Saturday, December 14, 2019

THE PULITZER AND WORLD PRESS PHOTOS OF THE YEAR: 1990


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Pulitzer Prizes for Photography:
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).


World Press Photo of the Year:
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".

The photographs are interesting not only in their own right but for being windows on history.

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Award:
Pulitzer Price for Breaking News Photography
Year:
1990
Photographer:
Photo staff of the Oakland Tribune, California
Photograph(s):
Photographs of devastation caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989.
  
The Photographs:

 John and Maedell Stafford are helped from the lower deck of the Cypress structure at West Grand Avenue, Oakland by a neighbour/passerby on October 17, 1989. West Oakland neighbours and workers brought their own ladders and rope and climbed into the wreckage to help. This is one of a series of photos that won the Oakland Tribune the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography. 

Comments:

On October 17, 1989, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area, killing 67 people and causing more than $5 billion in damages. Despite the fact that the disaster was one of the most powerful and destructive quakes ever to hit a populated area of the United States, the death toll was relatively small. The disaster is known as both as the San Francisco-Oakland earthquake and the Loma Prieta earthquake because it was centered near Loma Prieta Peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

A  2 kilometre (1.25-mile) segment of the two-level Cypress Street Viaduct along the Nimitz Freeway (Interstate 880), just south of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, collapsed during the quake, resulting in 42 fatalities when the upper level of the road crashed onto the cars on the lower level.

The photostaff of The Oakland Tribune won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for photographs of the aftermath of the October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake.

It had previously won a Pulitzer for a photograph of a small private plane narrowly missing a B-29 Superfortress in 1950,



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Award:
Pulitzer Feature (Human Interest) Photograph
Year:
1990
Photographer:
David C Turnley, Detroit Free Press
Photograph(s):
Photographs of the political uprisings in China and Eastern Europe."
  
The Photograph:

1990: David C. Turnley – “The Romanian Revolution.” Romanian people celebrating the end of communism with tears in their eyes and peace signs in the air.
  
Comments:

In addition to his 1990 Pulitzer, Turney has also been awarded gongs for the World Press Photo Picture of the Year in 1988 for a photo taken in Leninakan after the devastating Spitak earthquake and again in 1991 for a picture of a U.S. Sergeant mourning the death of a fellow soldier during the Gulf War. He has been a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in photography four times.

From 1985 to 1997, Turnley covered the struggle to end Apartheid, revolutions in Eastern Europe, the student uprising in China, the Bosnian War and the Gulf war, and the fall of the Soviet Union. In addition to publishing numerous books, he has directed an Emmy-nominated documentary for CNN on the Dalai Lama, and a feature-length documentary set in Cuban dance hall, La Tropical. He directed the documentary Shenandoah, released in 2012, about the 2008 murder and attempted cover up of an immigrant from Mexico by a group of local high school football stars from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

Gallery:


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Award:
World Press Photograph of the Year
Year:
1990
Photographer:
Georges Merillon
Photograph(s):
Kosovar Conflict
The family of Nashim Elshani grieves around his deathbed; he was killed while protesting for Kosovar autonomy.
  
The Photograph:

The family of Nashim Elshani grieves around his deathbed; he was killed while protesting for Kosovar autonomy.

Does anyone else feel that this resembles an old masters’ painting?
  
Comments:

The conflict:

The Kosovo War was an armed conflict in Kosovo that started in late February 1998 and lasted until 11 June 1999. It was fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (by this time consisting of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro), which controlled Kosovo before the war, and the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) from 24 March 1999, and ground support from the Albanian army.

The KLA was formed in 1991 and initiated its first campaign in 1995 when it launched attacks targeting Serbian law enforcement in Kosovo. In early 1998, KLA attacks targeting Yugoslav authorities in Kosovo resulted in an increased presence of Serb paramilitaries and regular forces who subsequently began pursuing a campaign of retribution targeting KLA sympathisers and political opponents;  this campaign killed 1,500 to 2,000 civilians and KLA combatants.

