All across the world, humanity is on the move – terrorism, civil wars, breakdowns in society, disenfranchisement of the working classes. For some photojournalists, this is a ripe opportunity to see these events for the first time. For others, like Don Bartletti, this year is just like the preceding 30+ as he chronicles the movement, desperate, dangerous, and always emotional, of some of the world’s mostly forgotten. Yes, today this is news because of the incumbent US president’s biases and draconian measures, but what Don has seen, witnesses, captured, is endemic of all these regions of the world. See these images and you are transported to Syria, Libya, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Burkina Faso… the list is sadly longer and more terrible than most people know.
And fear of that reality stops journalists being paid to cover these displaced persons (as they were called at the end of WWII), stops people wanting to see the real horrors on their Internet news feeds or TV. Advertisers won’t pay to support networks that depress people and thereby depress sales. That is why Don’s images are all the more important. Don’s images are compelling, beautiful, informative and, above all, penetrating without being ugly. Disturbing? Of course, but in the tragedy depicted are moments of what it means to be human, endure as a human, persevere at all costs. That resolve is the commonality of all migrants.
Peter Riva, Gila, NM 3/5/19
Southern California based Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Don Bartletti has for the past 40 years documented what is now one of America’s most politically charged topics. His photographs and captions reveal the moral, ethical and aesthetic challenges he encountered while photographing people immersed in life-changing circumstances on the Roads Most Traveled. As a lecturer, his compelling descriptions of carefully researched long-range photo essays and split-second breaking news inform citizens and motivate students who aspire to journalism’s highest purpose.
Don Bartletti retired in late 2015 after a 32-year career at the Los Angeles Times and a combined 10 years prior to that at other San Diego County newspapers. News and feature assignments have taken him across the U.S., throughout Latin America and to wars and investigative stories in 32 countries around the world. He was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his 6-part photo essay, Enrique’s Journey, published in the Los Angeles Times. Other accolades include the Robert F. Kennedy Grand Prize, The Polk Award, Overseas Press Club, POYi, UNICEF, and dozens more.
His photo essays about the causes and consequences of migration across the United States southern border have been exhibited at dozens of museums and public venues and are widely used by scholars, authors and researchers. This portfolio will be exhibited at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, starting October 4, 2019 in Silver City, New Mexico, U.S. A.
Mr. Bartletti has made his home in North San Diego County for 58 years, is married and has 4 grandsons.