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2012 Pulitzer Prize photography winners announced

By dpreview staff on Apr 17, 2012 at 17:09 GMT

Columbia University has announced the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners for photography. The prize for Breaking News Photography was awarded to Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse for, 'his heartbreaking image of a girl crying in fear after a suicide bomber’s attack at a crowded shrine in Kabul.' The winner in the Feature Photography category is Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post, 'for his compassionate chronicle of an honorably discharged veteran, home from Iraq and struggling with a severe case of post-traumatic stress.' The annual awards include a cash prize of US$10,000. Information on this year's awards and the winning photographs can be found on the Pulitzer Prizes site.

Massoud Hossaini is an Afghanistan-born photographer, raised in Iran, who became a political activist during that country's 'Reformists Movement' in the late nineties. It was during this time that he chose photography as a means of documenting the events around him, covering the plight of Afghan refugees and the post-9/11 War on Terrorism in Afghanistan. He has worked for Agence France-Presse since 2007.

Craig F. Walker has been a staff photojournalist at the Denver Post since 1998. He has chronicled personal stories of domestic AIDs survivors as well as the World Trade Center attack and US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a previous Pulitzer Prize winner (2010) for a his series of images about a teenage American soldier during the height of violence in Iraq.

Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post - December 29, 2011

Comments

Total comments: 76
rainman1978
By rainman1978 (Apr 21, 2012)

I read the work, it was really good and heart touching!

1 upvote
gail
By gail (Apr 20, 2012)

Take photographs or help (and possibly save a life)?

"Women were asking me, "Help, help, help,"' Mr. Hossaini said. 'I couldn't. I was recording and I was taking pictures.'"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131084/Pulitzer-Prize-winners-2012-Picture-screaming-girl-standing-amid-Afghan-suicide-attack-carnage.html#ixzz1sZxyAM1S

2 upvotes
zoom878
By zoom878 (Apr 22, 2012)

you are right....some time..& i think it many times . in this situation he forget the humanity and only become a photographer?and anyone can shoot that photograph with a point&shoot camera without any creativity and pro camera if ignore the terrible scramming from heart...

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
n_tops
By n_tops (Apr 23, 2012)

While I can understand the thought that he was not helping by taking pictures. In the circumstances he was exposed to I believe he did the right thing. There were 1000s of people at that celebration, and the casualties were dealt with very swiftly (as is the Afghan way), within 15mins every casualty was loaded onto an ambulance, car or truck and off to aid. His photos provided the worldwide audience with a glimpse of the reality the Afghan people live with. He captured the emotion of that event so it could be broadcast to the world.

2 upvotes
nwsphto
By nwsphto (Apr 19, 2012)

Obviously, there are a few on this forum who have never photographed anything difficult, anything beyond their children and pets. While that is fine, it doesn't give them any merit to be critical of those who risk life and limb to show the world places and events they would never ordinarily see for wages most on this forum would shun. Congratulations to this year's winners.

7 upvotes
NikonFotoMatt
By NikonFotoMatt (Apr 21, 2012)

Agreed nwsphto. I've been behind the viewfinder and captured images which, to this day, can come back in my dreams. Anyone who has not done the job of a photojournalist has no room to armchair quarterback. Period.

3 upvotes
Jeff Greenberg
By Jeff Greenberg (Apr 19, 2012)

Denver Post shooter wins feature prize, his boss is one of 4 judges:

"Tim Rasmussen, assistant managing editor, photography/multimedia, The Denver Post"

Someone help me out here.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
NikonFotoMatt
By NikonFotoMatt (Apr 21, 2012)

I'll have to ask my buddies (former DP shooters) their thoughts on THIS one!

0 upvotes
abi170845
By abi170845 (Apr 19, 2012)

I wonder what would happened if those photos were submitted to DP review challenges before the Pulitzer, ahahhahaha.

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Apr 18, 2012)

Thank you, d(p)review (I emphasis the P, as in PHOTOGRAPHY), now THIS is the kind of stuff I come here for, not for the endless video parade I keep seeing lately.

