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2013 Pulitzer Prize photography winners announced

By dpreview staff on Apr 15, 2013 at 20:35 GMT

Columbia University has announced the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winners for photography. The prize for Breaking News Photography was awarded to jointly to Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen of the Associated Press, for their coverage of the conflict in Syria. The winner in the Feature Photography category is Javier Manzano, a freelance photograher, for his 'extraordinary picture' of two Syrian rebel soldiers illuminated by beams of light streaming through bullet holes. 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.

Javier Manzano - October 12, 2012. Aleppo, Syria.
Narcisco Contreras, Associated Press - November 4, 2012. Aleppo, Syria.

Javier Manzano is a Mexican-born photojournalist based in Turkey. A former United States resident, he worked for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver until the paper closed down in 2009. Since then has worked as a freelancer covering wars in in Mexico, Afghanistan and Syria.


Total comments: 50
By 1MPXL (Apr 24, 2013)

After many years its still the same thing. Pulitzer do u have any photos on a bright side of life? Who needs war? this only saddens the audience. we need a more positive outlook of photography. death is inevitable it will come sooner or later.

1 upvote
jatinder kamboj
By jatinder kamboj (Apr 21, 2013)

A new special category introduced for such kind of coverage and stories, so other's potential work can be parallelly awarded and protect the rights who deserves.

By JEROME NOLAS (Apr 20, 2013)

Unfortunately, a next year winner will be from Boston....tragedies, disasters & human suffering, that's what sells and gets prizes.

By Brian_Smith (Apr 18, 2013)

Runners up for the Breaking News Photography prize were The Denver Post Staff and Tyler Hicks of The New York Times.

Runners up for the Breaking News Photography prize were Liz O. Baylen of the Los Angeles Times and Renee C. Byer of The Sacramento Bee.

Congratulations to all for their extraordinary work!

By alpha90290 (Apr 17, 2013)

Seem like the only way to win is to take photos at places where your chances of getting shot is more than 50%. If they keep giving prizes like these, I wonder how many good photographers will be left. Are they trying to let the bullets eliminate some of the candidates so that the job of finding the winners will become easier.

By ShadowVlican (Apr 17, 2013)

my thoughts exactly... let's extend this to photographers who get privileged access to off-limits areas to get their shots as well

1 upvote
By calvinboy24 (Apr 18, 2013)

War photographers enter into danger willingly much like soldiers who volunteer to fight in combat. They understand the risks but this is a rush for them and their job to tell a compelling story in a very complex environment. HBO had a four part documentary series on war photographers, many had volunteered to go - one was pregnant, and many others went freelance on their own.

In all, the chaotic and harrowing nature of these photos is part of the reason why these photos won. It should not and cannot be exclusionary to dangerous situations, but being in a dangerous situation is also something that shows people who are in safe areas a sense of what most cannot see.

By Noogy (Apr 17, 2013)

I find the photos nice but I don't think I will remember them after seeing them, which means to me they don't stand out. Nice, but not impressive. The subject or subjects? Do they really need to pick photos from the same war in the same country? I guess that seems to be the favored theme, which is kinda sad.

1 upvote
By Raincheck (Apr 16, 2013)

I guess war was the only photo news worthy subject in a year. War wins, 6 - 0.

Either that, or our collective minds are so twisted up with socio-political tripe that we no longer know Sh|t from Shinola. On that subject, I bought an old can of Shinola on eBay a few weeks ago, just so I could show people the difference.

By Airless (Apr 16, 2013)

Bullet holes image is horribly underexposed. Has the guy never heard of photoshop or at least high ISO?

By Sean65 (Apr 16, 2013)

It's perfectly exposed. This is the result of a real photographer taking control and not allow AF and AE do the work. I'm pretty sure a photographer of this calibre has heard of photoshop and is fully aware of ISO as well.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
By echelon123 (Apr 17, 2013)

i dont see how horribly underexposed it is.

By lightandday (Apr 17, 2013)

Like your humor ! - Looks like you have been taken seriously ?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By cat1973 (Apr 16, 2013)

Pictures of gangsters and killers are very bad, they are killing their own people! Real heroes are soldiers Assad, they protect the people from these killers are in these photos! It is foolish to choose the winner of the photo which captures the murderers of their own people, this is considered an icon of a photo of Hitler to the German people. I realize that my words do not mean anything to those who espouse the Free Syrian Army mercenaries, and I understand that my comments do not get on that wall for reading.

1 upvote
By mazzini (Apr 17, 2013)

It's Easy To say that because you are not living there .. for your information , Those rebels fight the whole world on their own land not only Assad thugs but also fighting against Iranian and Hezbollah and Iraqi mercenaries. I think you don't know that there is no actual Syrian army .. it's just an extremist Alawites militia who fights 80 % of Syrian people for the sake of their God (AL Assad) .. Please Let those people decide their own future .. most of advanced countries had their own revolutions against dictators before .why not Syrian people have one , Why????!!!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
By sh10453 (Apr 17, 2013)

Obviously you are a member of Assad's intelligence or propaganda team or department.
Your comments have no place here. This is a technical site for photography, not for politics.

