RJ Mickelson

RJ Mickelson is a documentary photographer and photo editor who is drawn to stories reflecting both the newsworthy and the subtle. Inspired by photojournalists and fine art photographers, his work is rooted in form and content where the story’s importance is proportionate to the composition and color of its photographs.

Following years in the Social Services field working directly with gang-related youth and 9/11 survivors, RJ pursued photography as a way to tell stories while continuing to work directly with people. In 2005, he enrolled at the International Center of Photography's (ICP) Documentary and Photojournalism Program. Following graduation, he co-founded and later became Director of Veras Images, a New York-based photography collective where he lead a group of working photographers to organize gallery exhibitions, multimedia slide shows and participation in international photo festivals.

Following years of freelancing for newspapers and magazines, RJ became the Senior Staff Photographer and Photo Editor at amNewYork newspaper. In October 2009, he attended the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop for emerging photographers where he was granted an Associated Press Award for his work on Helen and Hazel, 90-year old twin sisters living in the New York's Catskills Mountains.

In 2011, RJ accepted a position as Photo Editor at The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He worked closely with staff photographers and freelancers on long-term projects while also overseeing photography for the Sports and World News sections. While in the region, RJ collaborated with the close-knit UAE photo community and participated in photography lectures and also taught workshops at the country's most prominent photo institution, Gulf Photo Plus.

After nearly 5 years in the Gulf, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he accepted a photo editor position at the San Francisco Chronicle. In early 2017, The Chronicle’s photo editors were honored by the National Press Photographers Association in the Best of Photojournalism competition for the department's photo essays on homelessness in the Bay Area, AIDS survivors and the area's rising sea levels.

In his personal time, RJ continues to pursue photography reflecting the quiet lives of everyday people.
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