The Photographic Chain: Five minutes with Tom Kennedy

This post is the latest in Kike Calvo´s series The Photographic Chain, which profiles photographers from around the world he meets during his travels.


My dreams is… to have photojournalism be a strong force for creating a better world, and to have audience demanding more of publications to show that kind of work.


Tom Kennedy at the Newhouse School Syracuse University, discussing an assignment with photography
student Blair Dudik (photo by Maria Salatino)


The biggest lesson in my career… that as Director of Photography, supporting the work of photographers isn’t enough. Understanding how people and authority view photographers, will or will not create the conditions that allow them to succeed. You need to be better managing up, as well as managing down, engaging with the photographers and trying to understand them.


The biggest lesson in my life… is that love conquers all.


The moment I will never forget… Two: The moment my daughter was born and the unfolding first hour of the attacks of 911. Both made me feel the enormity of human experience, very powerful, yet in different ways.


Photography is… a language that allows people to powerfully and spiritually worlds that may never see in first hand.


The Time Machine:

Gainesville SunTeam
The Gainesville Sun Team back in 1980.


So who is … Tom?
More about Tom:


Tom suggests me to talk to:
Maggie Steber, a freelance photojournalist from Miami; Colin Crawford, the managing editor for photography at The Los Angeles Times, and Bob Sacha, an independent photojournalist/multimedia producer.


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Human Journey

Meet the Author
Award-winning photographer, journalist, and author Kike Calvo (pronounced key-keh) specializes in culture and environment. He has been on assignment in more than 90 countries, working on stories ranging from belugas in the Arctic to traditional Hmong costumes in Laos. Kike is pioneering in using small unmanned aerial systems to produce aerial photography as art, and as a tool for research and conservation. He is also known for his iconic photographic project, World of Dances, on the intersection of dance, nature, and architecture. His work has been published in National Geographic, New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others. Kike teaches photography workshops and has been a guest lecturer at leading institutions like the School of Visual Arts and Yale University. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic blog Voices. He has authored nine books, including Drones for Conservation; So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones?; Staten Island: A Visual Journey to the Lighthouse at the End of the World; and Habitats, with forewords by David Doubilet and Jean-Michel Cousteau. Kike’s images have been exhibited around the world, and are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. Kike was born in Spain and is based in New York. When he is not on assignment, he is making gazpacho following his grandmother’s Andalusian recipe. You can travel to Colombia with Kike: