The Associated Press Hires Its First Woman Director of Photography

The AP

The Associated Press (AP), winner of 58 Pulitzer Prizes and one of the world’s most essential and significant news agencies, has named veteran photojournalist Lucy Nicholson its next Director of Photography. Nicholson is the first woman ever to assume the role.

Nicholson will assume her new role “around the end of May” and take over for J. David Ake, who was named Director of Photography in November 2018. During his tenure, Ake oversaw numerous significant changes at AP, including the organization’s shift to exclusively using Sony cameras. The AP also added AI-powered search to its photo and video licensing platform last year, one of the many examples of how the news media landscape has changed in recent years.

Lucy Nicholson will bring nearly two decades of professional photojournalism experience to AP, including 17 years as a Los Angeles-based Reuters photographer. In that role, she worked on many stories across the world, including as part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2019 for its coverage of migrants traveling to the United States.

She also covered many major sporting events, including eight Olympics, several NFL Super Bowls, and 16 NBA finals.

Nicholson was most recently Reuters Europe Editor, leading nearly 200 staff and contract photographers, visual journalists, and photo editors in 50 countries across the region. During this time, she has led photo coverage of the biggest stories in Europe, including the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Lucy Nicholson is the first woman to serve as AP’s Director of Photography in the organization’s long and illustrious history. She will serve in her role from London and report to Derl McCrudden, AP’s Vice President and Head of Global News Production, who is also in London.

 Associated Press names first woman director of photography. Lucy Nicholson.
Lucy Nicholson is expected to start her new role as the AP’s Director of Photography by the end of May. | Image by Keston Duke

Originally from the United Kingdom, Nicholson has a master’s degree in journalism, science, and climate from Columbia University, studied international politics at Penn State, and attended the Graduate School of Journalism at The City University of New York.

Nicholson is from a family of journalists. Her sister, Sophie Nicholson, is a television, radio, and print journalist and the Deputy Chief Editor for Agence France-Press (AFP) Fact Check in Paris.

In the age of artificial intelligence, it is worth noting that beyond a rich resume as a photojournalist and editor, Nicholson has also been involved with the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI).

“As documentary photojournalists, we try to represent the truth of news events — and the visual context of news events — as best as we can. We typically do that by sharing a wide range of photographs, to show context, and to allow an audience to make up their minds about something. Disinformation, up until now, has had abstract effects on our lives as photojournalists. In the last year in particular, it’s had very tangible effects on journalists’ physical safety,” Nicholson said during a CAI presentation in April 2023.