Renee C. Byer

“I think of myself as a journalist who chooses the art of photography to bring awareness to important issues throughout the world. As a documentary photojournalist, I adhere to a code of ethics and my pictures depict the unvarnished realities of life. Art is a powerful means of expression, but combined with journalism it has the ability to bring awareness to issues that can elevate the public’s understanding and compassion and hopefully affect meaningful social change. It’s why I do what I do.” — Renée C. Byer

Renée C. Byer is an award-winning American documentary photojournalist best known for her in-depth work focusing on the disadvantaged and those who otherwise would not be heard. Her ability to produce photographs with profound emotional resonance and sensitivity earned her the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 2007 and dozens of national and international honors, including the World Understanding Award from Pictures of the Year International, and Pulitzer Finalist in 2013.

Known for her ability to translate stark statistics into images that connect us to our humanity, she has traveled throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, covering some of the most important issues of our time. Byer’s stories have deepened our understanding of the environment, climate change, extreme poverty, genetically modified food, healthcare, women at war, domestic violence, and the drought and economic crisis in California.

Byer’s internationally acclaimed book, Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor, illuminates the stories of people living on the brink of survival, and invites you to put an end to extreme poverty. The book won First Place Documentary Book from the International Photography Awards in 2014. An interactive traveling exhibition drawn from Living on a Dollar inspires viewers through compassion, education and social action. In addition Byer narrates a documentary about the project that will be released in 2016.

Byer’s photographs have appeared in publications and exhibitions throughout the world, including Paris Match, National Geographic, Time, and Newsweek, and notably at Visa Pour L’Image Festival of the Photograph 2014, in Perpignan, France. Photographs from Byer’s book were selected for a stunning display at The 2014 Tech Awards gala in San Jose, CA. An interactive video interview with Byer that shows her Pulitzer Prize-winning images is on permanent exhibit in the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Valued for her critical insight, she has served for eight years as a judge for the prestigious Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards.

As a Senior Photojournalist for the storied Sacramento Bee, Byer’s images are syndicated worldwide through Tribune News Service, AP, Getty and ZUMA Press. Her career has led her to multimedia projects, personal book projects and photography exhibitions.

Renée C. Byer graduated cum laude from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.