Saturday, October 18, 2014

Photographs of the Year, 1974


Caution: Disturbing images

The Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year continued: 

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).

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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Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography:
Year: 1974
Photographer: Anthony K Roberts, freelance photographer
Photograph: Picture series, "Fatal Hollywood Drama," in which an alleged kidnapper was killed.

The photograph:


About the photograph:

Above is the 1974 Spot News Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of an incident that occurred in a Hollywood parking lot in 1973. The photographer, Anthony Roberts was walking through a Hollywood parking lot in the afternoon when he heard the screams of a woman. He found a man on top of her, attempting to subdue her with punches and slaps. Roberts was unarmed except for his camera, and so he shouted to the man that his picture had just been taken. The man shouted back that he didn’t care—and continued to beat the woman as Roberts watched helplessly. This commotion finally brought a security guard, who told the man to stop—but when he continued wrestling with the woman, who was screaming for her life, the security guard leveled his pistol across the roof of a car and shot the man in the head, killing him. Roberts’ final photograph shows the instant before the guard pulled the trigger. 

About the photographer:


Roberts (1939-2005) was an American actor and photographer. His teenage years spent in California surfing and hot rodding brought him to the attention of Hollywood. Unfortunately he did not go beyond one film, The Beach Girls and the Monster, although he did obtain work modelling and in advertising. His photography activities resulted in his winning the 1974 Pulitzer for news photography but he also varied out commercial photography, including stills for films and album covers. 



Whilst shooting movie stills of the 1986 remake of Stagecoach he was recruited to play the role of one of the outlaws, which resulted in further gigs in films and appearances in music videos.

Additional comment:

The photograph may be a prize winning image of breaking news but it raises questions that remain unanswered:

· The assailant was unarmed, could not Roberts have assisted in a more meaningful way than calling out he was taking photographs? Even by swinging his camera at him?

· Could not the security guard have done more, short of shooting the assailant?

· Could not Roberts and the security guard together have taken him down without shooting him dead?

· Why not him over the head with the pistol?

· Why a head shot? Could not a shoulder or leg shot have achieved its purpose?

Some additional pics taken by Roberts:





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Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography:
Year: 1974
Photographer: Slava Veder, Associated Press
Photograph: “Burst of Joy”, which illustrated the return of an American prisoner of war from captivity in North Vietnam."

The photograph:


About the Photograph:

From Iconic Photos at:


For a war where the public opinion was shaped by the photographs from the homefront and the warfront, it was fitting that the U.S. involvement in Vietnam ended with an especially poignant image of joy, an ephemeral meeting of homefront and warfront. The photograph came to symbolize the end of United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and the prevailing sentiment that military personnel and their families could begin a process of healing after enduring the horrors of war.


In Burst of Joy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, Associated Press photographer Slava “Sal” Veder captured this moment. Taken on March 17, 1973 at Travis Air Force Base in California, the photograph depicts United States Air Force Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm being reunited with his family, after spending more than five years in captivity as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Stirm was shot down over Hanoi on 27 October 1967, while leading a flight of F-105s on a bombing mission, and not released until 14 March 1973.

About the Photographer:

See film of the reunion and comments by the photographer, Slava Veder, at:

Slava Veder

Further comment:

Despite the joy and happiness depicted in Stirms’ 15 year old daughter Lorrie running to her father with outstretched arms and the rest of the family – wife Loretta, son Robert Jnr, son Roger and daughter Cindy - following behind, the reunion was not as joyous as may have been thought. Three days before he arrived in the United States, the same day he was released from captivity, Stirm received a Dear John letter from his wife Loretta informing him that their marriage was over. In 1974 the Stirms divorced and Loretta remarried. Robert retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1977 and worked as a corporate pilot and businessman. He married and was divorced again. Now 72 and retired, he lives in Foster City, California.

All of the family members depicted in the picture received copies of the photograph. They all display it prominently in their homes, except Stirm, who says he cannot bear to look at it.

According to the Smithsonian.com at:

That the moment was considerably more fraught than we first assumed makes it all the more poignant and reminds us that not all war casualties occur on the battlefield. “We have this very nice picture of a very happy moment," Lorrie says, "but every time I look at it, I remember the families that weren't reunited, and the ones that aren't being reunited today—many, many families—and I think, I'm one of the lucky ones."
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World Press Photo of the Year:
Year: 1974
Photographer: Ovie Carter
Photograph: Sahel famine: A small child suffers during a drought in Niger 

The photograph:

Ovie Carter’s photograph which won the World Press Photo Contest is for a photograph from ‘The Faces of Hunger' series, which documented hunger in Africa and India.  A mother comforts her child, both victims of drought.

About the photographer:

Ovie Carter is an American photojournalist who was born in Mississippi in 1946. Carter served with the U.S. Air Force and, upon his discharge, attended the Ray Vogue School of Photography, following whioch he worked for The Chicago Tribune. In 1974, Carter travelled for nearly three months through African and India with fellow Chicago Tribune reporter William Mullen documenting the famine affecting almost half a billion people. Their journey, entitled Faces of Hunger, appeared in The Chicago Tribune as a five-part series and won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Photos from the series also won Carter the World Press Photo Contest in Amsterdam and the Overseas Press Club of America Award. He retired in 2004

Further comment:

Some further images by Ovie Carter from the book The Faces of Hunger:



Images of Ovie:

Ovie Carter (left) and David Trotman-Wilkins 

(l-r) Former CAAAP President Jim Morris and Pulitzer winner Ovie Carter

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