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John Kaplan Photo Essay 21


China, Russia, Cuba, the United States. Four nations, separated by thousands of miles and centuries of tradition.

By gathering 59 photographs from these four countries into an exhibition titled Four Nations, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John Kaplan seeks to illustrate the common bonds these countries share.

"In each of these nations, seemingly disparate peoples are united in their search for freedom," says Kaplan, who joined the College of Journalism and Communications faculty last fall.

After a tour of major cities in Korea in 1999, the exhibit will open at the National Art Museum of Bolivia this summer. Kaplan is seeking other venues.

Roldobaldo Del Risco represents "Egun," a ghost in Cuba's Santeria religion.  Santeria, carried to Cuba by African slaves, synthesizes the teachings of Catholicism and Voodoo.

Sergei: Little Big Man 
Sergei Mayorov, 8, insists on smoking American Marlboro cigarettes, even though each pack costs the equivalent of two days� average Russian wages. Mayorov steals or begs money to buy the cigarettes, then gives them away to his fellow homeless at St. Petersburg�s Pulkuvo Airport.

A Teen Idol But A Mother'sWorst Fear 
With boyish bravado, Phil Anselmo,the lead singer of Pantera, shows off his pet boa. 

Horseman in Red 
A horseman wearing traditional racing attire gathers his energy before a village competition outside of Lhasa, Tibet.

"Visitors to the largest island in the Caribbean are immediately startled by the sheer will and beauty of the Cuban people; Gentle smiles form readily on the faces of its citizenry. Most Cubans are hospitable, friendly and surprisingly optimistic that present-day shortages are a temporary national sacrifice that will eventually lead to better days ahead."

Street Dance 
A folk dancer performs at a Havana street fair.

Marilyn's Legacy A housewife poses with a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, which has adorned her wall since American culture was king in the 1950s, before the revolution.

Loyal Citizen A boy and his family protect a statue from being vandalized at an abandoned building near their home.


"Through these photographs, I have made a conscious decision not to concentrate on China's dramatic influence over Tibetan Life; most parts of Llasa today look little different from dozens of other Chinese cities. Instead, these photographs are intended to show the uniqueness of Tibetan heritage and devotion � to photographically preserve their culture."

Double Happiness 
In China�s Sichuan Province, bordering Tibet, Xia Yongqing, 84, and his nephew, Yang Ziyun, 82, share a joke in the village of Nanyang. The mountainous region is home to descendents of the ancient Ba empire.

Faithful Debate At the 600-year-old Sera monastery, young monks gather each afternoon to debate the principles of Tibetan Buddhism.

Namtso Kiss  In one of the world�s most remote regions, a Namtso Lake peasant dressed in animal skins attends to her grandson.


"My goal for documenting life at age 21 has been to let the viewer make his or her own conclusions about the variety of lifestyles in our culture. There is so much right but also so much wrong in present-day America. By looking directly into the eyes of 21-year-olds, my hope is that the viewer will recognize positive changes in evolving America while realizing that for some with limited opportunity, both economic and personal, time seems to stand still."

Adrift in Appalachia 
Just 21, Frank Cline's skin is already weathered by a life of poverty. Unemployed, a high-school dropout, Cline passes his daysin front of an abandoned pool hall in Brenton, W.VA.

A New Face In Fashion 
On the runway at the Oscar de la Renta show, Tanya, a former victim of child abuse, has suddenly emerged as one of New York's top models.

In Love At Harvard 
A senior at Harvard, Malli Marshall dreams of a career as a doctor while maintaining a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend.

Standing in Shame 
Rodney Woodson, 21, stands in shame as detectives uncover the gun he used in a Pittsburgh killing. Kaplan's coverage of this story was the basis for a Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant and, 
ultimately, the Pulitzer Prize.



"As the Russian economy crumbles, children are the forgotten victims in a rocky transition toward democracy. Orphanages overflow with children abandoned by parents unable to afford to keep them. Loving conditions for the youngest children decay into often abominable care as orphans become older and are deemed no longer adoptable. The failings of the Russian social child-care system cause many to run away."

Taking Care 
A St. Petersburg, Russia orphanage caretaker hugs one of her young charges. Children awaiting adoption fill Russia�s "baby homes." 

Solitary Stare Boris Martynov, 17, has placed an X on the wall of his Russian youth prison cell to mark each day he has spent in solitary confinement for battering another inmate.

