ExplorersBio

David Guttenfelder

Photojournalist

Photography Fellow

Picture of birds trapped on sticks

Photograph by David Guttenfelder

Picture of David Guttenfelder

Photograph by Greg Baker

David Guttenfelder is a photojournalist focusing on global geopolitics and conservation. Until recently, he spent his entire professional career working and living outside of his native United States. He began as a freelancer in East Africa after studying Swahili at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Guttenfelder spent 20 years as a photojournalist for the Associated Press, during which he was based in Nairobi, Abidjan, New Delhi, Jerusalem, and Tokyo, covering news in more than 75 countries around the world. In 2011, he helped the AP open a bureau in North Korea, the first Western news agency to have an office in the otherwise isolated country. Guttenfelder has made more than 40 trips to North Korea.

In 2011 his story "Afganistan's Opium Wars" was published in National Geographic magazine. Five more have followed on topics spanning Japan's Fukushima nuclear refugees, the slaughter of migratory songbirds, the damming of the Mekong River, hidden North Korea, and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Guttenfelder is a seven-time World Press Photo Award winner. He is the 2013 ICP Infinity Prize winner for photojournalism and a winner of the Overseas Press Club of America John Faber, Olivier Rebbot, and Feature Photography awards. Pictures of the Year International and the NPPA have named him Photojournalist of the Year. He was short-listed for the National Magazine Award for public interest in 2014. He is a seven-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

His photography has been exhibited around the world, including at Visa Pour L'Image in Perpignan, France; the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles; and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Selections from his decadelong coverage of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan was part of "War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath" at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Guttenfelder has been an industry leader in smartphone photography and social media. He was named 2014 Instagram photographer of the year by TIME magazine and received the Shorty Award for online photography and the 2013 Online Journalism Award. He was part of the panel lecture "Instagramming the News" at the 2014 SXSW digital conference and is the founder of the Instagram collectives @everydayUSA and @everydayDPRK.

Born in the U.S. state of Iowa, he graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in cultural anthropology, African studies, and journalism.

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In Their Words

The price of admission to this amazing, amazing life is that you've got to go all the way then come back and explain to the world what you saw.

—David Guttenfelder

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