Anyway.

Photos tell a story. Photos evoke emotion. Photos speak of a world filled with love, peace, turmoil, lust, desire, anger, happiness, joy, optimism, hopelessness, despair, urgency, content--I could go on.

You look and you focus on all the details & come away realizing what a great large world we live in, and how complex and unpredictable yet exciting life can be, for however long enough we're fortunate enough to live it.

Money is beside the point--although if one is compensated for their excellence, great, what's the harm in that? Photographers do what they do, in whatever capacity hobbyist or professional, to create images that stun, stir the emotions, create ponderings in the heart--things no everyday "snapshot" will typically do. It's beyond merely preserving a memory, but evoking emotions in one's soul.

5 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Apr 18, 2012)

Thou shalt evoke emotions in the soul! Let that be the commandment to Eevery photographer in the real estate appraisal, insurance adjustment, school yearbook, and coporate PR fields must keep that at heart as the shutter clicks. But wait, now the boss wants video too! Client X needs it for a widget promo. Put your soul in it! Aargh.

4 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Apr 22, 2012)

The great thing about video is that video tells a story. Video evokes emotion. Video speaks of a world filled with love, peace, turmoil, lust, desire, anger, happiness, joy, optimism, hopelessness, despair, urgency, content--I could go on.

Seriously though, video is just pictures or photos that move. It's a series of photos in sequence. A photo is a single frame of that sequence. Both can be very powerful.

Go watch Discovery Channel's videos like "Blue Planet", "Frozen Planet", "Planet Earth", etc. A lot of the incredible videography produced for these shows were shot by videographers who probably would have been photographers in a past era or previous lifetime. The images they capture are very much like photo compositions that happen to move.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
nathantw
By nathantw (Apr 18, 2012)

Craig Walker's photos are really powerful. The story behind Brian Scott Ostrom was really sad and it makes me wonder how many of those types of stories are behind the thousands (not hundreds) of homeless people that walk the streets of San Francisco (the meca for homeless). I feel Craig Walker deserved the award.

0 upvotes
Hulamike
By Hulamike (Apr 18, 2012)

Re: Tessl8d:
Please read your first sentence again. Then ask yourself what exactly constitutes grounds for commercialism in photography. You sound hypocritical at best.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (Apr 18, 2012)

The comments of some people here just show how much they don't understand what these prizes mean or are for, or what photojournalism is.

I never heard a photographer who got a prize for photographs of dead bodies going "yupeee this photograph got me money" or anything remotely like that. Unfortunately what most of you who say these things don't really realise is that sometimes on these kinds of assignments, photographers themselves risk their lives to get other people's realities and expose situations that you would probably not even hear about if it wasn't for their work, to you, to make the public aware of them. These prizes serve to recognise their hard work and sacrifice. Also, the descriptions of the photos by the judges reflect that it's not only about awarding a prize but there is also a human factor into their work.

So comments like that from some of you are either out of ignorance or out of inability to produce such kind of work, to be mild.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Apr 18, 2012)

What incredible act Hossaini has pulled here it that he has witnessed a bomb go off, his own left hand injured superficially, his guts and brain shaken inside, his ears ringing, and he has managed to stand upright, frame and press the shutter.

He has documented the incredible subtleness of human frailty at the heart of the hideous ugliness that armed conflict is.

And it is there for all of us to see not just the peasants in Afghanistan. Clean-pants Europeans killed and mamed 100,000,000 of their own citizens in two wars.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
tessl8d
By tessl8d (Apr 18, 2012)

I'm incredibly moved by this picture, it's a sensitive and decent portrayal of a traumatized veteran. I don't however believe that awarding the photographer prizemoney for this photo is appropriate.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Apr 18, 2012)

Lawyers chase ambulances in pursuit of big tort award fees. A photographer who does the same may get arrested, or flash a "press" ID and get minimum wage. One or two, perhaps at risk of life, get $10k and a medallion, but scorn from some people who would not otherwise know the pictures, people, or events existed. Exactly what kind of news photo should exist, earn a salary, or merit a prize? Unforunately, you yourself give the reason why: you are "incredibly moved" by a picture of trauma, the way you'd never be moved by "Jimmy hits a homer" or by pictures of a row of homes in foreclosure.

