College of Media at Illinois

University of IllinoisCollege of Media

Faculty Profiles

Ledford Charles

Charles "Stretch" Ledford

242 Gregory Hall


M.A., Multimedia Journalism, University of Miami
B.A., Journalism and Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Course Specialties

Visual and Multimedia Journalism


Named the Associated Press Media Editors 2014 Innovator of the Year for College Students, Stretch Ledford has worked as a visual journalist telling stories through still and moving images in more than 50 countries on five continents. His career began as a staff photojournalist for The State (Columbia, SC), The Fayetteville (NC) Observer, The Durham (NC) Morning Herald, The St. Petersburg (FL) Times and The Commission, the journal of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board.

As a freelance photojournalist and advertising photographer, Ledford has been published by The Atlantic, Consumer Reports, Health, Ladies Home Journal, Mens Journal, Modern Maturity, Newsweek, Outside, POZ, Readers Digest, Smithsonian, Time, USA Weekend, The Washington Post Sunday Magazine, the Washingtonian, The Associated Press, Black Star, Knight Ridder/Tribune News, United Press International, The Wall Street Journal, Advanced Micro Devices, Arnold Worldwide, Bank One, CNN, Continental Airlines, Cryolife, Deere & Company, Dominion, DuPont, Freddie Mac, Genworth, Geico, Kindercare Learning Centers, KPMG, The Martin Agency, Mazda, Nike, Ogilvy & Mather, Ping, the Rocky Mountain School of Design, the Royal Bank of Canada, Ryder, Sanofi-Aventis, Shell, Sports Illustrated, Tillamook Creamery, Trigon/Blue Cross, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Wal-Mart, Washington Mutual Bank, Whole Foods Market, XCel Energy, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, the Grossman Burn Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement Worldwide, MercyCorps, Project Angel Heart, Project HOPE and the YMCA.

Ledfords multimedia work has been featured online and broadcast by NBCs Nightly News with Brian Williams, Today, Time, Huffington Post, The Weather Channel, the BBC, The Atlantic, the Globe and Mail (Toronto), the Daily Mail (London), the Nippon Television Network (Japan), Gawker and WILL-TV. He is a contributing video editor at

Galleries and museums in Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska and Virginia have displayed Ledfords photographs. His work has been recognized with awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the Online News Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the New York Art Directors Club, the International Photography Awards and Communication Arts Magazines Photography Annual.

Research/Creative Endeavor

Ledford’s current projects employ novel digital distribution methods for original multimedia content and are designed to catalyze reflexive discussions among members of economically and technologically marginalized communities.  Rooted in the photojournalistic tradition, his work combines 35mm DSLR video with film elicitation to explore and expand the points at which the visual, the sociological, and the journalistic aspects of storytelling intersect.

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