Martha Rial was a judge in the 2021 v03 Photography Competition Contest
WPJA Judge since 2005 -
Martha Rial first fell in love with the power and grace of photography as a teenager studying images in Life and Look magazines. Her desire to tell compelling stories has taken her from the mountains of Haiti, to African villages, to the streets of her hometown of Pittsburgh. Her photographs have received international acclaim, including a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for work documenting the lives of Burundian and Rwandan survivors of the 1994 genocide. She specializes in documentary, editorial and portrait photography. Working mostly on location, she explores communities and photographs people where they live, work and play.
As a skilled multimedia storyteller, she also creates audio slideshows for editorial projects, nonprofit organizations and corporate clients. Recently, she contributed to The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, a traveling exhibition of photographs chronicling the impact of shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. She was also selected as one of the photographers for the Downtown Now Photography Project, a special initiative of The Heinz Endowments. Her work has been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Mattress Factory, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Galleries and the Hewlett Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, and can be found in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, BNY Mellon and the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Previously, she worked as a staff photographer for the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Rial's work has earned the Scripps Howard Foundation Award for Photojournalism, a National Headliner Award and the Distinguished Visual Award from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors. She was also named Pennsylvania News Photographer of the Year. She has worked as an adjunct associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and taught at the Western Kentucky University’s Mountain Workshop and the Sundance Photographic Workshops. She is also a master class instructor at the Chautauqua Institution. A graduate of Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, in the spring of 2017 Martha Rial received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Point Park University.