Hearing the Story Behind the Photo

     Winning a Pulitzer Prize is not an easy thing to do. You may have to put your life at risk to get the perfect picture. And most of the time the greatest picture you have ever taken is when you least expect it. Every day photojournalists go out into danger to get that perfect picture. A movie called “A Glimpse of Life: The Pulitzer Photographs” shows some of the best pictures taken in history. There are not many photojournalists who have won the Pulitzer Prize through the decades. 

     One of the best pictures that won a Pulitzer Prize was by Joe Rosenthal. In 1945 he got a perfect shot that shows American soldiers’ victory. American soldiers came together to raise a flag on a piece of land in Iwo Jima, to show they had taken it over. These soldiers went through a long battle, and this was their sign of victory. “It’s a front seat to history,” Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist John White said. Photojournalists put their lives at risk all the time. And if they did not, we would not have been able to witness this moment in history. This picture is well known because it is a part of history. But it also shows strength, happiness and victory. Rosenthal was able to provide us with an important piece to U.S. history.

     History is not the only reason photojournalists go out and take pictures of events. They may do it because of a prisoner. When prisoners are spotted by photojournalists, they continue taking pictures of them until they are out of sight. In 1969, Eddie Adams took his Pulitzer Prize winning photo. He got a picture of a prisoner being shot in the head by a general in the South Vietnam police. This is one of the last things that anyone would have thought would happen. Getting the perfect picture and the best timing is not the goal. “It is not a photography contest. It’s about telling some of the biggest stories of the year,” Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist William Snyder said. These pictures are taken to show people’s stories. This picture was to tell the last moments of this prisoner’s life and how fast something can change. 

     As history went on, so did photojournalism. Sadly, disasters and bombings kept happening. But those are the biggest pieces of history. A Pulitzer Prize winning picture taken by Nick Ut really shows the effects on innocent people. In 1973, Ut took a picture of women and children running away from their homes that had just been bombed. Some of these children had their clothes burned off. You can see the terror on these children’s faces. “Something about a still moment in time that does touch people,” Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Carol Guzy said. This picture is hard to look at, but it is a moment in time that these women and children, experienced. Ut did take children who needed care to the hospital after he shot his photos. That’s part of being a photojournalist. Ut and many others who have won Pulitzer Prizes by putting their lives at risk help people in the moment whenever they can. 

     Photojournalism can be a hard job. Sometimes the picture that photojournalists take can be hard to look at. But it is a part of history, it is happening to people all around the world. They take these pictures to show the world what is happening. In 1986, a picture taken by Michel DuCille and Carol Guzy wanted to show everyone something tragic. This Pulitzer Prize winning photo is after a mudslide in Colombia. Many people died. This picture shows someone buried under the mud with just their arm showing. “It’s an honor to be a photojournalist. If I care about something, I can make half a million people care,” Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Stan Grossfeld said. DuCille and Guzy wanted to make sure everyone cared about the people who lost their lives due to this mudslide. 

     There are big events in history that are good and will make you smile. Photojournalism is not always about risking photojournalists’ lives for that perfect picture. Often, it is to tell the story of someone. William Snyder and Ken Geiger decided to show the stories of people in sports. In 1993, they got the perfect pictures of the amazing things people can do. They showed the victories of these people. “Everything has a story about it. You just have to be able to see it,” Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Jerry Gay said. Every athlete has a story. Snyder and Geiger wanted to show their stories. All the athletes worked hard to be able to play the sport and win. The photos show the athletes’ story. 

     All these pictures are just a few that have won the Pulitzer Prize. To win this is hard to do. But being a photojournalist is not all about winning that prize. The whole reason people are photojournalists is to tell that story, and to get that piece of history, in one still moment. Now for the rest of time people will be able to witness that moment in history.