Michelle Stephenson, award-winning director of photography at TIME for 19 years, has announced that she will be taking early retirement and leaving the magazine on Jan. 5, 2007. Mary Anne Golon, currently TIME's picture editor, will assume the title of director of photography, TIME managing editor Richard Stengelannounced in a staff memo on Dec. 29.
Stengel, who became TIME's managing editor in May, described Stephenson as "a legend in the photojournalism world. She is a tireless champion of world-class photojournalism, and cares as much about her photographers as their images." He also praised her "extraordinary kindness, patience, honesty and generosity."
According to the memo, Stephenson is "working on a new photojournalism festival for America called PhotoVisaWest." The festival, which is being organized by Golon, has been the subject of rumors among photo editors and photojournalists for the past year, but no specific plans or dates have yet been announced.
Stephenson joined the picture department of Time Inc. directly after college. In 1977 she left to work on a magazine launched by the New York Times, then served as assistant managing editor at the relaunched Look for a year. She returned to TIME as deputy picture editor for special projects, and was named the magazine's third director of photography in 1987.
As head of the TIME photo department, Stephenson has earned numerous awards from Pictures of the Year and Best of Photojournalism and has served as a judge for the Overseas Press Club and many World Press Photo competitions. She currently serves on the board of the Alexia Foundation, a non-profit organization which funds photojournalism projects.
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