Alan Kotok | email@example.com |
April 22, 2022
Photojournalism often tells a story in a compelling way that other media cannot. National Press Club member Ben Sarao, who created, collected, and published a set of images visually documenting birth defects from the toxic chemical dioxin, will share and discuss those photos at a Photography Team meeting on Thursday, May 19 at 10 a.m. in the Cosgrove Lounge. The event is open to all Club members.
Sarao is executive director of Primary Image, a documentary photography studio in Mesa, Arizona, and recently published Shared Tragedy, the collection of photos that documented the devastating effects of the carcinogenic and birth-defect causing chemical. Some of the genetic effects from dioxins persist across generations.
Sarao first captured photos in 1972 of children born with birth defects to parents exposed to dioxins in rural Illinois, where the chemicals were used in farm pesticides. In 2019, Sarao traveled to Vietnam to make a similar collection of photos, this time of children whose grandparents were exposed to dioxin-based defoliants known as Agent Orange used by the U.S. military. The Shared Tragedy collection is now available in electronic form, with text in English, French, and Vietnamese. A printed book is in production. Many of the images are graphic and disturbing.
Joining the program to discuss environmental and regulatory aspects of dioxins is Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will provide insights on issues raised by Sarao's photos. Blum is the author of two books on toxic chemicals in the environment, "The Poison Squad" and "The Poisoner's Handbook," and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting while at the Sacramento Bee.
The program is open to National Press Club members and guests, and will be held in-person in the Cosgrove Lounge. The event is also offered remotely via live audio, with copies of the speakers' presentation slides available for all participants. Remote participants will receive in advance telephone numbers, a link to download slides, and an email address to send in questions. The event is free, but advance registration is required for all participants.
Questions? Contact Photo Team co-chair Alan Kotok at firstname.lastname@example.org