Honor Roll: Associated Press Wins 2 Pulitzers, For Images of the Pandemic and Social Unrest

By David Schonauer   Monday June 14, 2021

The 2021 Pulitzers Prizes have been announced.

This year’s prizes for photography both went to the Associated Press. The Breaking News prize goes to AP photographers for coverage of social unrest in cities across the United States following the murder George Floyd. The Feature Photography prize goes to AP Photographer Emilio Morenatti, who documented the lives of elderly Spanish people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The outstanding work of the AP photography staff in covering racial justice protests and Emilio Morenatti’s compassionate, yearlong look at the impact of COVID-19 on the elderly in Spain are two shining examples of what photojournalists strive to do everywhere: use light and shadow to bring knowledge and understanding to all corners of the globe,” said J. David Ake, AP assistant managing editor and director of photography.

The ten photographers who won the Breaking News prize are freelancer Noah Berger, Alex Brandon, freelancer Ringo H.W. Chiu, Cortez, Frank Franklin II, David Goldman, John Minchillo, Marcio Sanchez, Mike Stewart and Evan Vucci.

“It means the world to me to share this with my colleagues,” Minchillo said on Twitter. “I hoped for one Pulitzer in a lifetime of hustling and this is how I wanted it. With my people, on the big story.”

A protester in Minneapolis carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, May 28, 2020 (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

AP photographers Hassan Ammar, Felipe Dana and Hussein Malla were finalists in the breaking news photography for images of the immediate aftermath of the port explosion that leveled part of Beirut. National Geographic freelance photographer Joshua Irwandi was also a finalist for a photograph of a solitary coronavirus victim in an Indonesian hospital, wrapped in plastic and awaiting a body bag.

Morenatti, AP’s chief photographer in Spain, “patiently built trust with elderly people to empathetically document the toll of the coronavirus pandemic,” notes Associated Press. Morenatti used a scooter to travel around Barcelona to shoot the images, separating himself from his family for months to avoid the risk of exposure as he documented the toll of COVID-19 on the elderly. He credited half the award to his wife, who took care of their children, and the other half to his colleagues.

“I never thought that I could win the Pulitzer, actually, but much less than I could win at using my electric scooter around a few dozen kilometers from my house in Barcelona,” he said.

This is the second year in a row AP has won the Pulitzer for feature photography. AP last won both photography prizes in 1999.

Agustina Cañamero, 81, kisses her husband Pascual Pérez, 84, through a plastic film screen, Barcelona, Spain, June 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Finalists in the Feature Photography category included the staff of Getty Images for coverage of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic globally and Tyler Hicks of The New York Times for images capturing the toll of the coronavirus deep in Brazil’s Amazon.
At top: Protesters in Minneapolis, May 29, 2020, photo by John Minchillo


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