Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lucian Perkins is an independent photographer and filmmaker based in Washington, D.C. Documentary films include The Syrian Refugee Crisis, Joseph’s House about volunteers at this hospice for the homeless, The Brilliance of My World about big-band singer Chou Chou Scantlin, a highly articulate autistic woman who reaches new heights through music.
Perkins’ focus on documenting human-interest stories encompasses daily life and social issues in the United States to conflicts and crisis overseas. He is known for an approach that counterpoints a deep sympathy for his subjects with an ability to expose their hopes and foibles, and for a style that combines formal clarity with, from time to time, an offbeat humor. At the University of Texas at Austin, he studied with acclaimed photographer Garry Winogrand who is a continuing inspiration.
As staff photographer at The Washington Post for more than 20 years, Perkins covered major international events such as the fall of the Soviet Union and aftermath; the wars and refugee crisis in the former Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Iraq and Afghanistan; and major events at home. Lucian received his first Pulitzer Prize for collaboration with Post reporter Leon Dash on their four-year study of the effects of poverty on three generations of a Washington, D.C., family through the eyes of the matriarch. His second was for coverage of the Kosovo conflict.
Additional awards include “Newspaper Photographer of the Year” by the National Press Photographers Association and “World Press Photo of the Year.” Perkins also worked closely with the online edition to produce many of the Post’s first multimedia and interactive projects such as the “Siberia and Finland Diaries.” Colleagues in Russia were the inspiration to co-found InterFoto, an annual non-profit international photography conference held in Moscow, and more recently, he co-founded the photography collective, Facing Change: Documenting America.
Perkins’s recent book, Hard Art, DC, captures the beginning of the Washington, D.C., punk-music scene in 1979 while revealing its reverberating impact today. And in award-winning Runway Madness, he delivers a ringside tongue-in-cheek look at the New York fashion shows.
Solo and group exhibitions have shown at World Press, Amsterdam; Art in Embassies shows in Sarajevo, Tokyo and Ankara; Newseum in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York; and Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, Durham, among other venues.