4 upvotes
john101477
By john101477 (Apr 19, 2012)

Very well said Cy.

0 upvotes
Alex Permit
By Alex Permit (Apr 18, 2012)

Walkers photo essay is brilliant, but i must say that Houssaini's photograph is the most moving, and disturbing, pulitzer i have seen in recent memory. I think it ranks up there with the great photojournalist works like murder of a vietcong, sudan famine, Phan Thic kim phuc, the falling man,...

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
1 upvote
intro
By intro (Apr 18, 2012)

These are the kind of pictures that makes everybody realize how messed up this world is, for few seconds. Then all go back to doing nothing about it. I like how happy he is in that picture: "hey, that picture with a lot of dead people got me the prize, yupeee!". The world need a little more decency and respect. Just my opinion.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Apr 18, 2012)

Can you imagine the Pulitzer Committee awarding a photo that did not depict carnage, devastation, cruelty, or worse? Theoretically it could, but would the Committee then be guilty of dismissing evil as "un-newsworthy"?

0 upvotes
Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Apr 18, 2012)

There's definitely a shock value to photos depicting death/carnage....no getting away from that. Truth be told there are literally thousands of people who could have shot images just as stirring should they choose to live/work in war zones...but I guess that's the point, not everyone is willing to risk their lives to tell the story.

1 upvote
simply365
By simply365 (Apr 18, 2012)

The contrast of the real world !
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131084/Pulitzer-Prize-winners-2012-Picture-screaming-girl-standing-amid-Afghan-suicide-attack-carnage.html

they cry, they feel sad, they feel angry...when look at the pictures but the next day when they woke up, its another HAPPY DAY!

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rutterbutter
By Rutterbutter (Apr 18, 2012)

Of course this is art... "art is act of taking an emotion of your own and evoking that emotion in another through means of expression."

some art is painful but is still worthy of praise.

0 upvotes
MrPetkus
By MrPetkus (Apr 18, 2012)

It's worth reading the captions that accompany the pictures.

2 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Apr 18, 2012)

Why must prize winners always be the sad, disturbing, shocking, horrifying, revolting, unsettling kind?

Why not happiness, joy, mirth, triumph, heroism, and the inspiring kind?

Prize winners are a mere reflection of the judges.

The wholesome content of main media is at an all time low.

It's no wonder NOBODY WON the Editorial Writing category...

.

5 upvotes
lancespring
By lancespring (Apr 18, 2012)

It was important to recognize this photo because it tells a great truth about the real war that is going on inside Afghanistan, and how the Afghan people are suffering so terribly.

Sadly, the mainstream press in the USA pretty much ignored the photo, because it does not fit this crazy illusion that folks in the USA have about the war. I'm sure that they will continue to ignore the photo, despite it winning this prestigious award.

7 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Apr 18, 2012)

Because the sad, disturbing, shocking, horrifying, revolting, unsettling kind exists. Unfortunately, many people are so distracted with frivolities that they have to be constantly warned of that fact.
And why should a photograph of a child running happily on a sunflower field win the Pulitzer Prize?

2 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (Apr 19, 2012)

Because for some reason, people like it. Ever wonder why Cannes award winners are also usually about sad, disturbing, shocking, horrifying, revolting, and unsettling kind?

This is a world where bad news is "good" news. It sells. And as much as I wish it weren't so, it is. And I don't know how to change it. Or if it is even possible.

0 upvotes
Nicolas Sancey
By Nicolas Sancey (Apr 18, 2012)

A very disturbing picture... It will haunt me. But is this art? I doubt it. I regret I even looked at it.

