Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Pulitzer and World Press Photos of the Year, continued: 1985


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".

Year: 1985

Award: Pulitzer Prize for Spot (Breaking) News

Photographer: Photography staff, Register, Santa Ana, California

Subject: Coverage of the Olympic Games.


At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, athletes from China compete for the first time since 1952. Women from around the globe run their first Olympic marathons. And three photographers from The Orange County Register—Rick Rickman, Hal Stoelzle and Brian Smith — try to outdo news organizations that have 10 times their resources.
“The L.A. Times had 40 credentials and we had three," Rickman remembers. "It was a daunting task. You realize you're so outnumbered and so outgunned... it takes over and it effects everything you do. You drive yourself."
Realizing they can't go head-to-head with their competitors, the Register photographers set a different goal. "We were looking to create a striking shot," says Smith. "We wanted someone to pick up the paper and see something they hadn't seen on TV the night before. We definitely did not play it safe. Any time I could get out of the box for still photographers, I did."

Each photographer shoots three or four events a day. On Aug. 12, one of Hal Stoelzle's assignments is mens freestyle swimming. "I had arrived at about 5:30 a.m. to secure a spot and the finals didn't begin until late afternoon. The still photo positions... were located under the spectators' bleachers. The heat under the bleachers was oppressive, hotter than 100 degrees. But when Rowdy Gaines was greeted by his teammates in front of the American flag after winning a gold medal in the mens 100-meter freestyle race, I knew the wait had been worth it."

Photographs and commentaries from the Orange County Register:

Rowdy Gaines helped US swimmers dominate the competition held at USC, winning the 100 freestyle and anchoring the 4 x 100 relay.

Pauley Pavilion decked out in a swirl of eye-catching color, was the setting for gymnastics competition that culminated in by far the finest showing by an American team; a total of 16 medals, five of them gold. Above all, it was Mary Lou Retton, a 4-foot 9 inch bundle of muscle and teeth, who grabbed the attention of the thousands who packed the arena and the millions who watched on television as she captured the gold in all-around.

High jumper Dwight Stones was a long shot. He was 30 years old, the experts said. Few even expected him to make the Olympic team.

Men’s Individual Road Race Champion Alexi Grewal reacts after winning the event on the streets of Mission Viejo.

Greg Louganis dives during the 1984 Olympics.

Runners are reflected in a pool at the Los Angeles Memorial; Coliseum during the Olympic trials just prior to the Olympic Games 1984,

The start of the 100 metres backstroke event at the 1984 Olympics.

Year: 1985

Award: Pulitzer Prize for Feature (Human Interest) Photography

Photographer: Stan Grossfeld

Subject: Series of photographs of the famine in Ethiopia and for his pictures of illegal aliens on the Mexican border.

Previously (incorrectly) posted as being for 1984 at:

Mea culpa, Mea culpa, Mea maxima culpa.

Year: 1985

Award: World Press Photo of the Year

Photographer: Pablo Bartholomew

Subject: The body of a child, killed in a chemical accident at the plant of US chemical company Union Carbide Corporation, is buried.

From the World Press Photo website at:


A child killed by the poisonous methyl isocyanate gas leak during the Union Carbide chemical plant disaster in Bhopal, India.

The gas drifted over the densely populated neighborhoods around the plant, killing thousands of people immediately and creating a panic as tens of thousands of others tried to flee Bhopal. An estimated number of 15,000 people would eventually die of diseases directly related to the disaster. Many more survivors suffered from chronic disorders, such as respiratory problems and eye problems, caused by their exposure to the toxic gas.

The image is too sad to print.

You will be able to see the image by clicking on:

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