Rebecca Blackwell is an American photographer currently based in Mexico City with the AP. From 2007 to 2014, Blackwell was the AP’s West Africa photographer and photo editor, covering more than 20 countries in West and Central Africa from her base in Dakar, Senegal. While working for the AP, she has covered the effects of the Somali famine and Sahel droughts, shot World Cup soccer and the London Olympics and documented the difficult journey through Mexico faced by migrants trying to reach the US. From late 2010 until mid-2011, she covered Ivory Coast as the country spiraled into conflict, navigating amidst hostile security forces and roadblocks manned by anti-Western militias to document the effects of the crisis on the civilian population. “Rebecca Blackwell’s coverage of the Central African Republic demonstrates a valiant and intrepid courage working under treacherous conditions. She puts herself in harm’s way, covering the chaos intimately as danger unfolds all around her. There is an intensity in the photographs and an obvious deep commitment to portray the suffering and violence with complete honesty. They are hard images to view but her passion for shedding light on the darkest places is evident.” — Award Jury Her work on the Ivory Coast conflict was recognized with awards from the China International Press Photographers Awards, Bayeux-Calvados War Correspondents Awards, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar and the Yonhap International Press Photo Awards. In 2013, she received awards from the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism and the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar for work from Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Her 2014 coverage of the Central African Republic conflict was recognized with a general news first place from the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar. Originally from New York and New Jersey, Blackwell holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. She began her photographic career at a small weekly newspaper in New Jersey, before moving to Senegal in 2004 to pursue work as a freelancer.
- Anja Niedringhaus Courage In Photojournalism Award Honorable Mention, 2015