DPR should remove your comment and block you from ever commenting here.

By cat1973 (Apr 17, 2013)

I just know that many reports and newspaper articles about Syria, to see what broadcast in the world. Russian channels only tell the truth, and all others in Europe and America is all a lie. If society makes heroes of mercenaries and assassins, it consists of, however. Apparently Mr. Assad you like a bone in the throat .... Truth is always on the surface, just because of your lack of knowledge and the development of democracy, and not real, you can not see that the war in Syria, it is necessary first of all for those who are in need of puppet regimes. This is after the revolution in Libya, Egypt and the people of Iraq is a better place to live?

By mazzini (Apr 18, 2013)

I don't want to be harsh .. but you don't know anything about Syria if you are Just watching Russian channels ,all middle east including syria and most Asian countries are puppet regimes . now most of Syrian people know that they will replace the existing puppet regime with another puppet one . but take a look at the tow puppet regimes in Korea and see the difference .. north Korea : poor people worshiping weapon and army .. south Korea : modern people living modern life . in Syrian regime the Alawite soldier's boot is more important than a man's head although this soldier has never been fighting for anyone but Assad .and the whole army (militia) is not made to protect Syria . its only to protect Assad

By AbrasiveReducer (Apr 16, 2013)

The first photo is extraordinary, especially when you realize it's real, not Hollywood. But it does seem like these are awards for bravery first, and photography, second. Sadly, this type of image is commonplace these days.

By Priaptor (Apr 16, 2013)

From my perch, the Pulitzer, especially for writing and almost as much for photography has become a political joke, similar to the "Nobel Peace Prize".

Having read every Pulitzer prize winning book for the last 15 years I think Joseph would be turning over in his grave if he saw where this has gone. Same for photography

By MikeFairbanks (Apr 16, 2013)

That top pic there with the sunlight streaming in through the bullet holes is a winner. It took a lot of courage to get into that situation to document it.

By wayfarers (Apr 16, 2013)

I wonder, if next Pulitzer Prize is won by photos from Boston Marathon bombing... how many people would say: staged, fake, totally uninteresting stuff, war war....ok, propaganda, etc., etc?

By harry (Apr 16, 2013)

Why winning photography has to do with human brutality and suffering?

By slncezgsi (Apr 16, 2013)

I think there are several reason one can think of.

Photograph in the middle of war zone is probably the most dangerous one, it brings pictures that on one side are FAR from the viewers everyday reality, but at the same time they are very real.

And most importantly - most of us feel in one or another way ashamed for all the suffering these photos show - we fell ashamed that we are those lucky ones living in (mostly) peaceful part of the world and that we do NOTHING to help those suffering. So we have two ways of reacting - either we try to ignore all of the pain, or put in on a pedestal and say - we feel for you.

I know I do feel in a strange way about these kind of photographs and have hard time to find the place where I could stand comfortably.

War propaganda is probably part of it.

I do think though that also non-bleeding art should have the same chance.

1 upvote
By Noogy (Apr 17, 2013)

There are more subdued "wars" happening out there that are worthy of awards too, such as the daily war against poverty, human trafficking, etc. That both winners had to be from the same war zone is truly strange to say the least.

By sh10453 (Apr 17, 2013)

One of the most important aspects of photography is "Documenting".

We see one picture here, but I have no doubt it's only one from thousands of pictures the photographer has taken (and submitted, along with a journalistic report).

These are photographers who risk their life to document what's going on in a certain area, or areas, of the battle field.

They deserve admiration and appreciation. Without them, we wouldn't know much about what is happening there, except what the governments and their propaganda machines would tell us.

Hats off to these journalists and photographers.
Congratulations. Well earned!

By Noogy (Apr 18, 2013)

They should get an award for risk-taking, not photography.

1 upvote
By Pablo4 (Apr 16, 2013)

Pictured definition of the elite's war propaganda.

mark finn
By mark finn (Apr 16, 2013)

Photography has many uses, and one of them is to make a memorable image that tells a story. Not all stories are nice, and some of the stories we need to hear are definitely ugly. But for those who complain about "not another war photograph", let's have an alternative DPReview Pulitzers:

1) Best over-processed HDR
2) Best Cat
3) Best moody black and white cliche
4) Best flower cliche
5) Best street shot of people wandering aimlessly through the frame
And so on.

By the way, I've shot almost all those cliches, and I live in constant admiration of those who put their lives on the line to get the images we see here.

By epeorusjim (Apr 16, 2013)

I'm thinking perhaps you're being a bit cynical. Then again, I like cat pictures. Let's go for it. Our own Pulitzers........yeah.

Andrei Paul
By Andrei Paul (Apr 18, 2013)

As I know, Pulitzer price is for jurnalism. In this case, photo-journalism. As a photographer and former photo-reporter, I admire journalists reporting from a war zone. But I cannot believe there are not any good stories but war. Come on, guys, most of the prizes nowadays are for war zone photos. And you know what? I've seen a 1st prize world awarded photo with a dead guy shot together with another 8-10 photographers, sitting like shooting at a press conference. How much originality and risc remains in this situation?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
By Danny (Apr 16, 2013)

Where is the optimism? War photographs.. Is this all there is? (Then let's keep dancing).

By montoni (Apr 16, 2013)

war war war war....ok...thank you guys

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
By Camediadude (Apr 16, 2013)

The pulitzer prize was once an esteemed award, but now it is a cheapened circle-rub session amongst pre-approved club members of the big corporate media machine.

By SayCheesePlease (Apr 16, 2013)

I appreciate the photos. Maybe could have also included photos from other parts of the world. A lot happened the last 12 months- so many other places, cultures, people and events...

Fog Maker
By Fog Maker (Apr 16, 2013)

''Perhaps you've heard of something called a Civil War going on in Syria? These photographers are literally putting their lives at risk so that the rest of can learn, on a very visceral and human level, about tragedies that have claimed many thousands of lives there.''

Learn exactly what?
The same old tired propaganda, depicting ''heroic'' rebel fighters posing for the camera. Had they been documenting the other side they may at least had been a bit interesting and challenging, since no one does that. Images like that in abundance on Al Jazeera and other news outlets. Totally uninteresting stuff.

By sonhn (Apr 16, 2013)

Why they have to document the other side? They are the "free world" propaganda machine.

By wayfarers (Apr 16, 2013)

Yes, let us start from destroying all Robert Capra negatives, erase all footage from September 11, and why we keep showing Boston Marathon bombing on TV? Totally uninteresting stuff, right, what exactly we can learn here?

By vadims (Apr 16, 2013)

Speaking of 9/11... wayfarers, do you know that OBL himself was officially "freedom fighter" while he fought USSR?

Until the world get rid of the "yes, he's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch" mentality, calling images like the above anything other than "propaganda" is a mistake. A deadly mistake.

1 upvote
By john101477 (Apr 15, 2013)

While I do like the images it is sort of hard to say that they are of the moment. The inside shot could have been taken anywhere. The shot of the guy in the street only looks stage because of the three guys hanging out with no enthusiasm at all vs the guy in the shot. I wont say they are fake but I will say that there is room for discussion. I wasn't there. Its that simple

Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (Apr 15, 2013)

If you go to the Pulitzer web site and look at the images taken by these photographers you can see that they're of the moment and powerful. They're staged only to the extent that the photographer positioned himself to get a good shot and composed well.


Oguz Sebik
By Oguz Sebik (Apr 15, 2013)

A point source / divergent rays of light? Did he place a strobe back there? Staged much?

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Apr 15, 2013)

It's not about the light source or the rays, it's about how your w/a lens sees them. Try it some time.
To me, it does not have to be staged nor manipulated in any way, the themes that win are horrible enough.
Looks like the messages in those images are never powerful enough to stop people from killing each other. And THAT'S the part that is staged, although someplace else.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
Dave Luttmann
By Dave Luttmann (Apr 15, 2013)

Guess you've never heard of bright light streaming into a dark room. Staged much....hardly. Do you think much?....evidently not.

Oguz Sebik
By Oguz Sebik (Apr 16, 2013)

You are right Old Arrow, thank you for pointing that out... and Dave you are just some random rude dude.

1 upvote
By Kikl (Apr 15, 2013)

These pictures are staged. The prize was not rewarded for "Breaking News Photography" unless you regard staged news as real news. Sorry to be so blunt. But, this must be said.

Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Apr 15, 2013)

Perhaps you've heard of something called a Civil War going on in Syria? These photographers are literally putting their lives at risk so that the rest of can learn, on a very visceral and human level, about tragedies that have claimed many thousands of lives there.

By wayfarers (Apr 15, 2013)

Staged? If you have a proof to support this accusation, please share. But if all you have is your gut feeling your comment is inappropriate.

By MarkInSF (Apr 15, 2013)

Thanks, Amadou, for the reminder of what they face. One doesn't even have a regular job. He's been covering dangerous situations without any certainty of getting paid. That image of his is quite something.

I feel a bit bad that photojournalists rarely get awards for anything but covering conflicts, as plenty of excellent work is done safe at home, but the guys putting themselves in the middle of war zones do have compelling subject matter and capture incredibly powerful images, so the awards were earned the hardest way imaginable. Good work, all.

1 upvote
By montygm (Apr 15, 2013)

Brilliant capture of a terrible situation. Well deserves the prize money to be in such a dangerous location.

Total comments: 50