I’m a staff photographer at the Houston Chronicle shooting and producing both still and moving images in the nation’s fourth largest city.

My journey to the newspaper began in a college darkroom where I first witnessed the birth of a photograph. Since then, photojournalism has taken me up and down the Eastern Coast, as far south as balmy Miami to the frigid north in upstate New York and back to Texas where I landed one of my first gigs as a professional.

But before I go through my resume, let’s rewind to the beginning. I was born in Puerto Rico where color and beauty were a natural part of my upbringing in a country hamlet. Homeschooled through much of my formative years, my mother transformed our jungle-like environment into a classroom where we learned by simply observing our verdant surroundings. I entered college young, at just 17, determined to study, of all things, human behavior as a psychology major.

Before I could finish, however, life took me to Florida. I enrolled at the local college to finish my degree and indulged in an elective photography class. From the moment I saw the shapes emerge from beneath the chemicals, the idea of making this my career seized my heart.

Uncovering my artistic propensities and merging it with journalism was the next step. I joined the college publication and soon became photo editor. The New York Times Student Journalism Institute introduced me to the industry and laid the foundation for my career. Newspaper internships led to staff positions and later, workshops like the Eddie Adams Workshop and Chips Quinn bolstered my skill set and portfolio. Though my strength was still photography and illustrations, I embraced video as another storytelling medium and continue to find novel ways to present myriad narratives.

After nearly three years at Gannett’s Democrat & Chronicle, an opportunity surfaced in Houston just as the Chronicle entered a new era. I was brought in to boost the newspaper’s visual and online video prowess while telling the stories of the people of this grand state.

Awards List:

Finalist: Pulitzer Prize - Public Service - April 2017
Winner: Public Service Award: Scripps Howard Foundation - March 2017
Winner: The Charles E. Green Awards (2016) - Tapb and Tapme Best online package
Second Place: APME (Texas) Best Video under two minutes - March 2017
Third Place: APME (Texas) Best Video under two minutes - March 2017 
Winner: Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service Journalism for "Denied"
Third Place: Star Photojournalist of the Year (Class 4A) - March 2016
Honorable Mention: NPPA Best of Photojournalism - 2016

Twitter: @mariedennise
Instagram: @mariedennise
Phone: 585.520.6921
Email: dejesuslb6@gmail.com

Photo by Jen Rynda

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