First Photographer to be Awarded National Humanities Medal

His name is Camilo Jose Vergara, and not only is he the first photographer to receive a high honor for story reporting, he is also Chilean.

According to NBC Latino, Vergara has spent more than 40 years telling his stories through pictures. Yesterday the photographer was presented with the 2012 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

“For more than four decades, I have devoted myself to photographing and systematically documenting the poorest and most segregated communities in urban America,” Vergara said in an essay for LightBox.

“My focus is on established East Coast cities such as New York, Newark and Camden; rust belt cities of the Midwest like Detroit and Chicago; and such West Coast cities as Los Angeles and Richmond, California.”