Often, for many people, life flashes by in the blink of an eye. Historical events come and go, and what’s left behind is a bleak memory. One way to capture life’s moments is through photography. Photographs can enrich the mind and enhance the senses. By looking at an old photograph, you can see still moments of time. One thing to honor fantastic photojournalists and their photographs is the Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer Prize is an award for an achievement in American journalism, literature or music. There are a number each year. Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded to journalists, photojournalists and artists since the early 20th century. Each decade has had numerous Pulitzer Prize winners for photojurnalism, and throughout this piece, a few noteworthy photographs will be discussed.
In the 1940s, the Iwo Jima (1945) Pulitzer Prize Winner was taken. This image depicts a group of U.S. Marines standing a United States flag in Iwo Jima, Japan, after their “capture of the peak.” This picture evokes a lot of feeling, especially for those Americans who lived during World War II. You can feel the triumph in the photo. The men who seemed completely and utterly exhausted used all their might to plant the United States flag, invoking a nationalistic feeling in many Americans. This picture also invokes a feeling of hope, as during World War II, many people were terrified of what the outcome of the war would be.
Skipping ahead a few years, for the 1960s, the Saigon Execution (1968) Pulitzer Prize Winner was taken. This image depicts the final moment of a Viet Cong prisoner’s life. You can see the terror in the prisoner’s face as he is about to lose his life. You can also see the sadness he is feeling. He knows he is about to die and looks utterly petrified. You can feel this man’s loneliness as he is about to die in the company of a photojournalist and the man about to execute him. Last, you can see the still-faced man about to take the life of another. He is utterly emotionless, and his facial expression looks as if he could care less. As the photographer of this photo, Eddie Adams, stated in the documentary, however, this was a war. This was just a thing that “happened.” This demonstrates how war can bring out the heartlessness and selfishness in people.