Taking the perfect picture and becoming a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer is no easy task. After all, a Pulitzer Prize is the biggest honor a photojournalist can achieve. Those who choose this photojournalist path in life can no longer just live for the moment. They need to always be “on call,” in a constant state of alert. Always waiting for that fleeting moment that will change everything. And it might never happen. One second longer that it takes them to put on their boots, one trip to the bathroom, one day they don’t have their camera on them…. That’s all it takes to miss the photo of a lifetime.
As photojournalists, they are bound to witness things that will affect their mental health. They need to get close and many times immerse themselves in tragedies they know they don’t have the power to change. The only thing they can do is help tell those stories, and they might go through a very traumatic experience and not even manage to get a good photo.
Taking a Pulitzer-worthy photo is an unmatched accomplishment. After everything they had to go through, they will know they have fulfilled their mission and it was worth it. There will be those who won’t understand the importance of what they did and what it cost them. “This was happening right in front of you, and you were taking photos? Why didn’t you help?” People accused Frank Fournier, for example, of being a “vulture” for photographing Omayra Sánchez’s last moments, even though there was no way he could have helped her. He did the one thing he could have done: make sure she wasn’t forgotten.