Dangerous Congregation 
Runaways and street people of all ages gather at St. Petersburg�s infamous train station, where crime and violence are rampant.


John Kaplan is one of America�s most accomplished documentary photographers. In 1992, his words-and-pictures project about the diverse lifestyles of 21-year-olds was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, having previously been awarded the 1990 Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant.

In 1989, Kaplan received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for outstanding coverage of the disadvantaged in the United States. That same year, he was named National Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the annual Pictures of the Year (POY) contest, the largest photojournalism competition in the world. He is one of just three photojournalists to win both a Pulitzer and National Photographer of the Year titles.

An associate professor at the University of Florida, Kaplan teaches photography, design and editing. He is the founder and director of Media Alliance, a broad-based journalism consulting group. In 1996, Kaplan�s first book for children, Mom and Me, was named by Parents magazine as one of its best books of the year.

He has twice been named a photography juror for the Pulitzer Prizes. Kaplan is a frequent lecturer at photography and journalism workshops and seminars throughout the world and has also received national recognition for his poetry and writing.

Why Journalism

There are many ways to get the news these days, and Americans spend more time with the news than over much of the past decade. Digital platforms are playing a larger role in news consumption, and they seem to be more than making up for the modest declines in audience for traditional platforms. As a result, the average time Americans spend with the news on a given day is as high as it was in the mid-1990s, when audiences for traditional news sources were much larger; instead of replacing traditional news platforms, Americans are increasingly integrating new technologies into their news consumption habits. Here at OHIO, we also apply journalistic principles to our Strategic Communications curriculum. Creativity and business problem solving is becoming the vital, new currency for brands and organizations. We are equipping students with all the strategic, management, and creative tools necessary to thrive in the exciting and ever-changing fields of advertising and public relations.

Why Ohio University

Journalism is a profession that incorporates knowledge from various disciplines, as well as critical thinking and practical application skills. Students in OHIO's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism are positioned to learn how to prepare and present news and information in a changing media landscape, as well as how to communicate messages on behalf of companies and organizations. A journalism degree also provides key verbal and written skills, an analytic mindset and inquisitive nature necessary to be successful in a variety of professions.

Our great alumni

Our Society of Alumni and Friends as well as several thousand journalism alumni across the country give you a strong network of Bobcat contacts and mentors working in and outside of the specific sequence areas offered in our curriculum.

Hands-on experience

The JSchool recognizes the importance of students gaining media experience while working toward their degrees. Spending all four years of undergraduate study as a journalism major means you can graduate with four years of experience.

Global connections and opportunities

Students in the JSchool can participate in innovative global programs through its Institute for International Journalism, which offers international internship experiences as well as other study abroad programs.

In a communication college designated as a “Center of Excellence in Culture and Societal Transformation”

As a student in the JSchool you will benefit from being in the Scripps College of Communication, recently designated by Ohio's Board of Regents as a "Center of Excellence" in the state of Ohio. Being in the Scripps College of Communication provides you access to communication-specific Residential Learning Community programs for our first-year students, as well as hands-on student media programs across the spectrum of communication industries.

Great faculty

Great classmates, nationally recognized professional organizations

Because of the reputation of the JSchool, we are able to ensure that you will have exceptional classmates. In journalism classes, you'll often be working on team projects. Collaborating with smart, motivated students will make you better. This is why our student organizations routinely win national recognition for their work. Most recently, our Society of Professional Journalists chapter won best-in-the-nation honors. Other groups include Public Relations Student Society of America, Radio Television Digital News Association, Ad Club, Association of Women in Communication, Black Student Communication Caucus, and Students for Global Media and Diversity. Read more about these organizations.

Accreditation (it matters!)

As a program accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, we keep the size of skills courses at a student-teacher ratio that optimizes learning conditions for students. Accreditation ensures the quality of our faculty, facilities, as well as curriculum.

Great facilities that keep getting better

Knowing how to use the latest technology is important in any journalism career. The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism is committed to equipping its facilities with state-of-the-art technology. A new home for the Scripps College of Communication, the Schoonover Center, provides additional resources for journalism students at Ohio University.

At a price that’s right

While the cost of higher education is going up, the cost of OHIO compared to other top jschools shows that we are a tremendous value. The charts below are based on figures from the College Board website, which provides comparative data for colleges across the country. See OHIO's website on fees for additional information about the costs at OHIO.

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