Three photojournalists, whose work has included earthquake coverage, documenting life in the Ozarks and train wrecks, were inducted into the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Bob Linder, Geri Migielicz and the late Jim Miller Jr. joined the ranks of 36 other notable photographers who have made an impact on Missouri.
Bill Miller Sr., editor/publisher of The Washington Missourian and one of the founders of the Hall of Fame, said the three new inductees are “outstanding photojournalists.”
Migielicz said photojournalism was born in Missouri and that the profession is now more important than ever in the digital age.
“Now it matters more than at any point since the invention of the camera,” she said.
The three inducted photojournalists demonstrated a passion for the profession, whether it was Miller working seven days a week for The Washington Missourian, covering everything from Vacation Bible School to car wrecks; Linder documenting impoverished areas of the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri; or Migielicz being a part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team for California earthquake coverage.
Linder, a native of Springfield, said his passion has always been photographing the people and places of the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.
“This is a little overwhelming for me,” Linder told the crowd of about 100 after he was inducted.
When he learned over the summer that he would be added to the Hall of Fame he was “taken aback.”
“There are several people whose names appear on plaques on these walls who have had a real impact on my life as a photographer, as a journalist and as a person,” said Linder, a former photographer for the Springfield Daily News, Leader-Press and News-Leader for 37 years. “The camera has been good to me.”
His career in photojournalism allowed him to connect with his community “in a way that I would not have done on my own. This is a tremendous honor, and I’m really humbled to be here.”
Migielicz was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake. She led the photo department at the San Jose Mercury News for 23 years.
She also edited the coverage of California’s 2004 recall election,which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography.
Migielicz’s career included working for the Emporia (Kan.) Gazette, St. Joseph News-Press and Gazette, The Seattle Times, The Rocky Mountain News and the San Jose Mercury News.
She was also the executive producer of “Uprooted,” a web documentary about mobile home park residents who were forced to relocate after developers took over their property. It won a national Emmy award for documentary coverage.
Migielicz, of Santa Cruz, Calif., thanked Miller and the community for making a “gracious home for Missouri’s role in photojournalism’s past and future.”
She teared up as she spoke of how humbling it was to join such a distinguished group of photographers. The photographers have contributed significantly to Missouri “where photojournalism was born,” Migielicz added.
“It’s humbling to be in the company of giants,” said Migielicz, who is currently a visiting professor at Stanford’s graduate program in journalism.
Visual journalists “make sense of chaos and show why it matters,” Migielicz said.
As an editor she said she learned to “let the photo do the talking.” Patience and persistence are the keys to success in photojournalism, Migielicz said, adding, “An abundance of talent is not necessary for success.”
Jim Miller Jr.
Miller, who passed away in 1987, was always asking for “just one more picture,” said Tom Miller, his brother, who accepted the award. Tom Miller read a tribute to Miller that was written by their niece, Lynnette Miller.
Jim Miller left a legacy by documenting “our town, our schools, our neighborhoods, and our lives — from football games to Girl Scouts, city government, county law enforcement, First Communions, confirmations, Vacation Bible School, college sports, pre-school, graduation, Chamber of Commerce, grand openings, you name it.”
Miller also was a regular presence at the Washington Fair.
“No event was complete until Jimmy captured it on film,” Tom Miller read. “Jimmy left a legacy of memories captured forever.”
Bill Miller Sr. said he also worked closely with his brother, Jim Miller Jr., and said he enjoyed air photography and got some pictures of Union and Pacific during a big flood and many other events in the county. The legacy of photojournalism in the Miller family continues. Bill Miller noted that his daughter, Jeanne, the photo editor of The Washington Missourian, may be the best photographer in the family.
The committee that selects the inductees includes representatives from the Missouri School of Journalism, the Missouri Press Association, and the former Midwest photo editor for The Associated Press.
Miller added, “Missouri has had great photographers. The young ones coming up have a many things to learn, but they are coming along.” Photography is much easier today because of technical advances, he said.
He recalled one photographer who told him, “You don’t take a photo; you make a photo.”
Others at the ceremony included Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy, Missouri Press Association Executive Director Doug Crews, Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jon Bauer, Secretary of State Jason Kander and Cliff Schiappa, retired AP Midwest photo editor.