Penny De Los Santos of - Biography

New York, NY

July 2012

A graduate of Texas A&M’s journalism program and Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, Penny De Los Santos entered the world of photography as a way to understand her own diverse cultural background and identity.  De Los Santos was born in Europe to an American military family that eventually settled in small town Texas. And with generations of family history tied to the Texas-Mexico border, her background inevitably inspired curiosity about culture.  

From the historical all-male dining clubs of the Basque country to Jerusalem’s most besieged marketplaces, culture is at the heart of De Los Santos’s work, influencing her choice of subjects and her process. But her recent evolution into food photography allows her to explore and celebrate culture, history, and community through the lens food. And the fact that she has been able to travel extensively as part of her work—all over the United States and to more than 30 countries—means De Los Santos has been exposed to more culinary variety than most food photographers could ever hope to see.

A Senior Contributing Photographer to Saveur, De Los Santos also is a regular contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine. Over the course of her career, she’s received numerous grants, fellowships, and awards for her documentary photography, including The National Geographic Photography Grant, the Prestigious World Press Joop Stewart Masterclass, the Eastman Kodak Photography Grant, Canon USA Photography Grant, the California New Media Award, Ohio University School of Visual Communication Photography Grant, and The Parson’s School of Design Marty Fortier Fellowship. Her work has been featured in Time, News Week, and Sports Illustrated to Latina, Texas Monthly, and Paris Match. She also has been a contract photographer for numerous publishing companies and cookbooks.