About Me

My name is Owen Ziliak (he/him) and I am a senior photojournalism, political science and religious studies student at the University of Missouri- Columbia. I became a journalist to learn about and share the wide range of perspectives and experiences people have in the United States and across the world. I have interned at the Chicago Sun-Times and Sioux City Journal, and been a staff photographer and photo editor at the Columbia Missourian. In my images, I strive to find the intersection of beauty and context to tell stories that are simultaneously  informational and visually appealing. I will graduate in May 2024. Following graduation, I will join the visuals staff of the Arizona Republic as a Pulliam Fellow. 

My work has appeared in the Associated Press, New York Times, San Antonio Express, Lincoln Journal Star, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Kansas City Star and many other news outlets. 

I am available for freelance assignments throughout Missouri and the Midwest.

Call +1 847-691-7638 or email ziliakphoto@gmail.com with questions or interest. 

“I light candles, I don't curse the darkness." - John H. White


Awards/Honors/Workshops

2023-24 Hearst Journalism Awards, Photojournalism I- News and Features Competition, First Place

2024 NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Science, 3rd Place

75th Missouri Photo Workshop Alum

2024 NPPF Mary Lou Foy Still and Multimedia Scholarship Recipient  

2023 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, Best Sports Feature Photograph, 2nd and 3rd place (Columbia Missourian)

2023 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, Best Photo Package, 1st place (staff), for Wooldridge Fire coverage (Columbia Missourian) 

2023 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, Best Photo Package, 3rd place, for "Undefeated" (Columbia Missourian)

2022 Hearst Journalism Awards’ Intercollegiate Photo Picture Story/Series competition, 16th place, for "Undefeated" (Columbia Missourian)

2023 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest, National Newspaper Association Foundation, Second Place, Best Feature Photo, Daily Division for "2022 Saturday in the Park- Black Pistol Fire" (Sioux City Journal)

2021 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards, 1st place, Feature Photography, Region 7 for "Fanning a dying flame: Missouri blacksmiths are keeping a centuries-old art alive" (Vox Magazine)

2022 LION Local Journalism Awards- Finalist, Outstanding Coverage, Medium/Large Revenue Tier for coverage on homelessness in Columbia, Mo. (Columbia Missourian)

2023 STL Press Club Karlheinz and Doris Finzel Scholarship for Photojournalism

Kodak Professional Photography Scholars Fund Recipient, January 2021-Present

Erasmus+ Grant Recipient

Dean’s List- All semesters (Fall 2020-Spring 2024)


Using Format