US President Barack Obama felicitated Kainaz Amaria, supervising editor for the National Public Radio (NPR) Visuals team, for securing the first place in the Innovation category at the 2014 Eyes of History: Multimedia Contest conducted by The White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA). Her teams award winning story, “Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt,” produced for NPR, uniquely chronicled the hidden world behind clothes sold in the United States. The second place in this category was awarded to the team entry by Ken Geiger of National Geographic.
Referring to “this really awesome moment” at the 93rd annual awards dinner on May 10 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington DC, Amaria stated, “It was a thrill to meet the President and represent NPR. When I started out as a budding photojournalist I never imagined that moments like these were possible. I’m very lucky to love what I do and to be able to work with extremely talented people. Also, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the support and love of my family. They made it possible for me to dream big!”
Barack Obama greets Kainaz Amaria
These contests held since 1941 “celebrate our members’ creativity and competitive spirit in the still, video and multimedia disciplines,” explains the website of WHNPA. The Association, formed in 1921 with 24 members, currently has nearly 800 members including women who were first granted membership in 1942. Its mission statement explains that the organization is “dedicated to promoting, protecting and advancing the interests and intellectual property rights of its members” who are “still and video photographers assigned to cover the White House and other news events in Washington and beyond.”
Until the Association was formed, there were two things barred from the US Capitol — dogs and photographers, states the website recalling the days when photographers would stand outside the gates in unfavorable weather conditions for a glimpse of visitors to the White House. There was no email list and no printed schedule of the President’s engagements then.
After completing her graduation in international relations and political science from Boston University, Amaria did her MA in photography from the School of Visual Communication, Ohio University. In 2010 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Bombay when she produced a short film titled Being Zoroastrian. Her photo features had then also appeared in Parsiana (“Par-sea day” May 7, 2010 and “Worship at the Well,” March 7, 2011). As declared on her website www.kainazamaria.com,
“When she is not behind the camera or the computer, she can be found surrounded by good friends, good food and a ton of laughter.”