Ron Tarver received a BA in Journalism and Graphic Arts from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK and an MFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He serves as an Associate Professor of Studio Art specializing in photography at Swarthmore College. Before Swarthmore, Tarver was a photojournalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 32 years where he shares a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his work on a series documenting school violence in the Philadelphia public school system and has been nominated three previous times. His work has been published in National Geographic, Life, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Black and White Magazine. He is co-author of the book We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, published by Harper Collins in 2004, which was accompanied by a traveling exhibition that debuted at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Tarver has distinguished himself in the field of fine art photography. He is a 2021 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, has received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts through BLAC Inc. in Oklahoma City, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and two Independence Foundation Fellowships. He was named one of the Delaware Valley's "50 Rising Stars in the Arts" by Seven Arts Magazine and is an alumnus of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists. In 2020 his current project, An Overdue Conversation With My Father, was awarded a solo exhibit during the 94th Annual International competition at The Print Center in Philadelphia.
Tarver's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in over 30 solo and 50 group exhibitions and is included in many private, corporate, and museum collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Oklahoma Museum of History, Studio Museum in Harlem, and the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. His work is represented by Robin Rice Gallery in New York, Soho-Myriad in Atlanta, Georgia, and Grand Image in Seattle, Washington.