2 upvotes
AD in KC
By AD in KC (Apr 18, 2012)

The judges weren't deciding whether it was "art" or not - it IS "photojournalism". The judges were deciding whether or not it is GOOD photojournalism. "Good" and "art" aren't interchangeable terms. There is good art and there is not-so-good art just like there is good photojournalism and not-so-good photojournalism.

4 upvotes
Nicolas Sancey
By Nicolas Sancey (Apr 19, 2012)

Yes, I agree... This is real photojournalism. But shocking.

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Apr 18, 2012)

These prizes are so political. why don't they give a prize to someone who takes a nice positive photograph instead of people who are using photography to further political narratives? A crying girl is hardly "breaking news."

5 upvotes
forsakenbliss
By forsakenbliss (Apr 18, 2012)

same thing as the current Nobel Prize system. Some choices of candidates are very politically driven.

1 upvote
michaelrz
By michaelrz (Apr 18, 2012)

Everything is political. Let's not pretend it's not.
Choosing a nice positive photograph over others, is also a political decision.

0 upvotes
fz750
By fz750 (Apr 18, 2012)

Great photos (in photojournalism) tell great stories, they may be shocking, but that's their nature and certainly the nature of this prize. No cuddly picture here...

Don't understand the comment about political, what on earth is "political" (in the sense of a standpoint) about this photo, it's a girl in shock at war..

5 upvotes
humanmastermind
By humanmastermind (Apr 18, 2012)

What is so good about that picture [ if not pollitical] ? Angle ? Lighting? Moment? Technique? What is so great that it won?

1 upvote
fz750
By fz750 (Apr 18, 2012)

If you understand, I don't need to explain. If you don't understand, I can't explain...

3 upvotes
novargc
By novargc (Apr 20, 2012)

Post new message ... The comments of some people here just show how much they don't understand what these prizes mean or are for, or what photojournalism is.<a href=”http:// http://www.findyourartschool.com/ep/photography-schools.php”> colleges with photography majors</a>

0 upvotes
humanmastermind
By humanmastermind (Apr 18, 2012)

Then why people don't put news papers on walls instead of paintings? In any case half of modern art is questionable according to me.

0 upvotes
tessl8d
By tessl8d (Apr 18, 2012)

Art can be in anything.

1 upvote
humanmastermind
By humanmastermind (Apr 18, 2012)

Journalism is not art.

0 upvotes
mark finn
By mark finn (Apr 18, 2012)

As disturbing as they are, the fact that these images can elicit a reaction at all in an image-saturated world demonstrates their power.

From a technical perspective, it looks like a lot of the winners and runners-up were shot with a medium wide angle; hardly any extreme telephotos or wides in the collections. Kind of makes me want to take my X100 out and put it through its paces!

1 upvote
moimoi
By moimoi (Apr 17, 2012)

Indeed a very disturbing photograph, nonetheless full of reality.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Apr 17, 2012)

While it is nice work. The Pulitzers are always biased towards American/Western content. In this case, they seem to be taking a political bent to is as well.

0 upvotes
brettmeikle
By brettmeikle (Apr 17, 2012)

It's photo journalism - it's supposed to be 'political'. As for the bias, Hossaini doesn't sound so western and nor is the content of his graphic image.

7 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Apr 17, 2012)

Its Western content.. how about showing images of Afghans who were killed by American soldiers. Would that not be worthy? Those types of images would never win a Pulitzer. Thats what i mean by biased.

1 upvote
facedodge
By facedodge (Apr 17, 2012)

Dude, the Pulitzer is a US award.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulitzer_Prize

Go burn a flag and come back when you feel better.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Apr 17, 2012)

While it's true it's worth noting that Pulitzer was a fellow Hungarian by birth. :)

1 upvote
Alex Permit
By Alex Permit (Apr 18, 2012)

I guess you missed the 2005 pulitzer.

0 upvotes
fz750
By fz750 (Apr 18, 2012)

An Afghan photographer, living in Afghanistan, taking a picture of an Afghan child shocked about a bomb and the murder around her, yet another a mindless act of the Taliban, all from a french photo agency..

