Melissa Farlow


The Media School Distinguished Alumni Award (2012)
B.A., 1974
Pulitzer Prize (1976)


Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Melissa Farlow has contributed to National Geographic publications for almost 20 years, traveling around the globe to capture images from Africa to Alaska to the Austrian Alps.

Farlow, who was photo editor of the Indiana Daily Student and editor-in-chief of the Arbutus, began her career in 1974 at The (Louisville, Kentucky.) Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times. Two years later, she won a Pulitzer Prize for a team project that documented the desegregation of Louisville schools. She also was a staff photographer at The Pittsburgh Press, where her portfolio won national honors, before she became a freelance photojournalist.

Farlow's work has appeared frequently in National Geographic magazine, Smithsonian, GEO and in dozens of books. She has traveled on assignment to Africa, Latin America and around much of the United States. Her magazine work documents subjects such as mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia and the plight of wild mustangs in the American West. Among her books are Long Road South, about the Pan American highway, and Wildlands of the West, both published by National Geographic. Farlow and her husband, National Geographic photographer Randy Olson, also produce images for national corporate and nonprofit clients including Audi, Toyota, the Ford Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and Habitat for Humanity.

Farlow has a master's degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Mo. She taught photojournalism at the school and has served on faculty of The Missouri Photo Workshop for almost 20 years. She also has taught at the Center for Photographic Studies in Louisville and the Anderson Ranch of Fine Arts in Aspen, Colorado.

Farlow has won numerous awards for her work, including a National Headliner Award and several honors in Missouri's Pictures of the Year International competition, sponsored by the Missouri School of Journalism's Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.