Members Sandra Eisert and David Spielman Honored with Special Awards

May 12, 2021  By Richard Rejino

Sandra Eisert receives the NPPA Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award

Sandra Eisert has broken ground — often hard ground — her entire career. She was often the first woman, or even the first person, to hold the positions that she held. After graduating from Indiana University, she was hired as a picture editor at The Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times, widely credited as the first woman to be named picture editor at a major American newspaper. Her work there would earn her NPPA’s Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year award.

She was asked to become the first picture editor at the White House. Working with David Hume Kennerly and others in Gerald Ford’s administration, they broke from opaque Nixonian public relations practices with a deliberate shift to honest visual documentation of the American presidency. Eisert would later return to the White House as an additional picture editor during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

At The Washington Post, Eisert expanded picture usage and grew special projects opportunities. At the Associated Press’ Washington bureau, she ran the Southern U.S. network and edited Capitol Hill and White House coverage, gaining experience on competitive and fast-moving stories that would serve her well in her next roles. As the design director and senior graphics editor at the San Jose Mercury News, her deadline editing and design work during the Loma Prieta earthquake was a key part of the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage. She also served as the art director of the paper’s Sunday magazine, West.

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David Spielman: Bestowed the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Award

On May 19, 2021, the Consul General of France in Louisiana Mr. Vincent Sciama will bestow the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres to awarded New Orleans photographer David Spielman, with the rank of chevalier.

As a longtime francophile, David Spielman has always kept an intimate relationship with France, a country that he has visited many times, pacing the streets of Paris, capturing the vivid life of the French capital.

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Spielman moved to New Orleans upon finishing college, having spent his final year studying art, art history and photography in Europe. With projects around the world, his work has taken him to France, England, Ireland, Russia, Egypt, Pakistan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Central America, and other locations. From world leaders, corporate reports and personal projects, his traveling has been constant and extensive.

His images have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Forbes, and Architectural Digest.

Like a Doisneau or a Cartier-Bresson, his images are telling a story, the story of New Orleans and its unique culture.
The Consul General of France Mr. Vincent Sciama declared: Awarding this prestigious distinction to David Spielman is not only recognizing his extraordinary talent as a photographer, but also his love for and connection to France alongside his role as a vibrant member of the artistic life of New Orleans.

To see the press release, click here.

Richard Rejino
Richard is the Executive Director of LHSA - The International Leica Society and a part-time professional photographer. He is also a classically trained pianist, writer and published author. His book, "What Music Means to Me" is available from Hal Leonard Corporation.

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