With deep sadness, we learned today that a valued friend and supporter of Youth Journalism International, famous photojournalist Jack Kurtz, has passed away today in Iowa at the age of 64 after a long battle with the cancer.
Jack has spent over 40 years traveling the world for photographs that capture more than the news. They put humanity in the spotlight, from the Mexican border to Ground Zero to Thailand and the presidential campaigns in Iowa.
Jack didn’t settle for the ordinary, the mundane. He always found ways to take deeper photographs, creating art that will forever be his legacy. He did more than live through a turbulent and interesting time. He captured images that preserve what he saw so that countless numbers of people will see them for generations to come as well. It is his gift to all of us.
Jack caught YJI’s attention because he went to high school in Kenya with the mother of one of our first students and she hooked us up. A relationship blossomed because he shared YJI’s vision for young people entering journalism and fully embraced their zeal and idealism – because he had never lost his.
Jack met one of our students traveling through Thailand. He was a judge in the YJI competition for years. He gave an online photography workshop for YJI during the coronavirus pandemic that fascinated students.
We will be showing a recording of this presentation to students for a long time to come. Jack has supported and helped this small charity in many ways, big and small, and we are grateful to him.
A few years ago, YJI co-founders Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins first met Jack and his wife Cathy Kurtz. In Des Moines, Iowa, we had the chance to have a meal, take a look around and hear firsthand about their remarkable life. We enjoyed every moment, not knowing we wouldn’t have another chance.
Our hearts go out to Cathy and Jack’s many friends and families. So many of us are crying today. The only balm is that we know Jack’s work will live on.
We invite you to take the time to explore the world through the incredible eye of Jack. Here are two of his photo collections: https://kurtzjack.photoshelter.com/archive and www.jackkurtzphotography.com/index.