Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year, continued: 1977

About the awards:

Between 1942 and 1967 a Pulitzer Prize for Photography was awarded for photojournalism, that is, for photographs telling a news story. In 1968 that award was replaced by awards in two new categories:

  • the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography (photography in the nature of breaking news, as it has been called since 2000); and
  • the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography (human interest and matters associated with new items).

From 1955 World Press Photo has awarded prizes for the best photographs in 10 categories, with an overall award for the image that "... is not only the photojournalistic encapsulation of the year, but represents an issue, situation or event of great journalistic importance, and does so in a way that demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity".

The 1977 Pulitzer award for Spot News Photography was looked at a few weeks ago. 

 Here are the Pulitzer Feature Photography and World Press Photo of the Year winners for 1977.

Award: Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, 1977

Photographer: Robin Hood (yes, that is his real name), Chattanooga-News Free Press

Photograph: "Photograph of a disabled veteran and his child at an Armed Forces Day parade."

The photograph:

Saigon had fallen on 30 April 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War for the US. That did not, however, mark the end of its effects upon Americans. Deep divisions remained within society; many who had served were left with physical, emotional and psychological disabilities.

Photographer Robin Hood, who had served in Vietnam and become a press photographer, was covering an Armed Forces Day parade in May 1976. Hood avoided the official stand with its dignitaries and officials, preferring instead to move amongst the crowd lining the road. “I felt the real story was not in the pomp and ceremony of the parade, but in the emotions of the spectators viewing it” he later commented.

“I had just finished photographing a group of small Vietnamese children who had been relocated to Chattanooga as war refugees and were now watching the parade and waving small American flags." He then saw Robinson, rain drenched, wearing army fatigues and an army poncho, in his wheelchair protectively holding his child. Robinson was a Vietnam vet who had lost both legs in Vietnam "The thought occurred to me that here was a man who had made a supreme sacrifice for the freedom of those (Vietnamese) children.”

According to the Pulitzer jury, “Robin Hood, a photographer for the Chattanooga-News-Free Press, easily captured the jury’s first place votes with his picture of a legless Vietnam veteran hugging an infant at an Armed Forces Day parade. The pomp and ceremony was on the street marching by but the emotion and feeling of a man who had given more than most captured the essence of the day.”

The photographer:

Photographer Robin Hood with book "Hiostoric Tennessee", for which he carried out the photography.
'Proceeds from book sales benefit the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

Robin L Hood, born in 1944 in Tennessee, studied art at the University of Tennessee between 1962 and 1966, then enlisted in the army, serving in Vietnam as an information officer. As part of his duties he was required to photograph military activities, leading to his becoming a press photographer.

Award: World Press Photograph of the Year, 1977

Photographer: Leslie Hammond

Photograph: “Apartheid” - The South African police tear-gas a group of demonstrators in Modderdam, near Cape Town.

The Photograph:

South Africa today is a far cry from South Africa 1977. Government policy, supported by legislation, was one of apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning literally “apart-ness”. This policy was one of compulsory racial segregation that made the majority black population second class citizens and maintained white minority rule. Racial segregation in South Africa had commenced in colonial times but was developed as ‘apartheid’ following the 1948 election. This policy, based on purported scientific racism, held that it was in the interests of both blacks and whites to remain separate and apart.

From 1960 to 1983, 3.5 million non-white South Africans were removed from their homes, and forced into segregated neighbourhoods. In 1970 black people were deprived of citizenship by the Afrikaner white government, parliamentary representation was removed. Blacks and whites were forbidden to marry, have sexual relations or fraternise; black people needed passes to be allowed to travel and education, medical care, beaches and facilities were segregated.

Apartheid was condemned by the world with embargoes and boycotts applied world wide.  Internal unrest and uprisings were met with repression, violence and imprisonment. Against a backdrop of increasing international sanctions and internal unrest, the government enacted some reforms but it was not enough. In 1994 the election to power of the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela saw apartheid dismantled.

Leslie Hammond’s 1977 photograph was taken at a time when apartheid was at its height. An uprising in Soweto in 1976 had set off a wave of disturbances across South Africa that lasted for nearly a year, provoking violent responses from the police that saw hundreds killed. In September 1977 Steve Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, died under suspicious circumstances in police detention. 

Hammond’s photograph shows tear-gas thrown by the South African police at a group of chanting residents of the Modderdam squatter camp. Those residents were protesting against the demolition of their homes, outside Cape Town, some of the shanty housing being visible in the background.

The Photographer:

After leaving The South African College School in Cape Town, Leslie Hammond worked as an advertisement illustrator in a commercial art studio for three years. During his nine-month compulsory military service in Pretoria, he trained as a photographer. In 1968 he joined The Argus newspaper in Cape Town. During his 17 year employment at this newspaper, he covered major news events, such as floods, air crashes, political riots, sporting tours, and made overseas reportages on fashion, travel and other news related items. He considers one of the highlights of his career travelling around Africa with Prince Charles during his visit as Chairman of The Southern African Development Board. In 1985, Hammond left the newspaper industry for the world of commercial photography.

Pictured: Leslie Hammond receives his World Press Photograph of the Year Award.  Known as the Golden Eye Award, it must be one of the ugliest awards ever created.

Leslie Hammond receives the Golden Eye from Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

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