An amazing feat of journalist photographers is to capture inspiring people in action. For the 1993 Barcelona Olympics, William Snyder and Ken Geiger did just that. One of their photos in the film captures two of America’s male track athletes running side by side. Mid stride, their feet did not even touch the ground in the photo. The one ahead had a big, playful smile, and the one behind looked playfully offended. The viewer of the photo can see that the two athletes felt as if they flew.
The Pulitzer Prize does not just honor event photos, but also excellent feature photographers. John White is one such photographer whose Pulitzer photos added to the film. A funny Pulitzer photo of his was featured with his “Chicago Life” photos from 1982. In the photo, a museum employee sat up on a tall ladder by a T-rex skeleton. Facing the camera, the employee brushed the dinosaur’s teeth with a giant toothbrush. “You look at my Pulitzer photographs, and they’re not the page one stories,” White said. “But they were stories about people. Every day.”
Like White, many journalist photographers focus on people and their interactions with life. The sad “Babe Ruth Farewell” became a Pulitzer winning photo. That day, in 1949, Ruth stood by the home plate, his bat balanced on the ground from his hand. Nathaniel Fein, the photographer, took the shot from the field, behind Ruth. At the edge of the field stood Ruth’s baseball team with hats removed. The stadium seats held thick crowds of fans bidding farewell. Fein’s view choice makes the viewer see the event from Ruth’s perspective. As a result, the photo connects the viewer with the astounding baseball player.
Journalist photographers live an adventure to connect people with the world they live in. A “Glimpse of Life: the Pulitzer Photographs describes this adventure. It involves heartbreak, risk, humility and eyes to see the beauty in life.
The Pulitzer Prize goes to photos that capture the fraction of a second that people connect with. Such photos are a hard-fought sacrifice that can empower people with knowledge. “You look at a still picture, you see it and it’s over and it goes on the shelf,” Adams said in the film, “But a still picture you see all the time…. The most powerful weapon that we have in the world is a still photograph.”