visual journalist I’m Calla Kessler, a born and raised Nebraskan and photographer based on the East Coast. I have worked throughout the Midwest, South Florida, and Washington D.C. I will join The New York Times in June 2019 for a year-long fellowship, following my two internships and a long-term contract with The Washington Post.
All my work is driven by an urge to connect people, especially those with radically different upbringings, beliefs and values. Images have a unique power to communicate meaning and evoke empathy in people, attaching a face to an otherwise anonymous issue. I try to harness that power however I can.
I want my heart to be apparent in my work. I believe you can’t be a good photojournalist if you don’t try to be a good person first. I’ve learned if you are sincere and clear about your intentions, it can disarm people in the best way. The greatest gift anyone can give you is their vulnerability, and I seek to honor the people whose stories I share by listening and doing them justice via my work. That’s why I always try to remember why I’m doing this in the first place: to help people, bottom line.
When I'm not making photos, I like to read, dance (not well) and walk dogs (very well).