, born Ellis Reed, is a photojournalist and photographer from the United States. Reed was Magnum Photos
agency's first full-time black photographer and the author of several publications, including Black In America
. Several pictures from that project have won awards in juried exhibits and exhibitions.
was a Nieman Fellow
at Harvard University from 1982 to 1983 and is now a clinical professor of photojournalism at The University of Texas at Austin. In 1982, he was a runner-up for the Pulitzer
Prize in Feature Photography. Reed has received the World Press Award and the Overseas Press Club Award, as well as being a Sony Global Imaging Ambassador. He received a Lucie Foundation Award for Documentary Photography in 2011. Reed's photography was featured at the prestigious Visa pour l'image Festival Du Photoreportage in Perpignan, France, in 2015.
Reed was asked to talk at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in October 2015 as part of their Visually Speaking
series. He was a keynote speaker at National Geographic Magazine′s Photography Seminar in Washington, D.C. in January 2016.
Stop talking theory... and do not over-think the image. Lose the ego and let the photograph find you. Observe the life moving like a river around you and realise that the images you make may become part of the collective history of the time that you are living in.
-- Eli Reed
grew up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. At the age of ten, he took his first snapshot, of his mother near the Christmas tree. Self-taught in photography, he credits his direction to mentor Donald Greenhaus
rather than formal education. He graduated in 1969 from the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, where he studied illustration.
Reed began working as a freelance photographer in 1970. His work from the Lebanon war (which he covered between 1983 and 1987), the 1986 Haiti coup against Baby Doc
Duvalier, and the 1989 US military intervention in Panama attracted the attention of Magnum in 1982. Reed joined the agency as a full member in 1988.
In the same year Reed photographed the effects of poverty on America's children for a film documentary called Poorest in the Land of Plenty
, narrated by Maya Angelou
. He went on to work as a stills and specials photographer for major motion pictures. His video documentary Getting Out
was shown at the New York Film Festival in 1993 and honored by the 1996 Black Film-makers Hall of Fame International Film and Video Competition in the documentary category.
Reed's special reports include a long-term study on Beirut (1983-87), which became his first, highly acclaimed book Beirut, City of Regrets
, the ousting of Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti
(1986), US military action in Panama (1989), the Walled City in Hong Kong
and, perhaps most notably, his documentation of African-American experience over more than twenty years. Spanning the 1970s through the end of the 1990s, his book Black in America includes images from the Crown Heights
riots and the Million Man March
The main thing for me is that I'm happy that I've been able to work as a professional photographer. What is at the core of my work is, in essence, a mediation on being a human being.
-- Eli Reed
Reed began photographing movies and performers in 1992 and is a member of the Society of Motion Picture Still Photographers (SMPSP). Reed mostly shoots with the Olympus E-3, E-30, and EP-1 cameras.
has taught at the Maine Photographic Workshop, the Wilson Hicks Symposium at Miami University in Florida, the Southeastern Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C., San Francisco State University, Harvard University, the Boston Institute of Art, the Academy of Fine Art in San Francisco, the University of Texas at Austin, Columbia University, Empire State College in New York, New York University, and the International Center of Photography.