Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer, Ringo Chiu, Joins CSUN Staff

  • Ringo Chiu and Ed Alfano stand in front of a gallery of photos.

    Back on campus: Ringo Chiu (left) and his former art professor Ed Alfano, discuss the photos commemorating the anniversary of the 1994 Northridge earthquake on display at The Soraya, Monday, January 29, 2024. (David J. Hawkins / CSUN).

For more than 30 years, photojournalist and alumnus Ringo Chiu’s photos of historic events and breaking news have graced the front pages of newspapers around the world. In a new chapter in his career, Chiu has returned to CSUN as senior photographer and has turned his lens to document the life, events and people at his alma mater.

Chiu ’01 (Special Major-Journalism) assumed his new role at CSUN in November 2023, taking over from longtime senior photographer Lee Choo M.F.A. ’10 (Visual Communication) who retired after 32 years on campus. Chiu works with assistant photographer David J. Hawkins ’16 (Journalism) as well as student assistants. Chiu said he enjoys mentoring students who want to become photojournalists — and he would also like to teach.

“People helped me to achieve my goal. I really want to do something [for the] younger generation, to help them achieve theirs,” he said.

Chiu started his career with newspapers in his hometown, Hong Kong. After immigrating to the United States and studying photojournalism at CSUN, he worked as a freelance photographer for a number of wire services and publications including the Associated Press, Reuters and the Los Angeles Times. He was also the chief editorial photographer for the Los Angeles Business Journal.

In 2021, Chiu was part of the Associated Press photography staff awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. Chiu and his colleagues were honored for a collection of photographs taken all over the country that captured reactions to the death of George Floyd. Chiu was also a 2019 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for photos of the 2018 California wildfires.

Before coming to Los Angeles and to Cal State Northridge, Chiu studied mass communication in Hong Kong, including television production and radio, but said he’s enjoyed photography since he was a young child. He said he was encouraged by others, including professors at CSUN, who pushed him to develop his own signature as a photographer.

“In the last 20 years, I’ve worked hard and then I have my own style. You need to [have a] vision different from other photographers,” Chiu said.

In addition to his Pulitzer Prize, Chiu has also been honored by numerous organizations, including the Los Angeles Press Club, who named him the “Southern California Photojournalist of the Year” in 2014, 2017 and 2021. He also received the “Photojournalist of the Year” award from the Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles in 2018 and 2021 and the National Press Photographers Association “Best of Photojournalism” award in 2021 for first place, sports feature.

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