After attempts at a diplomatic solution failed, NATO intervened, justifying the campaign in Kosovo as a "humanitarian war". This precipitated a mass expulsion of Kosovar Albanians as the Yugoslav forces continued to fight during the aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia (March–June 1999). By 2000, investigations had recovered the remains of almost three thousand victims of all ethnicities, and in 2001 a United Nations administered Supreme Court, based in Kosovo, found that there had been "a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments", but that Yugoslav troops had tried to remove rather than eradicate the Albanian population.

The war ended with the Kumanovo Treaty, with Yugoslav and Serb forces agreeing to withdraw from Kosovo to make way for an international presence. The Kosovo Liberation Army disbanded soon after this, After the war, a list was compiled which documented that over 13,500 people were killed or went missing during the two year conflict. The Yugoslav and Serb forces caused the displacement of between 1.2 million to 1.45 million Kosovo Albanians. After the war, around 200,000 Serbs, Romani and other non-Albanians fled Kosovo and many of the remaining civilians were victims of abuse.

The NATO bombing campaign has remained controversial, as it did not gain the approval of the UN Security Council and because it caused at least 488 Yugoslav civilian deaths including substantial numbers of Kosovar refugees.

The photograph:

From the article "The mother, icon of the Pietà" at:
 The “Pietà of Kosovo”: it is by the medieval term that the collective conscience has chosen to designate one of the most famous journalistic photographs of recent years. On 29 January 1990, the photographer Georges Mérillon took part in the funeral vigil of Nasimi Elshani in the village of Nagafc, Kosovo: the young man who had just been killed by the Serbian militia, rests in peace before his mother, surrounded by other women of the family who watch over his body wrapped in a white shroud. The collective conscience immediately recognized this photo and took possession of it. In 1991 it won the World Press Photo Prize – at the very moment when the Gulf War had broken out – and went round the world. The Prize gave an immediate preference to the “plastic quality” of the photograph rather than to the importance of the political event to which it refers. Indeed, in 1991 international attention was not focused on Yugoslavia, and even less on Kosovo. It was necessary to wait for the exodus of Kosovans and NATO’s intervention in 1999 for this photo, considered an icon from that moment on, to become a testimony that left us with a piece of political information. From that moment the scene in the background became legible, revealing the historical reality which is inherent in it and whose roots are sunk deep in a long history of suffering and war., , , ,
The image of pain evokes the sufferings of all mothers in a cry that pierces through time: the image is vibrant, the image is surprising. Christian devotion and contemporary photography are combined as in an eternal scene of compassion. The suffering mother is beside her dead son. But whereas the Pietà refers to the Passion of Christ on which Vespers meditates on the moment of his deposition from the Cross, the photograph captures live a Muslim funeral rite, in which only women take part while the men stay in another room before accompanying the body to the cemetery. United in the same pain, the two images are thus radically distinguished, one calling to mind the Christian world, the other, the Muslim world. What is more, the photograph of Georges Mérillon does not reproduce a model, as one might say, for example, of a copy. It does not copy the medieval Pietà: there is no repetition of the archetypes of Western painting. On the contrary, the photographic icon seems to indicate the continuity of an image in movement. Thus it immediately calls to mind the medieval image of the Pietà and, even before that, the scenes of mourning painted on ancient vases. The common foundation of worship in the Balkans, in which the Christian and Muslim religions are interwoven, let us not forget it, is always that of Greek antiquity. . . . . 
In the Yugoslavian tragedy, through the strength of the Muslim women a vibrant pride is present which can put an entire people back on their journey and transform groans into combat. “Around Nasimi’s body are Sabrié, his mother, who is standing by his head, and on the left is Aferdita, his young 16-year-old sister. His other sister Ryvije is in the centre in tears”, as Georges Mérillon describes it. It is they who bear witness to the force of life in their defeat of death in order to attain life. Then the Pietàs become icons to open up space and time in order to emerge from the darkness.


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