Monday, June 25, 2018

Thought for the Day

World Press Photo of the Year: 1989


World Press Photo of the Year
Charlie Cole
A protester, later dubbed Tank Man, stops a group of People's Liberation Army battle tanks during the massacre in Tiananmen, Beijing.

The Photographs:

Charlie Cole’s photos of Tank man

Back in 2011 I posted an item about this iconic image, which I reprint as follows: 
A photograph may be iconic for being a memorable moment frozen in time, or because it is a significant first or records a historic event, or simply because it has developed a popular awareness for some reason. There are a myriad reasons as to why a photograph comes to be regarded as iconic. One photograph has developed such a status by recording a brief moment of courage by an unknown, ordinary individual, a moment of inspiration in history. At time when protests against governments have spread from Egypt to other middle east countries, it is worth reflecting on such earlier events. In 1989 hundreds of thousands of demonstrators occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, calling for political reform and the resignation of the communist leadership. They were led by students, 3,000 of whom staged a hunger strike in the square. The old guard of leaders determined to crack down on the protest and sent in troops. In the massacre that followed, more than one thousand unarmed protesters were killed by government troops. Apart from troops, tanks were used to crush vehicles, obstacles and people. The morning after the massacre, more tanks were sent to the scene. A man with a shopping bag in each hand stood in front of the column of tanks, bringing it to a halt. He even climbed onto the lead tank to remonstrate with the occupants before being led away. There has been conjecture as to whether those who led him away were concerned civilians or secret police and as to whether he was executed. To this day his identity and fate remain unknown. Four photographers managed to capture the image on film, although the photograph by Jeff Widener is the most commonly reproduced. It appears above. 
The four photographs of the man and the tanks on Changan Avenue, all taken from the Beijing Hotel. Left to right, top to bottom:Charlie Cole, Jeff Widener/Associated Press, Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos, Arthur Tsang Hin Wah/Reuters. 
Known today only by the name Tank Man, the man who stopped the tanks, if only for a brief time, has become an iconic symbol for the democracy movement in China.  He has also become an international symbol for ordinary citizens standing up to injustice, no matter how powerful the opponent. To this day, no one knows who he is or what became of him. 
The Photographer:

Charlie Cole, working for Newsweek, hid his roll of film containing Tank Man in a Beijing Hotel toilet, sacrificing an unused roll of film and undeveloped images of wounded protesters after the PSB raided his room, destroyed the two aforementioned rolls of film and forced him to sign a confession to photography during martial law, an imprisonable offence. Cole was able to retrieve the roll and have it sent to Newsweek.  He was awarded the 1990 World Press Photo of the Year and the picture was featured in Life's "100 Photographs That Changed the World" in 2003.

Further comments:
Jeff Widener’s photo of Tank Man, which is the most widely used of the similar images from different photographers:
Hear and see Jeff Widener talk about the taking of his photograph and the events which led up to it, plus a video of Tank Man (including his climbing up on the tank to talk to the tank crew), by clicking on the following links:

A final note:  Why was Charlie Cole’s image selected as the World Press Photo of the Year ahead of the others who photographed the same scene?

Here are some comments about that:

·     Jeff Widener of Associated Press was nominated for a Pulitzer for Tank Man in 1990 but did not win. Neither Charlie Cole (Newsweek)  nor Stuart Franklin (Time) were eligible.

Charlie Cole:

“The Pulitzer Prize is like the American World Series, it’s a bit of a misnomer, since the only ones who can apply are those working for an American newspaper or wire service, not exactly a world wide photojournalism competition, not to say they don’t produce some great winners that would’ve done well or won in a true world event. American magazines are not allowed to enter the Pulitzer competition although there was a time when they were back in the 60-70’s.”

·       Cole wanted to share the award with Franklin:

Charlie Cole:

“Although our magazines were competitors, Stuart and I were far more concerned with watching each other’s backs than anything else. We also shot our tank photos shoulder to shoulder, and used various focal lengths at different moments. I think it is pretty safe to say that we both have fairly identical photos of the scene. He has them tighter than the one shot Magnum released and I have them more loose, and closer to his version, than what Newsweek and World Press released.”

“Upon being notified of the World Press Award, I requested that they make us co-winners, since we had the same frames just different cropping. They refused and said they liked the tighter crop. I’ve always said about photo contests that with one set of judges you get one set of winners, given a different set of judges they most likely would’ve selected his version, I still think they should’ve given it to both of us, and always will.” 

·       Afterwards:

Charlie Cole:

“Later, Stuart left to go to Beijing University and I stayed behind to see what else might happen. Shortly after he left, PSB agents crashed through our hotel room door. Four agents swept in and assaulted me while a few others grabbed my cameras.

They ripped the film from my cameras and confiscated my passport. They then forced me to write a statement that I was photographing during martial law, which unbeknown to me carried a hefty prison sentence. They then put a guard at the door.

I had hidden the roll with the tank pictures in its plastic film can in the holding tank of the toilet. When they left, I retrieved it and later made my way to AP to develop and transmit it to Newsweek in New York.”

·       According to Cole:

“What most people don’t realize is how much firepower was actually at the scene and had been going since the night of June 3.”

Some of Cole’s other photos show that firepower:

Some subsequent inspiration from the anonymous Tank man:

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Thought for the Day

Amidst the "I really don't care, do u?" contoversy, we should also recall . . .

The Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year, continued: 1989, Part #1

The Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year 

 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 Prize for Spot News Photography
Ron Olshwanger, a freelance photographer
A picture published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of a firefighter giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a child pulled from a burning building.

