T.J. Kirkpatrick is a documentary photographer based in Washington, D.C. He was born in California in 1984 and studied journalism at Boston University. After beginning his career in community newspapers in New England, he shifted to international humanitarian coverage before settling into a mix of documentary projects and photojournalism focused on national politics.
His professional and personal work is centered on advancing an awareness of the people and environments around us. T.J. slows down to better connect with his surroundings, finding humanizing moments and joy within the ordinary. Ultimately, his photographs invite viewers to be curious about the world around them and question what they know and believe.
He has exhibited work nationally and internationally, including the School of Visual Arts in New York, Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, and The Lucie Awards’ traveling Best-of-Show. T.J. is a regular contributor to The New York Times and his work has been recognized by American Photography, CENTER Santa Fe, PDN’s Photo Annual, and NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism.
Act Like One
While covering the 2016 presidential campaign, alongside my photojournalism assignments, I produced this body of personal work. For this portrait series, I met and photographed participants at campaign stops and political rallies with the intention to avoid any campaign signs and other ideological identifiers in the portraits. By pairing the portraits with statements quoted from our conversation about each participant’s core values and hopes, I aimed to create a space for consideration of these fellow American citizens as whole people with valid opinions and lived experiences. My goal in presenting this work is to encourage Americans to engage with the ‘other’ in their daily lives. I want Americans to recognize that people they may disagree with are human beings, which creates the opportunity to act like one themselves.
Rock Creek Park
Starting in the uncertain summer of 2020 and carrying on through the roller coaster of 2021, I regularly shouldered a large format camera and hiked into Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. With a new normal and the constant back-and-forth of variants and rising infection waves, I needed to find a sense of peace and I suspected that I wasn’t alone. Created in the shared backyard of one of the oldest urban parks in the country, this work serves to remind us how connected we remain despite the unsettling events surrounding us. These images depict our small acts of survival in the face of dispiriting times.