Chris Schwarz

Two-year-old Samantha takes a nap in one of the two small bedrooms in the cramped Edmonton inner-city apartment she lives in with her mother and three brothers. The photograph, from PhotoSensitive’s Child Poverty project, was taken by Chris Schwarz and published in the Edmonton Journal on December 2, 2001, as part of a seven-page special report on child poverty.

So many donations for Samantha and her family started pouring into the newspaper that the next day the paper ran a story asking readers to stop dropping off money and gifts at the Journal building and instead make donations to local charities. Reader response to the report, and especially to the picture of Samantha, was one of the largest the newspaper has ever had.

Yet in spite of public support to act on child poverty, the situation in Canada has worsened according to Campaign 2000 and its 2012 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty. In 1989, the Canadian House of Commons unanimously resolved to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000, but in 2013 Canada still has no national anti-poverty strategy. 

Chris Schwarz studied photography at Humber College, and since 1976 he has worked on staff with newspapers and as an editorial magazine photographer in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa. In 1989, Chris joined Macleans Magazine in Toronto as a staff photographer and associate photo editor covering international and national stories. During this time he published Caribana: The Greatest Celebration (Random House). From 1997 to 2011, he worked as a senior staff photographer at the Edmonton Journal. He has received top prizes from the National Newspaper Awards, Canadian Association of Journalists, National Magazine Awards, and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Photography Awards among others. 

Chris is currently on contract with the Government of Alberta, Office of the Premier.