Nuri Vallbona, is a documentary photojournalist and writer who has focused most of her career on social justice projects such as modern-day slavery, inner-city poverty, immigration and crime. Her love for her Latina roots led her to become an active participant in the National Association of Hispanic journalists where she became one of 35 Hispanic photographers chosen by actor Edward James Olmos to document Latino life for the book, Americanos.
The daughter of immigrants, she was born in Houston and majored in photojournalism at the University of Texas. After graduation, she worked for various newspapers in Texas, including the Dallas Morning News, Houston Post and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her Latina heritage and language skills facilitated her coverage of Latin America, including the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, a volcanic eruption in Colombia and immigration issues.
In 1993 she signed on with the Miami Herald where she focused on documentary essays about the community around her. She chronicled the enslavement of farmworkers, teen violence, the jailing of the mentally ill and the effects of the housing crisis in South Florida.
Her work has won her awards and honors from the National Press
Photographers Association, the Associated Press Managing Editors, the Catholic Press and others. She was also a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. In 1999 some of her work from “Americanos” was featured in an exhibit at the Smithsonian. This was followed by a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University. More recently, her photographs appeared in the Suffrage Now exhibit at the Elizabeth Ney museum and in the book, The One Ann Only, aboutformer Texas governor Ann Richards
After her return to Texas, she began writing articles for the National Catholic Reporter’s Global Sisters Report and photographing for Reuters. She also began a teaching career, first at Texas Tech University and then at the University of Texas at Austin where she taught Reporting Words before migrating to various photojournalism courses.