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photography can light up darkness


As a photojournalist, I admire many photographic masters who span the history of my profession. From Timothy O' Sullivan's stark photographs of the killing field at Gettysburg to Ted Jackson's portrait of an old black man sleeping under an American flag in New Orleans, I try to pay homage to these many photographic heroes each time I pick up the camera.

The landscapes of Ansel Adams amaze me to this day. Larry Burrows' photographic story in Yankee Papa 13 tells a haunting tale of loss between soldiers in Vietnam. His story and message are still effective today. David Hume Kennerly has been one of my favorite photographers. His photos span a lifetime of events and photographic themes. From his sports, to his portraitures, to the political humor and intrigue as well as the unsettling feel of his war photography, Kennerly has always spoken to me as a photographer.

Isbell credits his growth as a photojournalist to his photojournalism professors at Southern Miss, Ed Wheeler and John Frair, as well as the photojournalists he has met over the years. As a lifelong history buff, Isbell appreciates the photographers who have come before him. Learning from "the masters" has paid off as Isbell has won more than 100 local, state and national awards for his work as a journalist. Of those honors, several stand out as particular testements to his skill. In 1989, Isbell won the C.P. Liter Award for Best of Show at the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Contest; in 1990, he won the Mississippi Press Association Photo of the Year, and in 1993, he was given the E. P. Wilkes Award for Best Journalist at the Sun Herald.

My portfolio doesn't span the globe. In fact, the vast majority of my portfolio was taken in my home state of Mississippi. I have taken pictures for some publication since I first picked up a 35mm camera in 1977, my sophomore year in high school. Since then, I have documented the visual history of my hometown, state and country. In doing so, I have hopefully left something behind that helps explain the time we spent on this planet.

[view photo gallery of photojournalism portfolio]




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Timothy Henry O'Sullivan was an Irish immigrant who took some of the most striking images of the American Civil War and the American West.

Lewis Hine

Lewis Wickes Hine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1874. Hine established documentary photography. He also used his camera to capture the poverty he witnessed in New York, including a photographic study of Ellis Island immigrants.

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Larry Burrows captured the haunting tale of loss between soldiers in Vietnam with his story "Yankee Papa 13."

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams was a phenomenal artist who painted his canvas using large format film. His "zone system" is something I continue to reference today.

Ted Jackson

I have always admired Ted Jackson from our days as students together at Southern Miss. More than the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes for his work, he is a remarkable human being.