• © Ami Vitale
    © Ami Vitale

Our judges – Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers 2020 – Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale
Ami Vitale

Celebrated American photojournalist and documentary film maker, Ami Vitale is the latest addition to the stellar line-up of judges for the region's preeminent competition for aspiring, emerging, and early-career photographers, Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers, now in its 12th year.

Ami Vitale's journey as a photographer, writer, and filmmaker has taken her to over 100 countries where she has witnessed civil unrest and violence, but also surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. She has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit—all in keeping with her philosophy of “living the story.”

An Ambassador for Nikon and a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine, Vitale has documented wildlife and poaching in Africa, covered human-wildlife conflict, and concentrated on efforts to save the northern white rhino and reintroduce pandas to the wild. Instyle Magazine named her one of fifty "Badass Women", a series celebrating women who show up, speak up, and get things done. She appeared alongside a group of incredible women including Jane Goodall, Christiane Amanpour, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Vitale has been named Magazine Photographer of the Year in the International Photographer of the Year prize, received the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting, and been named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer's Association, among other accolades. She is a five-time award recipient at World Press Photos, including 1st Prize for her 2018 National Geographic magazine story about a community in Kenya protecting elephants. She recently published a best-selling book, Panda Love, on the secret lives of pandas. 

She was the subject of the Mission Cover Shot series on the National Geographic Channel as well as another documentary series featuring Madagascar (Over the Islands of Africa). She lectures for the National Geographic LIVE series, and frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Vitale is also a founding member of Ripple Effect Images – a collective of scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers with a mission of creating powerful stories illustrating the very specific issues women in developing countries face.