Sunday, June 28, 2020

Pulitzer, World Press Photos of the Year, continued: 1991


Pulitzer Prizes for Photography:

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).

World Press Photo of the Year:

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 photographs are interesting not only in their own right but for being windows on history.

Pulitzer Feature (Human Interest) Photograph
William Snyder, Dallas Morning News
Photographs of ill and orphaned children living in subhuman conditions in Romania.
The Photographs:

One of Snyder’s Pulitzer-Prize winning photographs of Mimi Rizescu attempting to console a child, while feeding another one, in the Home for Irrecoverables in Vulturesti, Romania.

The Photographer:

- William Snyder is an American photojournalist and former Director of Photography for The Dallas Morning News.
- Snyder won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1989 along with reporter David Hanners and artist Karen Blessen for their special report on a 1985 airplane crash, the follow-up investigation, and the implications for air safety.
- In 1991, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography as above and below.
- In 1993, Snyder and Ken Geiger won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for their photographic coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
- As Photo Director he oversaw the Morning News photo staff's 2006 Pulitzer-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
- In the Spring of 2008, Snyder took the buyout at The Dallas Morning News and returned to his alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he is now the chair in the Photojournalism BFA program.


Previous posts in this continuing series have looked at the role of the news photographer and photojournalist separate feelings and involvement from the subjects they are photographing, whether that is possible and whether it takes a toll.  William Snyder’s 1991 Pulitzer winning photographs also fall into that issue.

From “Picture Coverage of the World: Pulitzer Prize Winning Photos” by Heinz-Dietrich Fischer:

“It was horrible, absolutely horrible. I was a human being, someone you could touch and see.  The kids were all over me. I had a son about two years old.  I just kept projecting him in that situation, it was vert difficult.  A lot of the workers didn’t care about the children, they did the bare minimum. They swaddled the children so that they wouldn’t roll around and create problems – therefore restricting motor growth and coordination.  I had always been a run-and-gun photographer. Going to Romania changed everything for me. This wasn’t about pictures, this was about people, defenseless, helpless people. It was no longer just pictures to be taken, it was about stories to be told.”,+absolutely+horrible%22,+Snyder+remembered%22+pulitzer&source=bl&ots=bYWzA1astY&sig=ACfU3U1cS8523PUu5DbtwjYfVcrXk8JDbw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwirrJad66HqAhUzguYKHQACDAoQ6AEwAHoECAIQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22It%20was%20horrible%2C%20absolutely%20horrible%22%2C%20Snyder%20remembered%22%20pulitzer&f=false

World Press Photo of the Year 1991:

Okay, right from the outset, I admit I screwed up.  Twice.

The 1991 World Press Photograph of the Year was by Georges Merillon and was entitled “Kosovo Conflict.”  It shows the family of Nashim Elshani grieving around his deathbed after he was killed while protesting for Kosovar autonomy.

I incorrectly attributed this photograph to 1990 and wrote about it at:

My second error was to attribute the correct 1990 World Press Photograph of the Year, “Tank Man” by Charlie Cole, to 1989. That iconic photograph is:

 Read about it at:

Mea culpa.


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