Photos can capture the most fleeting moment, funniest, most inspiring, most moving, and even the most devastating and depressing. Ever since man has held on his camera, this gadget has become a powerful tool and agent of change. Photography has indeed changed many facets of people’s lives. Whether a picture is a product of portrait photography, landscape photography, photojournalism, or fine art photography, it could change a person’s perspective about life. With few clicks, even cheap cameras online can change the world, either for the better or for the worse. The power of the camera to change a culture, people’s beliefs and ideologies, political structure, and customs has been proven effective, and there are several photographs to prove this.
Since 1942, the Pulitzer Prize recognizes the most moving and thought-provoking photographs taken by photojournalists across the globe. Since then, the world has known the most shocking, inspiring, and light-hearted photographs taken. Winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Photography have one thing in common – an extraordinary story behind their award-winning photos.
Below are stories behind some of the most remarkable Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs taken by photojournalists throughout the course of the award’s history.
The Battle of Long Tan aftermath – The Vietnam War may have gained support from the Americans, but not everyone is enthusiastic about it, much more when the media presented horrific acts done against Viet Congs. Kyoichi Sawada, a Japanese photographer who worked for the United Press International, took a photograph portraying the horrific realities of the Vietnam War. In the photograph, American soldiers riding armored personnel carrier dragged a dead Viet Cong. This photograph had fueled the flames against the pro-war sentiment of the Americans. Sawada received the Pulitzer Prize for Photography award in 1966 for this photograph.
Lone Jewish Woman – OdedBatality, a multi-awarded Israeli documentary photographer, bagged the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Photography for taking a photograph of a Jewish woman stopping policemen ordered to remove a camp of illegal settlers in Amona, Israel. The woman stands in defiance against the hundreds of policemen advancing. Reports said the police were trying to shove the woman out of her way to set demolition charges. According to Batality, the woman grappled with some of the policemen before chasing after and cursing them.
The shooting of James Meredith – James Meredith is a respected civil rights activist and was the first African American student to be admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi. In 1966, Meredith was leading a march, the March Against Fear, from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, when he was shot with birdshot pellets by a man called Aubrey Norvell. Meredith received at least 63 birdshot pellets, fortunately surviving the incident. The incident was captured in photos by photographer Jack Thornell. The photo captured Meredith crawling in agonizing pain in the middle of the street. This photo was got the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1967.
Saigon Execution – The Vietnam War was the first war to be heavily covered by the press. As it is, many video footage and photographs depicting the horrors of the war surfaced. Arguably the most graphic and horrific images taken during the Vietnam War was the photograph captured by Eddie Adams. In the picture, Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a Major General in the South Vietnames Army and the National Chief of Police, shot a prisoner right to his temple. The prisoner is believed to be Nguyen Van Lem who allegedly organized and operated a gang of murderers tasked to kill local police officers in Saigon. After the photo was published, it has become an infamous icon of the Vietnam War.
If you are planning to pick photography as a hobby, you don’t necessarily need the most expensive and high-tech equipment. For aspiring amateur photographers like you, what you can do is to start with basic camera and equipment. You can buy one from cheap cameras online shops. While more advanced cameras can produce better quality pictures, you must first invest on your skills. Once you master the fundamentals of good photography, it is when you can consider buying the more expensive stuff.