Depth of Field: Ami Vitale

Depth of Field: Ami Vitale

AmiVThis past September we where fortunate to have Ami Vitale as a guest instructor on our Ladakh Lumen Dei photo workshop. It was a great experience and I deepened a friendship. Hear me when I say, Ami Vitale is the real deal. She is a true, in the trench, get dirty photojournalist; And she’s one of the best out there. She’s tough, street smart and incredibly talented. But she’s also sensitive and very caring about the people she’s around. I don’t mean other photographers, though she is that as well. I mean, to the people she’s in and among photographing. I learned a lot from her over those two weeks. Ami taught me to slow down, and not just photograph the moment but to enjoy and savor.

Our paths first crossed many years at a Any Thing Mac, a local Mac repair shop in New Delhi.  Ami was covering Kashmir and I was living there and we both had Mac issues. I had no idea who she was. I thought to myself, this little lady is going to get her self blown up if she’s not careful. I think she was thinking something similar about me. This last September was the first time we actually got to shoot together. I certainly hope we get to do it again.

Ami’s work has appeared in all the top magazines; National Geographic, Newsweek, Time and more. She was named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association, and Photo District News recognized her as one of 30 image makers of the future.

Visit her website and gallery HERE.

I hope you enjoy this interview with photographer Ami Vitale.

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  1. Gabriel M. Ortega

    Hi Matt! Nice interview with Ami… and a good lengthy one, too! Always welcome and in stark contrast to 5 minute podcasts that are so heavily edited, they end up being soundbites for the “modern” world.

    One thing though.. I clicked on the Subscribe via iTunes button within the podcast player and it said the podcast wasn't available. Subsequently, I couldn't even find the podcast on iTunes podcast directory. I'd love to subscribe.

  2. Mitchell Kanashkevich

    Hey Matt! Ami Vitale is one of my photographic heroes. 🙂 You did a great job with the interview, man. Every podcast is better than the previous one.

  3. Matt Brandon

    Thanks Mitch. How is life on the road? You know, I hate visiting your blog! I feel like hanging up my cameras every time I look at those incredible images you post. We should talk about doing a workshop together. That way maybe some of your voodoo talent will rub off on me while we hang out.

  4. Matt Brandon

    Gabriel, I've been told iTunes should have the podcast back up if not today been very soon.

  5. mariomattei

    I'm also waiting for this to show up in my iTunes podcast subscription. David's interview isn't showing up either ;(

    Thanks for doing these, Matt!

  6. juliendorol

    I discovered Ami through David's post about Lumein Dei. Truly an amazing photojournalist. And I just feel like sitting with here in some tea shop in asia and talk about her travel and assignements.

    Thanks Matt for this Interview.


  7. Mitchell Kanashkevich

    Lol! Come on, gettouta here Matt! 🙂 Regardless, I enjoy visiting your blog for your inspiration. Life on the road's good, but check my blog for more 🙂

  8. Nicole G

    Matt, this is really fantastic! Really, both of you. Makes me feel like I'm sitting at the table with you guys, having these conversations all over again!

  9. roncarroll

    Nice piece, Matt. Lots of good insights from both of you, and thanks for giving us a little more in depth perspective on Ami and her work.

    Hope you and your family are all doing well…

  10. Justin Ide

    Nice interview with an amazing photographer. Thanks for the insight.

  11. Sonny Thakur

    Thanks for the interview Matt 🙂
    Ami plays an important role for many travel photographers. She's great inspiration for the whole bunch. I myself am a big fan of hers and am getting the wheels turning because of her and some other photographers. I'm an Indian based in the Philippines and will be tracing my roots this January 2010 and looking at her blog (your blog as well, Mitchell's and David D.'s) really is getting me very excited for experiences I should have been exposed to at a much younger age.

    Thanks again! Cheers from toasty Manila!
    Sonny T.

  12. Matt Brandon

    Sonny, thank you for listening. Yes, Ami is an inspiration to us all. Be sure and listen to the next few interviews. One of them is a conversation with Ami, David D and me. Should be fun.

  13. Hassan Arshad

    She is amazing! I watched Ami's video with the D300 and WOW… Thank you for sharing you experience!

  14. Sumod

    What was that background noise, liked it actually and awesome one again. Really loved the podcast.

    Liked Ami's vision of getting photographers from the cultures to document it. It really makes sense. For a long time, I had this list of things I wanted to documentaires be made about (like the “behind the bright Red of Theyyam”) and wanted to tell (some probably Nat Geo) guys about it. But I guess, now I kind of realize that I was not understanding some basic fact. The fact that, all that I wanted to document was what was in my mind, I would have to do it or someone who grew up like me, hearing the lores, and who know the symbolism involved.Thanks a lot, chere amie.



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