Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year: 1971


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);and
  • the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography (human interest and matters associated with new items).

From1955 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".

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World Press Photograph of the Year
Year:
1971
Photographer:
Wolfgang Peter Geller
Photograph:
Bank Robbery in Saarbrucken


During negotiations on the safe-conduct of a group of criminals on the run, police superintendent Gross suddenly shoots down gang leader Kurt Vicenik. The gang, who had disappeared after a bank-robbery in Cologne, re-emerged near Saarbrücken, carrying a hostage with them. A chase followed and the police and the robbers met at Baltersweiler. The two other men were captured in a wild fight. The men running away from the bullets are policemen. (Comments by Wolfgang Peter Geller)

More of Geller’s pics of the negotiations and the aftermath of the shooting:

Police negotiate with gang leader Kurt Vicenik over safe conduct for himself and two other gangsters. 



Gang leader Kurt Vicenik after being shot by police superintendent Gross in the middle of negotiations for safe conduct for Vicenik and other gangsters.



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Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography
Year:
1971
Photographer:
John Paul Filo
Photograph:
Kent State University Shooting Tragedy



This photograph and the surrounding events has been the subject of a previous Bytes post in the category of Iconic Photographs.  Click on the following link to read that post:


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Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography
Year:
1971
Photographer:
Jack Dykinga
Photograph:
Photo series “The Mentally Ill in Illinois"





The following comments, by Patrick Zimmerman on his blog Et Cetera, cannot be improved upon:

Jack Dykinga’s Pulitzer Prize Portfolio 
Experiences of Tragedy
When artists explore the darkest or most unsettling aspects of life, they are in a position to give voice to our universal hopes for recovery from the large and small tragedies that confront each of us. However, artists can exploit our hopes for redemption as an excuse to create works that indulge in the enjoyment of escapist pleasures, or to justify such works. In this way, feelings of or about real tragedy and suffering become simply incidental to that which is created from them. 
Such works are not intended by their creators to spiritually edify, but merely to document self-referential emotionalism: “I feel, therefore I’m real.” There is little genuine interest in a perspective that includes the experiences of another, perhaps expressed as: “Because He is, I am.” Jack Dykinga’s photographic portfolio, based upon the particular manner in which he experienced being faced with the overwhelming images of utterly discarded human beings, the mentally-ill who were warehoused in the back wards of state mental hospitals, represented a step toward an understanding of co-constructed meaning, a sense of which is embedded in “Because He is, I am.” 
For that reason, from the publication of Dykinga’s photographs emerged an unintended small crusade for dignity and supportive attentiveness. 
Jack Dykinga’s 1971 Pulitzer Prize Portfolio in Feature Photography
Jack Dykinga was the first Chicago Sun-Times photographer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize. He was honored for a series of photographs that was taken in April and July 1970 at state schools for the mentally retarded in the Illinois downstate towns of Dixon and Lincoln. 
Dykinga spent three days at the schools. “It was a real shock to my senses, like nothing I had ever seen before,” he later said. “For the first hour and a half, I didn’t take any pictures at all. I just watched and was overcome by horror.” 
Dykinga said that he was rushed. “We went from cottage to cottage, and I think some of the patients there reacted the way small children react. They were curious, you know, and they would reach out and touch the camera.” 
After the photographs were published, there was a large public outcry of outrage and dismay. In response, Illinois state government officials canceled plans that they had previously put into place to reduce funding supporting the State Department of Mental Health.
http://disembedded.wordpress.com/2007/03/03/photo-portfolio-of-the-day-the-mentally-ill-in-illinois-1971/


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