Thursday, April 18, 2013

The 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners for Photography


This week, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners were announced which included awardees in the Breaking News Photography and Feature Photography categories of photojournalism. Since its inception, the Pulitzer Prizes have helped recognize excellence in many fields, most notably in journalism. The tradition continues this year, with five winners sharing one prize, and both categories sharing a distressing theme.


The Pulitzer Prizes were established in 1917 as set out in the will of pioneering journalist Joseph Pulitzer. The earliest prizes were given in order to encourage excellence in the fields of journalism, letters, drama, education and traveling scholarships. Today, there are 21 categories for the Pulitzer Prizes, with the aim still to recognize excellence in journalism as well as literary and musical composition.

As in the past, this year's awards were given in several categories of journalism, as well as special awards in arts and music. In the field of photojournalism, there are two categories, namely Breaking News Photography and Feature Photography. This year's recognized Feature Photography prize went to Javier Manzano, with the Breaking News Photography prize being shared by five winners, namely Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen.


While a prize being split among five photographers is in itself a bit unusual, the more important detail for this year's Pulitzer prize-winning photographs is that they are all about the ongoing Syrian civil war. Manzon's image (the cover image above) of Syrian rebels hiding in a storage room covered by a bullet-ridden metal sheet may have won the feature photography category, but the other images are just as telling of the Syrian conflict.

The Syrian Civil War is now more than two years into its ongoing conflict, but news of the violence and death there has somewhat slowed down as of late. These images show that the war is just as deadly as it was when it began. In their citation, the board of judges commended the photographers for "their compelling coverage of the civil war in Syria, producing memorable images under extreme hazard".


The news of these war photographs almost seems to magnify the violence elsewhere in the world. A few days ago, three people died while over 100 were injured in Boston when two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon. On the same day, 55 people were killed and 300 were injured in a series of bombings in Baghdad. And just a few hours ago, a fertilizer plant exploded in Texas, killing at least 60.

While this week's news is depressing, they offer a stark reminder that violence can be found in any part of the world, and photojournalism's role is to capture these moments not for their entertainment value, but to offer a lesson to future generations in the hopes that these mistakes won't happen again.


The full list of 2013 Pulitzer Prize winners can be found here. The winning photography images can be found in the Breaking News Photography and Feature Photography sections. More information on the individual photographers can be found on their respective websites: Javier Manzano, Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen.

3 comments:

Francis Lee said...

Impressive and depressing!

Jim said...

My issue is, how come it's all focused on the middle east? It's not really breaking news anymore.

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