An Eye for An Eye

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

An Eye for An Eye, originally uploaded by joaobambu.

Makes the whole word blind . . .


I had to try really hard not to cry while looking through all her photos this morning. Photography is a fine art and it has many of it's facets.

But I choose Photojournalism over the other forms because no other field of Photograph conveys so much emotion, humanity, despair, joy, desperation, and FEELING.


For a distinguished example of feature photography in black and white or color, which may consist of a photograph or photographs, a sequence or an album, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Deanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronicle for her sensitive photo essay on an Oakland hospital’s effort to mend an Iraqi boy nearly killed by an explosion.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Jim Gehrz of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul, for his poignant portrait of a woman soldier’s struggle to recover from grave shrapnel wounds to her head, and Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times for his iconic photograph of an exhausted U.S. Marine’s face after a daylong battle in Iraq.


San Francisco -- Chronicle photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice won the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography Monday for her “sensitive photo essay� last year portraying the tremendous efforts by doctors to mend the wounds of a 9-year-old Iraqi boy who was nearly killed by an explosion, and the boy’s courageous struggle to rise above his injuries.

Fitzmaurice’s pictures ran throughout five stories reported by Chronicle Staff Writer Meredith May, headlined “Operation Lion Heart� after the nickname Lion Heart that doctors gave the boy, Saleh Khalaf, for his bravery.

“Can you believe this?� a beaming Fitzmaurice, 47, said as the award announcement rolled over the newsroom’s wire service and the Chronicle news staff burst into cheers and pumped their fists.

The prize, the most prestigious in American journalism, comes with a $10,000 check. Also nominated in the feature photography category were Jim Gehrz of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul, for his portrait of a woman soldier’s recovery from battle wounds, and Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times for his photo of a weary U.S. Marine’s face after a day of fighting.

Fitzmaurice has worked at The Chronicle for 16 years and is married to Kurt Rogers, another photographer at the paper. Hers is the first Pulitzer won by The Chronicle since 1996, when the late Herb Caen won a special Pulitzer award for his career as a columnist.

Fitzmaurice and May first began reporting on Saleh and his family on Nov. 10, 2003, within hours of the boy’s arrival with his father, Raheem, at Children’s Hospital Oakland for treatment of his injuries. Over the next 11 months, they followed the family’s plight in every way, documenting the key points of Saleh’s recovery, traveling to the Middle East to accompany his relatives as they journeyed to join Saleh, and then recording the family’s reunion in America.

Fitzmaurice’s photos offered an unflinching view into the anger, grief and courage on the part of the boy’s family, taking the reader from intimate and painful portrayals of Saleh’s injuries to the family’s joy at each success in his treatment.

“It really required a unique combination of sensitivity and courage for Deanne and her partner in this project, Meredith May, to capture so beautifully and evocatively the story of Saleh,� said Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein.

Fitzmaurice said she could never have completed the story without the help of not only her editors on the project, but the family of Saleh itself.

“This project was just unbelievable,� she said. “It was more in depth than anything else I’ve done, and a lot of the reason for that was just the way Saleh was. He was so courageous, and he let us so into their lives.�

That Fitzmaurice could gain the trust of a boy who was traumatized by the loss of an eye, one hand, and his brother to a roadside bomb near his home in Iraq was no surprise to Chronicle staffers who have long appreciated her sensitive ability to connect with those she photographs by truly caring about them. Throughout the years as she documented everything from baseball slugger Barry Bonds to the inside of brothels in Nevada, she has always treated people as fellow human beings with feelings instead of mere subjects — all the while capturing images with an uncommonly precise and artful eye.

“We were in the family’s life for a year, and she always put her humanity first,� said May. “I think she fell in love with that little boy, and put him first before any photography. And it showed in the photographs.�

Fitzmaurice said Saleh’s buoyant spirit helped drive her along in her project, even when his sadness and pain seemed nearly unbearable. “Saleh could always laugh, even though he only spoke Arabic at first,� she said. “We bonded through the photography. I’d shoot pictures, then show him some on the back of the camera, and he’d get so excited.�

4/05/2005 11:13:00 AM :: ::
  • Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP » »

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:01 PM  
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