Amanda Rivkin, 26, is a photojournalist based in Baku, Azerbaijan beginning June 2011. In the fall she will begin work as a Fulbright fellowship grantee in photography for a project focusing on women at the crossroads of Turkic, Persian, Russian and Western culture. Amanda was previously based in Chicago in 2008-2009 with The New York Times as a primary client. A photograph of Barack Obama on election in Chicago appeared as a double truck in The London Sunday Times Magazine “Spectrum” special photojournalism section the week following the election. Additionally she received assignments from Agence France Presse, Courrier Japan, The Financial Times, Le Monde, and others. In 2010, Amanda received a Young Explorers Grant from the Expeditions Council of the National Geographic Society to travel to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and eastern Turkey to photograph along the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. She was the co-creator and primary interviewer for the initial series of “Turning Point” posts on The New York Times Lens blog featuring the work of young photojournalists alongside the work that inspired their own. Amanda speaks native English and fluent Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Foreign Service, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Sarah Lawrence College.
Entry description: The city of legendary elections and father and son mayors for life, Barack Obama emerged an outsider in the U.S. presidential election. Yet he is the single greatest student to date of the Chicago machine he emerged from. His campaign represented both the emergence of a new generation on the world stage while affirming the battle-tested strength of Chicago’s Democratic machine. When the moment came to claim a hard fought victory on November 4, 2008, he greeted 250,000 people gathered in Grant Park along Chicago’s lakefront. His first words to the nation were not “my fellow Americans,” but “hello Chicago!”