In It Was Always About the Work: A Photojournalist's Memoir award-winning photojournalist Melvin Grier tells the influences and circumstances that led him to tell stories through the camera. Over the last six decades, his work has vividly portrayed community, humanity, irony, fear, war, elegance, art, and most notably, the unexpected. With nearly 100 black-and-white and color photographs included in the book, Grier shares photos from his most famous exhibitions and news stories—images that capture the moment and so much more.
Starting with his early years as a boy growing up in Cincinnati, readers quickly learn about the young man who while in the Air Force won his first photo contest. He came home determined to make a career as a photographer and despite his lack of formal training and experience, within a few years, he secured a job as a photographer for The Cincinnati Post. Nearly 35 years later, his daughter became the second African American photojournalist for The Cincinnati Post, a sad statement on the lack of diversity in the news industry in a city where the population is nearly 50% Black.
Whether covering local events, Cincinnati life, impoverished villages overseas, young future Marines on their way to their first post, or high fashion, Grier's photos are unmistakable and evocative. After the closure of The Cincinnati Post in 2007, Grier continued his career as an independent artist. His work has been featured in exhibitions such as "White People: A Retrospective" and "Clothes Encounters." For the first time, in collaboration with one of his journalist partners, reporter Molly Kavanaugh, Grier shares why it was always about the work.