The Pulitzer panel of judges have finally announced their picks for this years photography award. I’ll just be focusing on the award for Feature Photography because a long series is harder to pull off in terms of maintaining quality across all the images and being able to communicate an evocative story.
This year the award was given to Craig F Walker for his series Welcome Home. He documents the return of veteran Brian Scott Ostrom from the war in iraq and the difficulties that he faces in returning back to his normal life, especially in the manifestation of personal trouble due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The entire set of images can be viewed at http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2011/12/special-project-welcome-home/26786/
This too ties in with the article by Nicholas Kristof from the New York Times about a veteran committing suicide every 80 minutes. It’s apparent that the issue of veterans returning from war is going to be a problem that will plague the US for many years to come.
Interestingly enough, Walker has won the prize just 2 years ago, for his series Ian Fisher : American Soldier. Also, I’m feeling rather proud that I saw Welcome Home before it won the pulitzer (just a small sidenote, perhaps my only highlight of the day). Do check out all the links! They’re well worth your time.
Hey everyone, sad news has come in from Syria. I might be a tad late but this is still worth mentioning. Marie Colvin, a well-known reporter as well as Rémi Ochlik, a french photographer, have both been killed in Syria.
While news of correspondents dying in the field might be quite common, we shouldn’t altogether harden ourselves to such news. Rémi was but 28 years of age. For one so young to go so soon…
Apparently a shell hit the makeshift media centre that they were using on the side of the rebels and there were several other journalists who were wounded. There has been an outpouring of articles to report on the incident. One remarkable one hails from the New York Times.
“I watched a little baby die today. Absolutely horrific, just a 2-year-old,” said Marie on one interview. “The scale of human tragedy in the city is immense. The inhabitants are living in terror. Almost every family seems to have suffered the death or injury of a loved one,”
There’s another article from Time, which I found to have some quotes that rung so so true, but also were very brutal about our reality.
“Our mission is to speak the truth to power. We send home that first rough draft of history ,… In an age of 24/7 rolling news, blogs and twitters, we are on constant call wherever we are. But war reporting is still essentially the same — someone has to go there and see what is happening … You can’t get that information without going to places where people are being shot at, and others are shooting at you.”
“We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story, what is bravery, and what is bravado?” Colvin was quoted to have said.
The last quote would be particularly relevant to photojournalists still out in the field today.
This event reminds me of how the world lost Tim Hetherington almost a year ago. Ochlik was not short of potential either. He has a World Press Photo to his name, among other awards. His works can be found here. It is a comforting thought that although he is now gone, his photos are still here to remind us what we are, where we live and what we’ve come to accept as part of things that happen on our earth.
Still it’s a shame for one so young and with so much talent to have to leave so soon. Here’s praying that others will step forward and take his place.
Until all the wars end.
As frigid weather engulfs Europe and Afghanistan, there are tons of stories of suffering coming out into the world. Sometimes we underestimate snow (and nature in general). I have no idea whether this is global warming at play or part of a regular weather cycle but all the same, it’s something to be recognized.
Here’s a timelapse video from 2010 showing just how much of the stuff can fall from the sky in the span of 21 hours. It’s well made and I only lament the lack of dramatic music that has become all too typical of timelapse videos on vimeo.
It’s not all fun and games however, the NYT published a short photo collection (Frigid Temperatures Claim Lives of Children in Kabul) that reminds us to be grateful for the things that we have because there are many who have not and unfortunately there are also many more who take ill and soon join those who are not.