Thomas James Hurst is an American photographer, pastor, and entrepreneur/inventor.
Hurst was born in San Francisco, California, in 1971 and grew up in Mill Valley, California, graduating from Tamalpais High School in 1989. In the summer of 1992, Hurst traveled to the war raging in Bosnia and at the age of 21 he took his first photograph inside the besieged city of Sarajevo. Hurst returned to Marin County, California where he had been studying cultural anthropology at the College of Marin Community College in Kentfield, California and he began focusing solely on photography. Hurst returned to the war in Bosnia again the following Summer of 1993 and Upon his return home, Hurst completed his studies at College of Marin and transferred to San Francisco State University enrolling in the University’s Photojournalism program studying under Professor Ken Kobre. During winter and summer breaks Hurst traveled to Afghanistan, Haiti and Rwanda, where he worked for such publications as Time, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. It was his work in Rwanda that earned him two World Press Photo Awards. In 1997 Hurst was offered a staff position with The Boston Globe, where he was on staff for two years. Leaving The Boston Globe to pursue his international freelancing, setting his base of operations in Seattle, Washington. In March 1999, Hurst accepted an assignment for Time magazine, spending two months covering the war in Kosovo, which garnered him his third World Press Photo Award. Upon his return to Seattle, Hurst was offered a staff position at the Seattle Times, where he spent 10 years covering local, national, and international news. In the fall of 1999 Hurst was part of the Seattle Times photo staff coverage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Riots in Seattle which led the Times Photo Department to finish as the finalist in the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography behind the Rocky Mountain News’ Staff coverage of the Columbine School Massacre in Littleton, Colorado. In 2004 Hurst spent a month imbedded with US troops in the Iraq war and then he returned to Pakistan to cover the earthquake in Kashmir where work earned the Photograph of the Year award by Editor & Publisher magazine. During his 10 years at the Seattle Times, Hurst earned numerous regional awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists.