When Annie Wells, a Pulitzer winning photographer for the Los Angeles Times was laid-off in the fall of 2008, it was a painful experience, to be sure, but one like so many others who suffered a similar fate-led her down another road previously never thought possible.
The resilient West Coast baby boomer enrolled in divinity school at Claremont School of Theology in the fall of 2009 and is happy to report she graduated this past May with designs of becoming a hospital or hospice chaplain. In 2009, she was a chaplain intern at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
Wells will begin a year-long residency at a hospital in Los Angeles in September. To better prepare for the challenges ahead, she is now in Guadalajara, Mexico learning Spanish.
``I'm 58, a Pulitzer winner, and have never been happier in my life,’’ Wells told me.
The former photojournalist for over 20 years, additionally informs me, since leaving the L.A. Times, she has won preaching and liturgy awards at Claremont School of Theology and was a writing tutor there for two years.
A breast cancer survivor, Wells co-produced a documentary film ``From an Arm’s Length," which is a collection of pictures she took of herself while undergoing treatment. The film is in the production stages with a release date still undetermined.
Wells entered Pulitzer country in 1997, when she was recognized for her gripping photo, capturing a firefighter saving a drowning girl.
During her celebrated journalism career, Wells was the recipient of other notable awards, including the Ruben Salazar Award for Photography, The Robert F Kennedy Journalism Award and the Inter American Press Association Award for Photography.
Wells graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a BA degree in Science Writing. Her work is in the permanent collection of The National Museum for Women in the Arts located in Washington, D.C.
Select portraits of her work can be found at her home page.
June 26, 2012