…And The 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners Are…

…And The 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners Are…

The 2015 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced yesterday - and the images are outstanding. What does it take to produce an image worthy of a Pulitzer, and what do the images that win look like? Take a few minutes to peruse these images and honor those photographers risking life and limb to bring us some of the most incredible, thought-provoking photojournalism of the last 12 months.

 

Daniel Berehulak, a freelance photojournalist for the NY Times, took the 2015 Pulitzer for Feature Photography for his coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, while the staff at the St Louis Post-Dispatch took the Pulitzer for Breaking News for the coverage during the Michael Brown protests in Ferguson, Mo.

A relative grieves as a Liberian Red Cross burial team dresses in protective clothing before removing the body of a suspected Ebola victim in central Monrovia, Liberia.
Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

James Dorbor, 8, suspected of being infected with Ebola, is carried by medical staff to an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia. The boy, who was brought in by his father, lay outside the center for at least six hours before being seen.
Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Eric Gweah, 25, weeps as a burial team removes the body of his 62-year-old father, who died at home, in front of his sons after being turned away at the treatment centers in Monrovia, Liberia. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

 

While undoubtedly there are many factors that go into what makes an image a Pulitzer, there is something very special that goes into what drives someone to be able to create such an image.

What that ‘special something’ is can of course vary, but in the case of the 2015 winners, it’s clear the photographers risked a tremendous amount personally to bring us these images and the stories that accompany them.

When most of us think about taking risks when taking photographs, rarely do these risks ever extend to thinking about whether or not to travel to the frontline of deadly viral outbreaks, or whether to immerse ourselves in the midst of volatile conflict and civil unrest.

In this photo by David Carson, a looter armed with a gun in his waistband steals items from a QuikTrip store after riots broke out at the end of a candlelight vigil for Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The store was later set afire. David Carson/The St. Louis Post Dispatch/Columbia University via AP

This photo by Robert Cohen shows Edward Crawford returning a tear gas canister fired by police who were trying to disperse protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Four days earlier, unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by white police officer Darren Wilson. The killing ignited riots and unrest in the St. Louis area and across the nation. Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post Dispatch/Columbia University via AP

This photo by David Carson shows Ferguson protester Cheyenne Green struggling to hold onto an American flag as a football fan makes a grab for it outside the Edward Jones Dome after a St. Louis Rams game. David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Columbia University via AP

While risking life and limb for your photography certainly doesn’t necessarily guarantee any degree of success, it is indicative of a commitment shown by the photographers who won, and tells a clear story about their approach to image making. I don't know about you, but it certainly makes me reevaluate the 'risks' I believe I'm taking with my work, and how much more I can actually commit to what I'm photographing. While I'm never going to go to the frontline and take the sort of risks Daniel took, it certainly does inspire me to realize I can go much further with my own work.

The close proximity to serious injury or even death that the winning photographers endured undoubtedly played a role in the strength of image making, but more than anything it speaks volumes of their commitment to bring us the images we need to see.

When you combine that commitment with a great photographic eye, being in the right place at the right time, and a little luck, that’s where the best images are likely to be found.

Congratulations to the winners, very well deserved.

[Via: Wall Street Journal]

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8 Comments

Justin Haugen's picture

Seeing these photos makes me realize the risks I wouldn't take to get these images. Bravo to them.

Jayson Carey's picture

How are the men that took advantage of the situation and robbed a store that had NOTHING to do with the situation anything but looters? Fuck them.

Keith Davis's picture

These are powerful pictures...but I must tell you your beautiful black women and her daughter were arrested for assault... The man was defending himself after the woman tried to assault him with the flag pole... He took it away to defend himself. Pictures are powerful but they do not tell the real story. If you are interested in the truth... search the Post Dispatch archives for the rest of the story.

Butch

David Geffin's picture

Fascinating - we all know photographs can tell completely different points to reality. Might have to write something up on this, thanks for the insight Keith

Keith Davis's picture

David I am not so sure how appropriate it was for me to comment as I did. I did not mean to take away from the great work of the photographer. I am from St. Louis and there have been many misrepresentations in the media...but... This photo certainly represents the mood of the city and is worthy no matter the circumstances surrounding it.

Butch

Keith Davis's picture

I sent you a link by private message.

Butch

Pat Black's picture

awesome work as always Dave!