8 different countries – winning numerous awards for my work
- I got my second Pulitzer prize as part of the team that covered the Boston Marathon Bombing
- Street photography and travel photography – documenting “normalcy” making the normal look extraordinary.
- I have a life-long passion for fitness and have about 20 years of martial arts training and 20 years practicing yoga.
- I have a black belt in Ninpo Taijutsu.
- I created my own style of yoga – visYoga – in 2008 and taught it for 6 years in Boston. I now teach it in Alexandria, VA. as well as teaching online classes through Wellness Blueprint .
- I also own a couple of US Patents on a man’s and woman’s yoga pants with knee pad inserts.
- I’ve been married for 26 years to my first love, Sara. No kids.. for I am the kid