Jim Hubbard is an acclaimed documentary photographer who, in 2007, was the first photographer to be the recipient of the prestigious Lewis Hine Distinguished Service Award given by the National Child Labor Committee. He also won the Leica Award for Excellence in 1988 for series on Homeless in America. Named a Fellow in 2007 at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a co-founder of the USC Institute for Photographic Empowerment (IPE) he joined USC’s Adjunct Faculty in 2008 and offers a ongoing popular class titled Visual Communication and Social Change. Jim has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize for his homelessness series 1987, Rapid City 1972, SD flash flood and Wounded Knee coverage 1973, and has won over 100 awards from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) and United Press International (UPI). His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, featured in print and television media, and published in his book American Refugees, Forward by Jonathan Kozol, University of Minnesota Press (1991).
Jim began his career as a photojournalist in Detroit during the tumultuous 1967 Detroit riots one of the first major international stories he covered. Jim’s photographs have been published in most of the world’s major print publications and he has covered many of the world’s major stories including the 1972 Munich Olympics and massacre, the 1979 Cambodian genocide by the Pol Pot regime, the death of 10,000 people in 1971 during a cyclone near Calcutta, India, and the Wounded Knee siege in 1973. Jim also served with the White House Press Corps during his 16 year staff position with United Press International (UPI) and has photographed five U.S. presidents and numerous presidential campaigns including traveling with Bobby Kennedy shortly before his death in 1968.
After 25 years as a professional photojournalist, Hubbard founded Shooting Back in Washington, D.C. to empower disenfranchised youth with the ability to describe their world: with the camera they “shot back” as the experts of their lives rather than the subjects of a professional’s work. The inspiration for Shooting Back came while Jim was studying for a three year Master of Divinity (M Div) degree at Wesley Theological Seminary (WTS) in Washington, D.C.
There were two purposes embodied in the original Shooting Back model, to teach and entrust underserved populations to photographically represent themselves and their communities through exhibits, media, books, etc., and to offer opportunities to the underserved not usually afforded. The purposes coalesced during Jim’s seminary studies and synthesized with three decades of practicing photojournalism and documentary photography. The visual image communicates to the global community like no other modern day medium. The methodology to adhere’s to the admonition in Matthew 25:40 “And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it onto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto it me.”
The pioneering nature of Jim’s methodology, often referred to as participatory photography (PP), has been cited in a wide range of literature and academic journals on photography, visual sociology and contemporary art. Hubbard also authored four books including Shooting Back, Forward by Dr. Robert Coles, Chronicle Books (1991) and Shooting Back from the Reservation, Forward Dennis Banks, The New Press (1994). Shooting Back’s photographs have been among the most widely viewed and publicized images in modern photographic history. Jim has lectured at over 100 colleges and universities.
Hubbard continues to lead photographic projects around the world and is a consultant to Venice Arts, individuals, corporations and non profit organizations who want to create and sustain participatory photo projects that empower nonprofessional photographers, mostly youth, to depict through images their communities to highlight for the broader global community, both their triumphs and challenges and often despair. Since 2001 Jim has served as lead photographer/consultant on six international PP projects for Venice Arts in Asia and Africa. In Africa PP participants for one project were HIV AIDS orphans and another HIV AIDS infected mothers. In 2010 Hubbard launched a project named Shooting Back From Palestine with thirty Palestinian youth in Ramallah and sponsored by a corporate foundation, Paltel Group Foundation (PGF) in Palestine that culminated in a traveling photo exhibit. In 2012 Hubbard lead a Venice Arts photo team to work with South Los Angeles youth to document their community.
Jim holds both Master of Arts and Master of Divinity (MDiv) degrees. He is the father of four daughters and resides in Los Angeles, CA with Lynn Warshafsky. Jim is a member of Pacific Crossroads Church (PCC) in Santa Monica, CA.