At fifteen years old, a streetwise Italian-American from Chicago’s West Side named Anthony Mazzenga got a job at the Chicago Tribune as a copy boy. While running copy between reporters and photographers and their respective news desks, Mazzenga began to discover something very important about himself: he had both an affinity and a talent for the “visual word”- photography.
It didn’t take long before he was asked to join the Tribune’s photo staff. But it came with a price. He had to give up his first name. “We have too many Tony’s around here” the chief of photographers asked him, “What’s your middle name?”
Mazzenga’s middle name was Val and that’s how this indefatigable Chicago photojournalist has been known ever since.
Val Mazzenga’s career is one of the most storied in American photojournalism. His photographs have won more than 200 awards including 5 Beck Awards- the Chicago Tribune’s highest accolade. He may be the most honored photographer in Tribune history. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize six times.
One of his nominations was for his work on The Jonestown Massacre.
Val has covered major breaking stories on just about every continent on the planet. His work has been exhibited nationwide, including an exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Among his assignment; the Afghan resistance fighters in Pakistan; slaughter of the seals in Newfoundland, starvation in Africa; the Sikh revolt in India; the 20th Anniversary of the fall of Saigon; the killing fields in Cambodia and refugee camps in Southeast Asia. He spent three months on assignment crisscrossing South America in 1978 with two Chicago Tribune reporters – the Tribune published a book titled “South America ‘78” from the stories they compiled.
He has done prize winning photo essays on the late Mother Teresa, the late President Nixon and Michael Jordan. He has photographed the Wonders of the World - Machu Pichu the Lost City of the Incas, the Taj Mahjal, Angkor Wat, the Great Wall of China, Carnival in Rio, and life along Bangkok’s Klong waterways. He covered the Russian Invasion of Afghanistan and Ground Zero.
Val’s photographs have been featured in many books and publications.
He is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, School of Journalism and a keynote Speaker. Val speaks at universities and corporations throughout the country with his riveting multimedia presentation entitled “The Untold Story”…