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David Pierini has been a writer and photographer since the eighth-grade. He started out working for a weekly shopper covering sports for 10 cents a column inch and $1 for each published photo. He used to use a grease pencil to circle the part of the photograph he thought the reader would find interesting. Pierini eventually learned how to make pictures without the aid of a marker by composing photographs with intimacy, humor, emotion and other elements that make for good storytelling.
After graduating from Michigan State University with a journalism degree and spending five years as a courts and county government reporter, Pierini set aside the keyboard for a camera and enrolled at Western Kentucky University where he received a degree in photojournalism in 1998. He then spent the next 10 years at The Herald in Jasper, Ind., recognized as one of America’s best small newspapers. There, he learned the craft of storytelling with pictures from Editor John Rumbach and discovered you need not go to an exotic, faraway place to make pictures when there are good stories right in your own backyard. While in Jasper, he photographed everything from the 4-H Fair and Strassenfest German heritage festival to a young woman’s struggles with anorexia and the tearful homecoming of Dubois County’s first casualty of the Iraq War.
In 2008, he moved to be with the love of his life and eventually marry, Lynette Kalsnes. Soon the pace of small-town America sped up in the bustling “City of Big Shoulders.” In July 2008, he joined the Chicago Tribune as an archive picture editor and web producer. From handling classic and hidden photos from the Tribune archives, Pierini fell in love with the city and felt the people in the pictures were whispering Chicago’s secrets. In January 2009, he joined the photo staff as a photographer, covering breaking news and issues ranging from homelessness to political corruption, as well as learning the ways of new media, shooting video and gathering audio for the web, television and radio.
Pierini has won numerous state and national awards, including Photos of the Year international, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar and the Southern Short Course. He was twice named Indiana Photographer in the Year and in 2008, he co-authored the book “Bloodroot,” making pictures to illustrate the poems of Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf.