Saturday, October 17, 2015

Pulitzer Photographs of the Year, 1980

The Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year, continued: 

Caution: Disturbing images

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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).
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".

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Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, 1980:


Erwin H Hagler, Dallas Times Herald


Series on the Western cowboy.


From “Texas Cowboys – The Pulitzer Prize Collection”:
The men who work on the Pitchfork, 6666 and JA ranches in the Texas Panhandle call theirs "the most free kind of life you can have." It's a life that's changed little since the 1860s, when thousands of young Texans rode home from the Civil War and began driving the wild longhorn cattle out of the brush and up the dusty trails to Abilene and Dodge City. 
Over the years since, the cowboy has become the quintessential American hero. He has been glorified in song and story, on film and on television as the New World's knight on horseback, free as the wind, reliable as the sun, master of the vast and beautiful universe called The West. 
Those who know the cowboy best know that this life is one of hard manual labor, brutal weather and a loneliness so strong that most of us would never bear it. But those realities only strengthen the power of his grasp on our imagination. Indeed, he stands tall in our minds and in our national mythology precisely because of the hardships he faces and the easy grace and humor with which he conquers them. 
No photographer in our time has captured the harshness and beauty of the cowboy life as truthfully as Skeeter Hagler. The images included here won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. Their simple truth has needed no translation for viewers in museums, galleries and exhibits throughout the world. In touching these minds and hearts, they have become classics of the photographic art. 


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Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography, 1980:


Anonymous, Ettela'at, United Press International, for "Firing Squad in Iran". In 2006, the photographer's identity was revealed to be Jahangir Razmi.


Firing Squad in Iran.

  • The 1980 Pulitzer for Spot (breaking news) Photography was awarded to someone whose identity was kept secret until 2006. Identified only as “Anonymous”, the photographer recorded the barbarity of a short show trial and execution of 11 people.
  • The photographer, Jahangir Razmi, had been interested in photography from childhood and purchased his own camera at age 12, beginning his career in photojournalism by photographing a crime scene. He also served in the military and was hired by Iran’s oldest newspaper, Ettela'at, in 1973, quickly earning a reputation of skill and bravery. 
  • The Iranian Revolution in 1979 saw the Shah thrown out and Ayatollah Khomeini brought back from exile to lead the country. The first Islamic political figure to introduce and encourage terrorist activities around the world, he established clerical authority with himself as the Supreme Leader. Opposition was not tolerated, disappearances and executions were common, torture was a tool of state, as were fatwas and jihads. Opposition and potential dissent were suppressed.
  • Razmi and another photographer learned in August 1979 of a spurious trial to be held the following day. They attended and, in a 30-minute trial, 11 prisoners were charged with crimes of firearm trafficking, murder, and inciting riots, and were sentenced to death. The men were blindfolded and led outside to the airfield, where they were lined up several metres from their executioners. Razmi photographed the killings.
  • Ettela'at published the photographs but did so anonymously to protect Razmi from government reprisals. The images ended up being published world wide, the only anonymous image to ever win the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Razmi continued in photojournalism for a while, covering events such the Islamic Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War and the hostage crisis. In 1987 he opened a photographic studio. 
  • In 2006, when approached by the Wall Street Journal, he revealed for the first time that he was the photographer and he was finally presented with his award.

Iran. August 27, 1979. After a short show-trial, 11 people charged as being "counterrevolutionary" were executed at Sanandaj Airport. Nine of the eleven men in this photo were Kurds. This photo won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. The recipient was known as "anonymous" until 2006 when Jahangir Razmi told the Wall Street Journal that he had taken it.

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