I’m a photographer, filmmaker and editor focused on telling stories about international development and humanitarian issues. I work primarily with nonprofits to create stories that inspire hope, educate the public and connect with donors. My clients have trusted me to report from over 20 countries on issues ranging from entrepreneurship to agriculture, as well as maternal health, disaster recovery and many others.

My path to visual storytelling started when I was a business reporter in Seoul. It was 2002, and the South Korean soccer team won its first World Cup match ever. Hundreds of people ran singing and screaming through my neighborhood, waving flags and commandeering cars and trucks as if they were parade floats. This was history! I ran out with my camera and clicked away until the wee hours. South Korea kept winning matches, and I kept photographing street celebrations. By the end of the World Cup, I was sleep-deprived and happy: I knew I wanted to be a photographer

One year later, I quit my job to study photojournalism in graduate school. I interned at three Midwestern newspapers. I won a Fulbright to South Korea. I taught myself to shoot and edit videos. I enjoyed newspaper work but gradually felt pulled to be an advocate.

I sought nonprofit work and landed what was a dream job overseeing all multimedia storytelling projects at Bread for the World. On one assignment, two colleagues and I filmed farm families in Mexico for a story on the causes of immigration to the United States. I rose early, shot in beautiful light and shucked corn with the farmers. The resulting short film ended up in film festivals and a Mexican textbook. It even prompted one person to change his stance on immigration (he wrote me a letter).

The best praise came from one of the families in the film: they said it told their story well and they appreciated our team spending time with them. That made my day. I want the people I film and photograph to feel proud when they see their stories. Ethical and honest storytelling is important to me. It’s a philosophy I’ve long pushed as the founder of NGO Storytelling, a website for inspiring and informing humanitarian storytellers.

After three-and-a-half years living in Rwanda and South Africa, I call Baltimore home. Let’s create stories. Contact me at laura [at] laurapohl [dot] com or +1-617-899-1789. I speak Korean, conversational Spanish and a little bit of French (that often gets mixed up with Spanish).

Selected Awards and Honors
• FotoWeek DC – Honorable mention for photojournalism

• The Justice Film Festival – Official Selection for “Stay: Migration and Poverty in Rural Mexico
• Religion Communicators Council – Best of class for “African American Voices for Africa” video
• Religion Communicators Council – Award of Excellence for color photography

• United Nations Association Film Festival – Official Selection for “In Short Supply
• Lights. Camera. Help. Film Festival – Winner, Best Short Film for “Stay: Migration and Poverty in Rural Mexico
• Williamsburg International Film Festival – Official Selection for “Stay: Migration and Poverty in Rural Mexico
• Women Photojournalists of Washington – Two photographs selected for annual group exhibit
• Religion Communicators Council – Award of Excellence for “Stay: Migration and Poverty in Rural Mexico
• Religion Communicators Council – Award of Excellence for “In Short Supply

• Oxford University Press – “Stay: Migration and Poverty in Rural Mexico” included in Mexican textbook
• Link TV – “Stay: Migration and Poverty in Rural Mexico” broadcast on national television
• Los Angeles Times – “The Price of Immigration” short film selected as a “Best of the Web” for April 2011
• Religion Communicators Council – Award of Excellence for color photography

• FotoWeek DC Slideluck Potshow – Photo essay on Haitian women selected for group exhibit

• Newseum – Photograph selected for “FOTOBAMA: Picturing the President” group exhibit
• Honfleur Gallery – Photograph selected for “Launch” group exhibit in Washington, D.C.

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