First Photographer to be Awarded National Humanities Medal

Vergara was given the award for "his stark visual representation of American cities.”

The Chilean photographer, who received a masters in sociology from Columbia University in 1977, originally used people as his muse. “But increasingly, I became drawn to the urban fabric of America’s poor inner cities — to the buildings that composed it and the life and culture embedded in its structures and streets,” he said.

“Through photography, I have become a builder of virtual cities…My hope is that my long-term records will become part of our collective urban memory.”