Carol Guzy Visual Review

Carol Guzy is a well-accomplished American photojournalist for the Washington Post. She is the only journalist, and one of only four people to ever win the Pulitzer Prize four times. She fell in love with photography when her friend gave her a camera in college when she was working toward a nursing degree. She stated that her nursing degree helped her gain an understanding and sensitivity to human suffering.

Guzy often photographs people, animals, and things during times of suffering. She has photographed Kosovo refugees, animals left behind after Hurricane Katrina, the mudslide in Armero, Colombia in 1985, the political crisis in Haiti and its aftermath in 1994, and Mother Teresa’s funeral.

I will be focusing on the series of photos Guzy captured revolving the animals left behind after Hurricane Katrina. In her series, she begins with pictures of sadness and then evolves into pictures of hope at the end. She accomplishes this through color scheme by capturing duller and even darker tones in the beginning, and then capturing more colors and more whites at the end. She is telling a story of these animals being left behind and damaged, and then cared for and given a new home. Guzy uses different depths of field to highlight the different factors of the animals suffering and redemption. She uses close ups and reflections to emphasize the animal. Guzy also uses lines, and symmetry to frame the animals and focus on their needs and their development in the piece.

Guzy uses extreme close-ups to highlight an aspect of the animal. For example, in this photo, the close up shows the details of the tar on the dog’s paw. The color scheme in this photo is very dull and dark creating a sense of sadness. It also uses a shallow depth of field, placing the paw in focus, and the background out of focus to help to viewer zero in on the paw.

Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, 2005

The shallow depth of field and close up are also used in another one of her photos capturing a kitten’s paw to focus on the paw reaching out almost as if it is reaching for love and hope. This photo is toward the end of the series and is capturing the hope by using a brighter and whiter color palette. Also, the cage or gate split the photo in half creating symmetry on either side. This photo also uses the reflection of the glass on the left to re-direct the focus to the animal, by having the animal look into the photo, and toward the paw.

WARL resident, 2006

The reflection concept is used again in a picture of a dog running away with the “Beware the Dog” sign reflecting in the car window to direct the viewer to the dog in the photo. A deep depth of field and narrow aperture is used here to show the entire environment affecting the dog. The lines of of the street also frame the dog.

Hurricane Katrina rescue effort, 2005
The posts in the background of this photo frame the dog to make him the center of attention. A short or wide lens is used to distort the image making the dog, which is closer to the camera, look bigger than the cross in the background. This lens, as well as the use of a low angle, create a heroic tone for the dog, much like it is emerging from a battle. The rule of thirds is also used to frame the dog.

Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, 2005

The final photo uses the symmetry of the glass cage, the lines of the metal in the cage, and the children arms to point to the dog, and place the focus on the people helping the dogs. Also, this final photo has many colors to create hope and happiness at the end of the series.

Overall, I love Carol Guzy’s work. Guzy captures rather bleak subjects in a powerful, and sometimes even hopeful way. She does a very good good at capturing a personal story, whether it be a dog, or a person like Mother Teresa, while also telling the story of the environment and circumstances surrounding that story.

Bonus photo of me hugging Carol Guzy at a Journalism Conference two summers ago:

“Carol Guzy.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.

“Carol Guzy.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.


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