The National Union of Journalists is awarding US photojournalist Chuck Rapoport with a unique Honorary Life Membership of its Cardiff and South East Wales branch on Thursday 18 May 2017 for his work covering the Aberfan disaster for LIFE Magazine.
The award will be given to the acclaimed photographer for his work covering the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster in 1966 and the friendships he made within the community.
Branch chair Martin Shipton explained: “Chuck lived within the Aberfan community in the difficult months after the disaster and at a time when there was suspicion of journalists because of the way the disaster had been covered by some media.
“Chuck overcame the hostility and suspicion to become accepted within the community. He made lifelong friends and some of them will celebrate Chuck’s unique award with us.
“The NUJ is proud of its code of ethics that our members should apply in their work and, unknowingly, Chuck did that in spades.
“There were many journalists who honourably covered this tragic story, but we felt that to gain the community’s trust in the way that Chuck did, and the lifelong friendships made, make him a worthy recipient of the first honorary life membership our branch has given.”
Chuck Rapoport said: “I am overwhelmed at the award the NUJ Cardiff branch has made and am extremely proud to become a life member of a great trade union.
“When I went to Aberfan in 1966 it was to photograph a story of a town without children. It soon became clear that there were many children in the town and I was privileged to have been accepted by the community.
“The work I did in Aberfan, both in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and in the years following, has created an enduring memory of the difficult times the Aberfan people have faced.
“This award will be treasured by me and is also for the people of Aberfan. I look forward to returning to Cardiff in the future and meeting up with my new trade union chums for a chat and a few drinks.”
Chuck made a short slideshow for the award ceremony of some of his acclaimed work covering subjects as diverse as Fidel Castro, John F Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Samuel Beckett, Francois Truffaut, Joseph Pilates and Aberfan.
There will also be an exhibition of Chuck’s iconic work for Life Magazine about the Aberfan disaster at the award ceremony.