If you’re a photojournalist, you need to know Melissa Lyttle. And even if you have a different niche, you should know her anyway. Lyttle is an independent visual journalist in Los Angeles, having previously worked as a staff photographer for a number of newspapers in Florida for 15 years. She founded the now-retired A Photo a Day website, which led to the launch of “Geek Fest” – an annual celebration of photography that moves from city to city each year. And in all her free time, she serves as President of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), bringing a new perspective and energy to a storied institution that is facing pressure from the online world and changing demographics.
This year, Geek Fest traveled to the City of Angels and featured one of the most interesting and diverse line-ups I’ve seen in a photography festival. Following the 2 1/2 day gathering, I caught up with Lyttle in her Eagle Rock home and was treated to an incredibly insightful and thoughtful conversation with one of the industry’s strongest advocates. We talked about life after a staff position, all the stuff that NPPA does for photographers that you don’t even know about, and sexual harassment in the photo industry.