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A Career with Resolution

Photojournalist Melissa Bunni Elian was once a photographer for the Torch yearbook. (Photo, courtesy of Melissa Bunni Elian) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 7, 2017) – Acclaimed multimedia journalist and UAlbany alumna Melissa Bunni Elian is paying her former professor a visit.

Elian ’10, will be a guest speaker in Katherine Van Acker’s Photojournalism class on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 2:45 p.m. in the Science Library, G12. Elian, a former Torch photographer, once described Van Acker as her “coolest teacher.” It was in her class that Elian learned that photography has an impact on society.

Elian is based in Yonkers, N.Y. Since graduating from UAlbany, her work has been published in The Journal News, National Geographic, The New York Times, New York Times Magazine and New York Daily News. She has created content for the United Nations and Google. Elian is a founding member of the Bronx Photo League whose first book, The Jerome Avenue Workers Project, was named one of the top 50 photography books by American Photo Magazine.

“It means a lot to me personally when a former student can come back to speak to my class,” Van Acker said. “My hope is that the current class will feel encouraged by seeing how someone has been able to launch their career.”

The class is a photography workshop. Students are working on their final projects, which have a multimedia component.

Elian’s personal work focuses on stories from the African Diaspora, social justice and issues of structural inequality. Next month, she will travel to South Africa to document the Afropunk movement, an international black political movement of acceptance, self-love and resistance. More information about Elian’s career is available.

Additional UAlbany students and faculty who are interested in journalism and documentary studies are invited. Elian’s talk is not open to the media. Please contact Van Acker with questions at

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