Image © Massoud Hossaini / Agence France Presse.
Massoud Hossaini won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for his image of a young girl crying after Afghan Shiites who were taking part in a religious ceremony at a shrine in Kabul were attacked by a suicide bomber. It's the first time Agence France-Presse has won a Pulitzer Prize.
Speaking to Lens, The New York Times' photojournalism blog, Hossaini recounted the events that led to this picture. "Women were asking me, ‘Help, help, help,'" Mr. Hossaini said. "I couldn't. I was recording and I was taking pictures." One of the women who was holding a baby, called out for help - her other child had died. Another man lifted the child from the ground. But blood was pouring from its head. The man placed the child back on the ground and walked away. As Mr. Hossaini photographed, he realized he was weeping.
"The Pulitzer Prize committee has honored one of our bravest and best photo-journalists, Massoud Hossaini, and the award is recognition of AFP's insistence on quality and commitment across the range of journalistic pursuits," says AFP chief executive Emmanuel Hoog. "Bravo and congratulations to Massoud. Today, in the news arena, words without images are impoverished and pictures without text are not enough. The two complement each other and images -- fixed or moving -- are essential to the journalism of the 21st century."
In a statement released by AFP, Hossaini says: "I'm humbled to be an Afghan who can be a voice for the painful life and moments which people have here. I know that whoever sees this photo will think about the photographer but I hope they don't forget the pain Afghanistan's people have in their life."
The Pulitzer Board also recognised Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post with the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for his powerful coverage of "an honorably discharged veteran, home from Iraq and struggling with a severe case of post-traumatic stress." The board says that the images "enable viewers to better grasp a national issue."
Walker already won a Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography in 2010 for "for his intimate portrait of a teenager who joins the Army at the height of insurgent violence in Iraq, poignantly searching for meaning and manhood." The work was exhibited at Visa Pour l'Image the following year.
The Pulitzer Board has also commended the work of John Moore, Peter Macdiarmid and Chris Hondros of Getty Images for their "brave coverage of revolutionary protests known as the Arab Spring, capturing the chaos and exuberance as ordinary people glimpsed new possibilities." Hondros was killed in Libya last year, along with award-winning photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington.
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