The Photograph:

Ron Olshwanger's prize-winning-photograph of St. Louis firefighter Adam Long trying to breathe life into a 2-year-old girl, Patricia Pettuis, he had pulled from a burning building on Dec. 30, 1988.

Despite his heroic efforts, Pettuis later died at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Long received a Medal of Honor for his efforts, but has stated that he didn’t feel very heroic.  “For about a year, I second-guessed myself: ‘Did you really do all that you could have done?' " Long has said that to him, Patricia Pettuis was the hero:  "People are going out and buying smoke detectors because of what they see in that photo.”

The Photographer:

Ron Olshwanger was a furniture dealer and amateur photographer when he took the above photograph in 1988 that won him a Pulitzer in 1989.  Before the award ceremony, Olshwanger commented that ''I'll be feeling kind of funny that I'm there with these professional people whom I admire tremendously.  I'll wonder what I'm doing there.''  With him at the award ceremony were his wife and Adam Long.

Olshwanger has described the taking of the photograph as a “total accident.” ' he said. He had been standing at the fire scene with his Minolta X700 in December when a reporter told him, ''When you get them developed, call me.'' He gave his film to a one-hour developing service and, when he returned to pick it up, he said, the clerk was crying after seeing the photograph.  When he showed it to his wife, she also started to cry.  After the Post-Dispatch bought and published the photograph, people started writing in, asking for copies of the picture.  The newspaper charged them $25 and donated the money to a hospital.

OIshwanger donated all prize money and income received from the photograph to charity and to assisting the poverty stricken family of Patricia Pettuis.


Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography
Manny Crisostomo, Detroit Free Press,
A series of photographs depicting student life at Southwestern High School in Detroit.

The Photographs:

Cristomo’s photo series documenting a year in the lives of students and faculty at a city high school earned Detroit Free Press photographer Manny Crisostomo the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.  The photo series is called 'A Class Act, the Life and Times of Southwestern High School.'  It was part of an article that examined the violence that faces young people in Detroit.

Crisostomo said he started work on the photo series on Southwestern's first day of school in the 1987-88 school year and followed students and faculty through graduation.  'I worked real hard on it,' he said. 'I think it's a good portrayal on what's going on in the Detroit Public School system. And I hope people can look at it and say, 'There's some problems, there's some good things and some bad things and we need to do something about it. Documenting with my photographs, I want to bring about some changes, however big or small they might be.'

The Photographer:

Manny Crisostomo won a Pulitzer Prize at age 30 and immediately sensed the profound impact the prize could have on the rest of his career.
 So he took his $3,000 Pulitzer Prize money and donated it to Detroit’s Southwestern High School to fund a journalism scholarship for graduating seniors and provide opportunities for others. Those students at Southwestern High School, a racially diverse, inner city school just five miles from the Detroit Free Press newsroom, were the focus of Crisostomo’s Pulitzer-winning feature photography.
 He spent the 1987-88 academic year chronicling life at the school, the successes and struggles of students from troubled neighborhoods overwhelmed by drugs, violence and plant closings.
 “There were drugs everywhere. There was violence everywhere. Yet, it was still high school,” Crisostomo says. “There was dating. There were pep rallies. There was football.”
 That complex and compelling portrait was presented by the Detroit Free Press in June 1988 as a 12-page, ad-free, special section titled “A Class Act, The Life and Times of Southwestern High School.” Crisostomo wrote all the copy and produced all the photos. More than 60 were published in total.



Southwestern High School closed in 2012, becoming derelict thereafter.

In 2015 Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Announced the school would be turned into a manufacturing facility employing 600 workers.


World Press Photo of the Year, 1989, tomorrow.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Quote for the Day

The Street Art of Eduardo Kobra


Eduardo Kobra (born January 1, 1976) is a Brazilian street artist. He is notable for painting murals, usually depicting portraits with a technique of repeating squares and triangles. Kobra utilises bright colours and bold lines while staying true to a kaleidoscope theme throughout his art. 

Using brushes, airbrush, and spray cans, he depicts notable people from the past in a realistic, kind and sensitive way, achieving almost photorealism but in an abstract, a keleidoscopic format. At the same time, he sometimes also creates black and white works, departing from famous figures, with a common theme in his work being the fight against pollution, global warming, destruction of forests and war. 

Starting as a tagger, he evolved into an artist with a unique mural style. His project Walls of Memory in Sao Paulo, depicting contrasting scenes from the past, has led to further local and overseas works. 

Walls of Memory images 


Gallery . . . 


Portrait of Oscar Niemeyer, on a building in São Paulo. 


Showing scale and difficulty 

Kiss, a mural copied from an iconic photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square at the announcement of the end of World War 2. 

Below Kiss was a mural featuring scenes from New York in 1945, most prominently a trolley with the destination “Times Square” along with automobiles and dapper pedestrians. You may notice that I have used the past tense “was”. That is because the building owner has painted over both murals . . . 
As it looks now. Sad. 

An example of before and after, the reverse of the before and after of The Kiss.

Mt Rushmore mural, Los Angeles 

Painting Mt Rushmore 

Yoda, Miami 

The largest mural created by a single person which coincided with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The mural measures an area of almost 3,000 square metres, is 190 metres long and 15.5 metres high and now holds a Guinness World Records Title. Probably largest mural in the world, "We are all One" is located in Rio de Janeiro. The mural illustrates indigenous people from the five continents, the concept being based on the five Olympic Rings. 


Albert Einstein, Los Angeles 

Afghan Girl, from a National Geographic cover, painted in solidarity with refugees. 

Cubatão, Brazil 

The Beatles, Sao Paolo, Brazil 

Peace, Rome. The work depicts a portrait of Malala Yousafzai, known for her activism for rights to education and women rights. 

Anne Frank, Amsterdam.