BANGKOK – Charles Dharapak, a veteran photographer who has spent the past decade chronicling the activities and travels of U.S. presidents and American political campaigns, has been named Asia-Pacific regional photo editor for The Associated Press.
The appointment was announced Monday by Ted Anthony, the AP's director of Asia-Pacific news, to whom Dharapak will report.
"As much as anyone I've met in our profession, Charlie gets it," Anthony said. "He is not only a wonderful photographer but an extremely nimble mind and an innovator in all forms of journalism. I'm excited to see what he'll do to help us make our news report more useful to our customers and more finely tuned to the Asia-Pacific region's increasingly digital audiences."
Dharapak, 43, has been based in Washington for the AP since 2003 and frequently travels with the president on Air Force One. Since 2003 he has covered the White House under Bush and Obama, national politics, and the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Recently he has taken a visible role in advocating greater press access under the Obama administration.
He joined the AP in 1995 as a staff photographer based in Southeast Asia. While based in Bangkok, he covered the Cambodian civil war and the democracy movement in Myanmar. He later became AP's chief photographer and photo editor in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he covered the protests and riots that led to the fall of Suharto; East Timor's independence; various communal and religious conflicts; and the rise of Muslim extremism.
In 2002, Dharapak spent considerable time photographing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His work in Gaza in 2002 was recognized by the Associated Press Managing Editors, and he has received numerous awards for his Washington political coverage. In 2012, he was named photographer of the year by the White House News Photographers Association. He is also a frequent smartphone photographer whose images have earned him a dedicated following in the Instagram community.
"Charlie's progression from photographer to regional photo editor is testament to his ability and desire to share his considerable knowledge with the Asia photo staff," said Santiago Lyon, AP vice president and director of photography. "I am confident he will prove to be as fine a leader as he has been a photographer, and that our staff and customers in Asia will benefit from the appointment."
Dharapak, who grew up in the New York City borough of Staten Island, received degrees in print journalism and economics at New York University. He is fluent in Thai and versed in Bahasa Indonesia.
Dharapak will be based in Bangkok, joining Anthony, Asia-Pacific Regional Video Editor Celine Rosario and Assistant Asia Editor Vijay Joshi at the AP's Asia-Pacific regional headquarters. His appointment marks the first time that the Asia-Pacific leaders of all of AP's primary journalism formats — photos, video and text — will be located in the same place.