Allison Joyce

Allison Joyce

Based
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Born
Cambridge, United States
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 5D Mark II
“You never know when a simple assignment will turn into a much larger story down the road.”

Beat

I cover a bit of everything: social issues, politics, women's issues, general assignments and breaking news.

One Shot

. NEW YORK, United States. REUTERS/Allison Joyce
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his then-wife Anne Sinclair walk to catch a cab in New York City.
“I covered the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case from start to finish, and I took this shot one night when I was staked outside his apartment. Suddenly Strauss-Kahn and his then-wife Anne Sinclair came out so dressed down I didn't recognise them at first. Instead of calling their usual town car to meet them at the door, they strolled for about 5 blocks, talking and laughing at the photographers who were stumbling over one another to take their photo. After months of covering him nonstop, it was refreshing to see them relax, happy and unhurried.”

Profile

My earliest memory of photography was the Oklahoma City bombing. I was 7 years old and I remember looking through one of my parents’ TIME magazines and being very shocked by the graphic images. It was the first time I remember feeling moved by photographs.

Growing up I always carried a disposable camera with me and I loved taking photos, but it wasn't until I was going into my sophomore year at Pratt Institute that I decided I wanted to be a photojournalist.

I spent a year in the Pratt Institute’s photography programme, and in the summer going into my junior year I moved to Iowa with four professional photographers and spent six months there covering the campaign trail with them. That's where I learnt how to be a professional photographer, watching them work, edit and interact with editors and subjects. The experience taught me more than 10 years in school could have.

My first assignment was covering a campaign event for Hillary Clinton. Living in Iowa so early on in the campaign we got to know the staff pretty well, and when one of them mentioned that they needed a photographer, I jumped at the opportunity. The job went horribly. It was in a tiny, cramped, dimly lit hotel conference room in Iowa, and I was inexperienced and unprepared. Thankfully, the person who hired me gave me another chance and I went on to successfully cover about a dozen more events for them.

In 2011 I was in Faridpur, Bangladesh and worked on a story about sex workers. Every day I went to the brothel and photographed the girls, some of whom couldn’t have been older than 15. I remember hanging out in a bedroom one day with a few of the girls. We were listening to music, looking through their colourful jewellery, and doing each other’s hair and makeup. I suddenly thought back to a night out a few weeks before in New York, hanging out with my girlfriends. It hit me that some of these girls really weren’t much younger than my friends and I were, and already they were in such different and terrible circumstances. I think about those girls every day.

I really enjoy working on long-term stories. PR people tightly control a lot of the assignments I shoot in New York, and I often find myself elbowing for space with a ton of other photographers. It’s really a treat for me to be able to take my time, get to know my subjects and wait for those quiet moments that can make for great pictures.

Always be prepared for any situation and treat every assignment with equal importance. You never know when a simple assignment will turn into a much larger story down the road.

I respect many photographers but my favourite is constantly changing. Right now, I’m really enjoying the work of Katharina Hesse. Her work on North Korean refugees in China is very well done, and it’s a horribly underreported story.

Behind the Scenes

. Faridpur, Bangaldesh. Gaby Barnuevo
Reuters photographer Allison Joyce covers life in a brothel in Faridpur, Bangaldesh.
. Bangladesh. Gaby Barnuevo
Joyce rides on the back of a motorbike while covering a story on climate change in the Sundarbans, Bangaldesh.