The World’s Most Powerful Weapon

What makes a photo worthy of a Pulitzer Prize? There are many things that can qualify. The short film, “A Glimpse of Life–The Pulitzer Photos,” features many photojournalists discussing  the Pulitzer Prize. “It’s not a photography contest. It’s about telling some of the biggest stories of the year,” William Snyder said. Since the 1960s, there are two Pulitzers for photojournalism: Feature Photography and Breaking News Photography.

“Burst of Joy” is a photo from 1974. It pictures a group of five rushing to greet a former POW who has returned to America. The amount of happiness coming from this photo is unreal. One of the three women in the photo has her arms open to hug the POW as he walks toward his family. All in this picture have smiles on their faces. This photo is an important example in photojournalism because of how well it can portray the emotions of that family from that point in time.

In “Babe Ruth’s Farewell” from 1949, we see the back of Babe Ruth, with his baseball jersey, his hat in one hand and bat in the other, resting on the ground like a cane. All eyes are on him as he stands alone by home base. When you look at this photo, there is an air of sadness from the crowd as the famous player prepares for retirement. With photos like these, “It’s a front seat to history” John White said.

John White’s pictures showing life in Chicago is a moving collection. One picture shows a nun praying with a young boy with her hand on the back of his neck. According to White, “Everyone has a story. And we sing their song. If we don’t do it– if the journalist doesn’t do it– who’s going to do it?” With his collection “Life in Chicago,” readers can see the backbone of the city and what makes it Chicago.

In “Ruby Shoots Oswald” we see the moment in time right after Oswald is shot. There is panic and disbelief on people’s faces in the surrounding area. There are even some in the photo who seem to not know what is going on, and they won’t know until they turn around. Robert Jackson, the photographer, said, “If I had planned it, I probably would have missed it.”

The last picture is from 1998, showing a young boy surrounded by others, but you can only see their hands or feet. The boy is looking up with curiosity just to the right of the picture. Children can have a sense of hope, even in the hardest of times. This picture confirms that. Martha Rial’s “Rwandan Refugees” shows the struggles that this community had and its hardships during that time.

The thing that sets theses photos apart from others is how they illustrate the world around us. Photojournalism is more than a profession, it’s a calling. Just with any writer or dancer, there needs to be that passion to continue doing it. Otherwise pictures have no life or character to them. “The most powerful weapon that we have in the world is a still photograph.” Pulitzer winner Eddie Adams said.

Iwo Jima.