Err, did I miss something.. ?!

A superb photo, but sad that it had even happened. Hossaini himself said he cannot bear to look at the photo now, too painful..

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
nathantw
By nathantw (Apr 18, 2012)

If you go to a book store or online and look at all the photos that have won, especially the first pictures, you'll see how far it has come. Some photos throughout the years are pretty disturbing, but others are make you wonder.

0 upvotes
Martin Gowar
By Martin Gowar (Apr 17, 2012)

A very fine photo-essay from Walker ;
Hossaini's graphic portrayal of the carnage and death of civilians is horrifying, but devastatingly pitiful.
Photo-journalism at its finest.

6 upvotes
69chevy
By 69chevy (Apr 17, 2012)

Brilliant work.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Apr 17, 2012)

who cares about the images here.... the important thing for most "experts" here is .... does he shot nikon or canon?

4 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Apr 17, 2012)

Henry,
Let's keep the sarcasm out and just admire some stunning documentary work. We like to feature these kinds of news items precisely so we can remember that these tools are all ultimately at the service of creating memorable images.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
15 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Apr 17, 2012)

well i think it´s wasted on the gear fanboys here.
if i want to talk about photography DPR is the last place i would visit.

but i will spare my sarcasm....

4 upvotes
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (Apr 17, 2012)

Most of the memorable photographs shot by photo journalists could have been just as outstanding if they were shot by Box Brownie, in fact many look like they were. It is the moment that makes the impact.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 18, 2012)

@Henry - let the readers decide what content is or isn't 'wasted' on them. Judging by the comments on this story a lot of people here have an interest and opinion.

3 upvotes
ajo43
By ajo43 (Apr 18, 2012)

For those that are interested Craig Walker seems to use a Nikon D3s. The video of him receiving the prize is pretty amazing (http://bcove.me/2paj0y3p) as the guy who is the subject of the story makes an appearance and looks pretty 'together' compared with way he was when the doco was shot.

5 upvotes
lkent18
By lkent18 (Apr 18, 2012)

Thanks ajo43 for the video link... awesome to see how this story ended :-)

2 upvotes
nathantw
By nathantw (Apr 18, 2012)

Thank you for the link ajo43. I can't believe that's Scott Ostrom at the end of the video.

0 upvotes
facedodge
By facedodge (Apr 17, 2012)

That photo is very very disturbing.

1 upvote
JackM
By JackM (Apr 17, 2012)

Vancouver Riot Kiss didn't get one??

2 upvotes
Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Apr 18, 2012)

I agree...that was IMO the greatest shot of the year....yet not even nominated.

1 upvote
smallcams
By smallcams (Apr 17, 2012)

Great series for Feature Photography Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post.

0 upvotes
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (Apr 17, 2012)

That's a stunning photo essay. I have to say that it really hit me emotionally which is of course what great photography should do.

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (Apr 17, 2012)

So where can one see the winning Breaking News photo? Doesn't come up in that category on their page?

0 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Apr 17, 2012)

http://www.pulitzer.org/works/2012-Breaking-News-Photography

1 upvote
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (Apr 17, 2012)

Click on the "works" tab on that page.
Oops, didn't notice the works in the link above.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Apr 17, 2012)

If you can't find it, that might not be such a bad thing.

0 upvotes
karma2011
By karma2011 (Apr 18, 2012)

Craig's photo essay was amazing.

0 upvotes
TOTAALFOTOGRAFIE
By TOTAALFOTOGRAFIE (Apr 18, 2012)

Congratiulations!!!

Greetings,
Ashvin Ghisyawan
www.totaalfotografie.nl

0 upvotes
FeliciaCorrine
By FeliciaCorrine (Jun 1, 2012)

Heartfelt Congratulations dude...!

0 upvotes
FeliciaCorrine
By FeliciaCorrine (Jun 1, 2012)

It is an amazing photograph....heartfelt congratulations dude.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 76