Carol Guzy graduated from Northampton Community College (NCC) in 1977, and she’s been a force to be reckoned with ever since. She has made a living out of capturing compelling and powerful images as a photojournalist, a career which won her international acclaim and four Pulitzers. Now, after a hiatus due to the pandemic, she is being honored as a 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) 2022 Eyes of History Gala. 

When Guzy first enrolled at NCC, she chose to study nursing. The role of caregiver was a good fit for her, and she felt this had the most job security. Upon graduating, she went in a different direction. She signed up for a photography class at NCC after receiving a camera as a gift, and the first time she saw a print developed in the darkroom, she said it was “magical.” “I have no idea what the picture was, but to this day, I remember the feeling. It was a defining moment.” 

Guzy went on to study at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. At that time, the Art Institute only had a small photojournalism department. “It was geared more to commercial photography,” Guzy explains. “When my photojournalism teacher saw that I was more interested in his course than many of the other students, he took me under his wing and brought me with him on assignments for the Fort Lauderdale News.” 

Two internships landed Carol her own job at the Miami Herald. Only six years later, she won her first Pulitzer Prize with her colleague Michel du Cille for photos that documented the horror of a mudslide that killed more than 20,000 people in Armero, Colombia. In 1986, she moved to The Washington Post where she won three more Pulitzers for images that highlighted the revolt against military rule in Haiti in 1994, refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999, and the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. Guzy has won more than her fair share of awards for her work, including ArtsQuest Foundation’s Pinnacle of the Arts Award, National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalist award three times and more. 

After Hurricane Katrina, Guzy took a leave of absence from The Post to document the plight of animals left homeless in the storm. One of her greatest satisfactions as a photojournalist is that her pictures from this helped bring about a change in federal and state laws so that people no longer must leave their pets behind in natural disasters. 

Hurricane Katrina Aftermath

Although she’s photographed many subjects, from high school graduations to disasters, she connects most with stories of suffering. Guzy has said she tries to empathize with the subjects in her photographs to imagine their plight. “I feel like the root of many of our problems is indifference,” Guzy says. Good journalism is “the link between you and someone else’s reality.” 

Guzy’s visual legacy has changed how we view our world, and NCC congratulates her on this prestigious award!