Jay Mather, From Cambodia to the Cascades: A photographer’s visual life
Portland Art Museum Photography Council’s
Brown Bag Lunch Talk Series
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020 Noon – 1 pm
Zoom: Click here to register
From Cambodia to the Cascades: A photographer’s visual life.
A photojournalist working in the newspaper industry covers wide-ranging topics, events, and people. In the arc of my fifty-year career there are several topics that are the core of my evolution from Pulitzer Prize photojournalism to the serenity of landscape photography in Oregon.
When I reflect on these projects, I understand how each one moved me visually in a new direction and added a deeper respect for the value of documentary photography.
From Cambodia, Yosemite National Park, the world of ballet, artists of the Sisters Folk Festival and now central Oregon, telling the story of my home, this is my photographic life.
Jay Mather is a Pulitzer Prize awarded photojournalist. His interest in photography
began while he was a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia, 1969-70.
During his career he worked in Denver, Colorado, Louisville, Kentucky, and
During Jay’s career he has covered a wide range of subjects and people. He has
spent time with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, Pope John Paul II
and President Clinton. On the other end of the spectrum he has worked on projects
about hunger, homelessness, AIDS, and other issues that remain timely today.
In November 1979, while working for the Courier-Journal in Louisville,
Kentucky, Jay and fellow journalist Joel Brinkley, traveled to the Thailand-
Cambodia border to document the massive exodus of Cambodian refugees fleeing
the wrath of the Khmer Rouge regime and the invading North Vietnamese Army.
This was the beginning of what the world would come to know as the Killing
Fields. Their stories and photographs, a four-day series published in the
Louisville Courier-Journal, were awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for International
Jay has also been a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Coverage of
Jay has a deep love and respect for the environment. He has hiked and climbed
while photographing throughout the western United States for projects on
Yosemite National Park, the Desert Protection Act in California, the declining
health of the Sierra mountain range, and climate change in Colorado River
Basin. The Yosemite Association published his book, “Yosemite, A Landscape of
Life,” in 1990 for the centennial celebration of the park. For this project he was a
finalist in the 1991 Pulitzer Prize Feature Photography category.
Jay’s current work examines the natural beauty of central Oregon, the Cascade
Range and the high desert and the threats brought by climate change. He divides
his efforts between the Deschutes Land Trust and the Sisters Folk Festival,
documenting the activities in those non-profit organizations.