Yesterday’s posting of the photograph that won the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for Photography drew some comments from Byters, as did the news photograph of a smiling William Seaman holding his winning photograph. These were the two photographs:
The caption below the smiling William Seaman reads as follows:
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Good Morning Otto
The figure in the photo that I find most interesting is the boy in the striped t-shirt to the left of the woman (who appears to have just returned to the kerbside). Has he spotted a particularly interesting bug on the road or do his hunched shoulders, head down stance suggest, as they do to me, that he is struggling to cope with the scene or perhaps what he witnessed - no comfort seems to be forthcoming.
Re the big smile, I wouldn't be surprised if the photograph caused embarrassment to the original photographer in later years - while obviously very pleased with his success at the time I can imagine when looking back he too would think, like you and I, that the cheery smile and the image he is holding are slightly mismatched. Presumably the photo of a prize winner would have been published, more than a little distressing for the parents to see however long after the event.
This picture always has a powerful impact on me. Your writing is excellent.
The picture contains such contrasts:
1. Boy's wagon compared to cars
2. Adults compared to children
3. Healthy children in the background compared to that very unfortunate dead child
4. Authority figures compared to their helplessness
5. Beautiful sunny day compared to this tragedy
The photographer smiling about winning an award based on the death of an innocent child is yet another contrast. It really is strange to see him smiling like that.
Great work as always. I really enjoy this series.