07/11/2013 09:50 am ET

Camilo Jose Vergara Becomes First Photographer to Receive National Humanities Medal


A New York-based documentarian who has dedicated his career to recording some of the poorest and most segregated communities in the United States became the first photographer to receive a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday.

Camilo José Vergara was born in Chile but has spent decades traveling to the places most tourists try to avoid: Detroit, Camden, Oakland, East Los Angeles.

His goal, he said during an interview after the medal ceremony, is to record things.

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