PhotoPhilanthropy was honored to have the following Judges for our 2010 Activist Awards. 

  • Julian Cox, Chief Curator of the de Young Museum in San Francisco
  • Gail Fisher, Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic magazine
  • Ruth Fremson, Staff Photographer for the New York Times
  • Alex Harris, Founder of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
  • Nion McEvoy, Chairman and CEO of Chronicle Books, LLC


Julian Cox, one of the country’s leading authorities on photography, is Founding Curator of Photography for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) and Chief Curator of the de Young Museum.

For the past five years, Julian has served as Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, during which time he has significantly expanded its permanent collection of photographs and enhanced its reputation in the field. He has organized such distinguished exhibitions as Harry Callahan: Eleanor (2007), Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956–1968 (2008) and The Portrait Unbound: Photographs by Robert Weingarten (2010). His most recent exhibition, Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer (2010), consisting of 87 vintage prints, is the first comprehensive presentation of the work of this important Danish-born American photographer, whose works are among the finest produced in the Depression era in the United States.

Prior to that, Cox served for 12 years in several positions in the Department of Photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, most recently as Associate Curator of Photography under the Getty’s esteemed Founding Curator of Photography Weston Naef.  His work at the Getty included the exhibitions André Kertész: A Centennial Tribute (1994), Alfred Stieglitz: Seen and Unseen (1995–1996), Julia Margaret Cameron: The Creative Process (1996–1997), The Making of a Daguerreotype: Images and Artifacts (1998) and The Photographs of Frederick Sommer: A Centennial Tribute (2005).  Prior to that, he worked at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, England, and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Cox earned a Master of Philosophy degree in the history of photography from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1990, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the University of Manchester, England, in 1987.

Cox is the author of several books and essays and is co-author, with Colin Ford, of the critically acclaimed publication, Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), the first catalogue raisonné of her work.  His notable publications include Harry Callahan: Eleanor (High Museum of Art and Steidl, 2007), Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956–1968 (High Museum of Art and University of Washington Press, 2008) and The Portrait Unbound: Photographs by Robert Weingarten (High Museum of Art, 2010).


Gail Fisher, senior photo editor for National Geographic magazine, made the transition in 2007 from newspapers to magazines. Formerly senior photo editor of projects for the Los Angeles Times, she covered social issues during the course of her career throughout the world. She has traveled extensively throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South and Central America as a photojournalist.

Gail’s editing skills and photography have been recognized internationally with numerous awards, judging, teaching and speaking engagements. In 2009, Pictures of the Year International awarded her Magazine Photo Editor of the year, and in 2008 she was runner-up. In 2006, she was recognized Best of Photojournalism Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year, and in 2005 she was runner-up. In 2006 , Altered Oceans series was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism, for which Gail was the photo editor. And in 2005, the investigative King Drew project was honored the Pulitzer Public Service award, for which she was also part of the team.

Some of Gail’s accomplishments as a photojournalist include the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for outstanding coverage of the disadvantaged, the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, the Harry Chapin World Hunger Award and twice won the Community Awareness Award in 1996 and 2002 from the National Press Photographers Pictures of the Year.

In 2000, as a photojournalist, Gail began documenting the causes and effects of foster kids after they turn 18 and emancipate out of the system. With the advances of digital technology, Gail shot both still photography and video on “Unadoptable” which was broadcast on ABC Nightline Up Close as a two-part series. By integrating these two media, the story was published on a much broader scale; stand alone pieces for print publication, web streaming and television broadcast.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Gail earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Miami University of Ohio, and an M.F.A. in Photojournalism from Ohio University. She has two children, Whitney, and Zack.


Ruth Fremson says her daily work is motivated by a Chinese proverb: “Don’t listen to what they say. Go see.” Ms. Fremson has followed those words throughout her professional career, which has taken her from the White House to Ground Zero and from Jerusalem to Iraq. In recent years, she has traveled repeatedly to India, drawn to what she calls “this complicated, colorful, huge democracy with endless stories to document.”

Ms. Fremson, a native New Yorker, has worked as a photojournalist for the past 20 years. In January 2000, she returned to New York to work for the The New York Times. The following year, she was at the World Trade Center as the towers collapsed around her. Her searing photographs that day helped lead The Times to a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. A few months later, Ms. Fremson was in Afghanistan as part of The New York Times team that won its second Pulitzer Prize that year, for Feature Photography. Ms. Fremson was also part of the Associated Press team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1999 for its work covering the Clinton impeachment.

She has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the White House News Photographers Association and the New York Press Photographers Association. Her work appears in many books and is part of the permanent collection of the Akron Museum of Art.

Ms. Fremson graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design/photography and did graduate studies in photography at Ohio University in Athens. From 1989 to 1994, she worked for the Washington Times. She then worked for the Associated Press from 1994 to 2000, first based in Charlotte, N.C., then in Washington and eventually in Jerusalem.

“Ruth is the perfect combination of journalist and photographer: highly skilled and intuitive in both,” said Michele McNally, the assistant managing editor for photography of the New York Times. “She has the instincts and speed to respond in a breaking news situation and the ability to pursue an in-depth story with intelligence, compassion and visual perfection.”


Alex Harris was raised in the South and lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife, Margaret Sartor, and their two children. Harris has photographed extensively in the American South, New Mexico, Alaska, and Cuba.  His work is represented in major collections including The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, and a Lyndhurst Prize. His photographs have been exhibited in numerous museums including two solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York. As a photographer and editor, Harris has published fourteen books including River of Traps (with William deBuys) a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. His most recent book, The Idea of Cuba, was co-published in 2007 by the University of New Mexico Press and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.

Between 1972 and 1978 he lived and photographed in Hispanic villages in northern New Mexico and Eskimo villages in Alaska. During these years, Harris also began to commute to North Carolina to teach documentary photography at Duke. In 1980 he founded the Center for Documentary Photography at Duke, which he directed for eight years. In 1989, he was a founder of The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. Between 1995 and 1998 Harris launched DoubleTake Magazine with Robert Coles and coedited the publication through its first twelve issues. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Documentary Studies at Duke. Within the Center for Documentary Studies, he is the Creative Director of the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program.


Nion McEvoy is the Chairman & CEO of Chronicle Books LLC and of The McEvoy Group LLC. Chronicle Books, based in San Francisco, California is known for its excellence in design and the strong popular appeal of its titles, including such best-sellers as The Beatles Anthology, The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook, and Weber’s Art of the Grill. In addition, Chronicle Books creates gift and stationery products based on works ranging from the photography of William Wegman and the menus of Chez Panisse to the musings of Goth tween icon Emily the Strange. Photography titles include David Maisel’s Library of Dust, Elinor Carucci’s Closer, and Jim Marshall’s Proof.

Mr. McEvoy joined Chronicle Books in 1986, and served as Editor-in-Chief of the adult trade division until he acquired the company through The McEvoy Group in 2000. The McEvoy Group also includes becker&mayer! LLC, a book packager in Bellevue, Washington; New York-based Spin magazine; and McEvoy Media, which publishes 7×7 magazine and California Home & Design in San Francisco.

Mr. McEvoy worked previously in the business affairs departments of the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills and of Wescom Productions. He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and Hastings College of the Law. He is a Commissioner for the Smithsonian American Art Museum and currently serves on the boards of SFJAZZ, the UCSC Foundation and SFMOMA, where he is chair of the Photography Accessions Committee.

He has two sons and a daughter, and plays drums in the elusive rock band Rough Draft.