Beginning in 1942, the Pulitzer Prize began selecting winners for photojournalism. Since 1968 there have been winners from two categories each year: Feature Photography and Breaking News Photography. The Pulitzer Prize for Photography is a huge honor that a small number of people earn. It is a very respected award. The pictures picked are more than photos of great moments. They are a journal of human life. These amazing images move people across the globe. They shape the way we see the world and make us want to make it better.
In 1945, photojournalist Joe Rosenthal won a Pulitzer for his photo of U.S. Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. It is a black-and-white photo. It shows soldiers with the flag after beating the Japanese in battle. The men stand closely, each with a hand on the pole putting it in the air. This image captures the emotion of the soldiers and the win. It is one of the most seen photographs in American history. Talking about photojournalism, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, John White said, “It’s a front seat to history.” This photo is that.
During the Vietnam War, photojournalist Eddie Adams with the Associated Press took a photo that showed how bad war can get. The 1969 black-and-white photo is called “Saigon Execution.” It shows a gun pointed at the head of a crying man. The man was executed as the photo was being taken. Talking about taking pictures in hard times, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Carol Guzy said, “You rage inside at the helplessness. To try to deal with it, you seek out elements of humanity and courage.” This scary image showed the horror of war. The image played a large part in public opinion. It added to the anti-war feelings in the U.S. It showed the human cost and made people think about how the government was dealing with the war.
During a fire rescue, Stanley Forman took another frightening image in 1976. Named “Boston Fire,” the black-and-white image shows a woman and her niece falling from a fire escape. The child is at the top with her feet towards the ground. She is spreading her arms and legs out with her aunt below. Her aunt is falling headfirst toward the ground. The aunt passed away eight days later, but the girl was not hurt. The photo is a reminder of the risks fire fighters take and fire safety. It also helped make better safety codes and regulations.
In 1980, Skeeter Hagler took more than a few pictures called “Texas Cowboys.” One of the black-and-white photos shows a cowboy flying a helicopter. Taken from the passenger seat, the photo captures the cowboy flying over the fields. The photo showed the spirit of the American cowboy. It is a celebration of the appeal of this lifestyle. It highlights the rugged style of the cowboy and the value of hard work.
William Snyder and Ken Gieger, with “The Dallas Morning News,” took pictures of the 1993 Barcelona Olympics. In one of their color photographs, an Olympic diver is shown jumping off a diving board. The male diver is spinning away from the camera with a beautiful city behind him. This photograph is amazing because it shows the moment the diver reached the highest point of his jump. It also is about the spirit of the Olympic games. The strength of sportsmanship and excellence. The photo also pays respect to the human body and how important the Olympics are by uniting people around the world.
Photojournalism is a great part of our media. It gives people interesting photos about moments in history. “The most powerful weapon that we have in the world is a still photograph,” Eddie Adams said. Photojournalism is good at teaching people about our world. “It’s an honor to be a journalist. If I care about something, I can make half a million people care,” Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Stan Grossfeld said. Photojournalists can grab the humanity in a moment, inspiring people to stand up and make a difference in our beautiful world.