Documenting History

Photojournalist and Photography alumna Ashlee Rezin Garcia lets her camera do the talking as she documents protests against police brutality and racial injustice for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times
It is not the job of a photojournalist to use their images to editorialize. Their job, according to CCS alumna Ashlee Rezin Garcia (’08, Photography) is to “photograph news events as they happen,” even when those events have historic implications. In fact, especially when they do.

As a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times since 2013, Garcia’s job is to inform. Presidents Obama and Trump; the Chicago Bears, the White Sox, the Cubs, and the Bulls; music groups from Metallica to Three 6 Mafia; multiple Women’s Marches; people at the worst moment in their lives and at their most triumphant — all are among her many subjects, including the frontline workers and other Chicagoans during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times
But her recent images of protests in Chicago after the death of George Floyd — an African American man who was killed by police during a traffic stop —  confirm that information can be powerful.

CCS asked Garcia about the nature of her job as a photojournalist and how she uses what she learned at the College to document her subjects. Here’s what she had to say:

What’s most rewarding about what you do?
“Every day is different. I am considered a general assignment visual journalist, so my days are constantly shifting from political press conferences, to protests, to breaking news, to sports, to weather features, and any other news that may be happening that day.” 

Where else can we find your photography?
“The Sun-Times shares photojournalism with the Associated Press fairly regularly. As a result, my images have been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and more.”

How did attending CCS help you in your career?
“When I was studying at CCS, we spent most of our time shooting with film and working in the dark room. I had to get the exposure right the first time and that experience taught me how to read light in ways that new generations may be missing. Also, because there was a focus on fine art photography in the department, I learned that composition, framing, etc., are equally important to content.”