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50 Award Winning Photographs


The World Press Photo of the Year is considered the most prestigious honor
in photojournalism.  In order to win the award, a photo must represent an
issue, situation or event of great journalistic importance.  It also must
demonstrate an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity.  The
tradition started in 1955 and continues today.  The Pulitzer Prize for
Photography is another highly respected award.  It was handed out from
1942 until 1967.

In 1968, the honor was split into two separate prizes, the Pulitzer Prize for
Feature Photography and the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News
Photography.  I have put together a list of 50 of the greatest photographs
ever taken.  Each picture includes a short description of the event.  I have
not listed any winning pictures that show child suffering or human mutilation.
Every photojournalist honored in this article put their life on the line to bring
the world important images.  Be sure to visit my other article of 20 Influential
and Famous Photographs.  

20 Influential and Famous Photographs


Ford Strikers Riot

Photographer: Milton Brooks

Year: 1942 Pulitzer


Ford Strikers Riot was taken during the 1941 workers' strike at a Ford
manufacturing plant.  The picture shows a worker beating a strikebreaker,
who is trying to protect himself by pulling his coat over his head and face.
Describing the circumstances surrounding the photo, Milton Brooks said, "I
took the picture quickly, hid the camera under my coat and ducked into the
crowd.  A lot of people would have liked to wreck that picture."


Photographer: Frank Noel

Year: 1943 Pulitzer


In January of 1942, photographer Frank “Poppy” Noel was covering British
troops in Singapore.  The Pacific War was going badly and Japanese
planes were beginning to bomb the city.  Noel had contracted malaria and
was in the process of being shipped back to the United States when the
freighter he was traveling on was hit by a Japanese torpedo.  The ship went
down in the Indian Ocean and Noel managed to escape and board a life
vessel with 27 survivors.

The group drifted aimlessly for five days in scorching heat.  During the
disaster, a separate lifeboat of survivors approached the men explaining
that they had lost their water supply in the rush to escape from the boat.  As
they neared Noel’s boat one of the sailors reached out his hand and begged
for water.  Sadly, they had none to offer.


Photographer: Earle L. Bunker

Year: 1944 Pulitzer


The town of Villisca, Iowa was home to 1100 people in 1943.  The town is
located fifty miles southeast of Omaha, Nebraska.  It is a small-village in the
middle of America.  On July 15, 1943, during World War II, Lt. Col. Robert
Moore's returns home to Villisca and he is greeted by his family and friends.
Earle L. Bunker was covering the story for the Omaha World Herald

Boy Gunman and Hostage

Photographer: Frank Cushing

Year: 1948 Pulitzer


In 1948, Frank Cushing was photographing domestic violence victims in
Boston when he heard a police radio alert.  Two police officers had stopped
a 15-year-old boy named Ed Bancroft to question him about a robbery that
had taken place.  Bancroft pulled out a gun and shot one of the officers.  He
then took 15-year-old Bill Ronan hostage and ran into a nearby alley.  Frank
abandoned his assignment and went to investigate the scene.

He calculated which house would give him the best vantage point and
knocked on a door.  The owner let him in and Frank made his way to the rear
porch and took the photo that won him the Pulitzer.  Ed Bancroft was
eventually knocked unconscious by an officer who had snuck up behind the

The Babe Bows Out

Photographer: Nathaniel Fein

Year: 1949 Pulitzer


On June 13, 1948 Babe Ruth made his final public appearance at Yankee
Stadium.  He was fighting terminal cancer and was at the end of his life.  The
Great Bambino was celebrating his number retirement and the 25th
anniversary of the opening of Yankee Stadium.  The ceremony however was
more a celebration of what Ruth brought to the game.  His speech and bow
to the crowd was not only a farewell to baseball, but a farewell to life.  Babe
passed away just two months after the photo was taken.

Near Collision at Air Show

Photographer: Bill Crouch

Year: 1950 Pulitzer


In front of 60,000 air show fans Chet Derby was performing stunts in a
biplane.  Derby was an experienced pilot and was conducting an upside
down loop-the-loop for his final stunt of the evening.  During the trick, the
plan was to leave a smoke trail in which three B-29 Superfortresses were
supposed to fly through.

Bill Crouch of Oakland Tribune was covering the Air Show.  He was trying to
get an artistic shot of the stunt plane when things went horribly wrong.  The
B-29 came in to early and missed the wing of Derby;s plane by five feet.
With little time to spare, Crouch took the famous shot of Chet Derby’s plane
as it flew upside down and missed the wing of a B-29 by five feet.

Flight of Refugees

Photographer: Max Desfor

Year: 1951 Pulitzer


At the start of the Korean War thousands of South Korean refugees left their
homes in hopes of safer grounds.  In this award winning photo, Korean
refugees crawl over the shattered girders of a bridge in Pyongyang, North
Korea, while fleeing Chinese Communist troops on Dec. 4, 1950.

Johnny Bright’s Jaw is Broken

Photographers: John Robinson and Don Ultang

Year: 1952 Pulitzer


The Johnny Bright Incident was a violent on-field assault against African-
American player Johnny Bright by White American player Wilbanks Smith
during an American college football game held on October 20, 1951 in
Stillwater, Oklahoma.  The game was significant as it marked the first time
that an African American athlete with a national profile had played against
Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) on their home field.  In
1951, Bright was a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate from Drake, and
led the nation in total offense.  During the first seven minutes of the game,
Johnny Bright was knocked unconscious three times by blows from
Oklahoma A&M defensive tackle Wilbanks Smith.  Smith's final elbow blow
broke Bright's jaw.

He was still able to complete a 61-yard touchdown pass to Drake halfback
Jim Pilkington a few plays later.  Soon afterward, the injury forced him to
leave the game.  Bright finished the game with less than 100 yards, the first
time in his three year collegiate career at Drake.  Oklahoma A&M eventually
won the game 27–14.  The incident was captured in a sequence of six
pictures, which won the Pulitzer Prize.  I have included the final picture, as
well as a newspaper article showing all six photos.  The newspaper article is
deceptive and it makes it appear as if Bright had the ball at the time of the
attack.  In reality, he had handed the ball off and was clear of the play when
Wilbanks Smith assaulted him.


Hole in My Shoe

Photographer: William M. Gallagher

Year: 1953 Pulitzer


Adlai E. Stevenson II was an American politician, noted for his promotion of
liberal causes in the Democratic Party. He served as the 31st Governor of
Illinois, and received the Democratic Party's nomination for president in 1952
and 1956.  He was defeated by Republican Dwight D.Eisenhower on both
Stevenson sought the Democratic presidential nomination for a
third time in the election of 1960, but was defeated by Senator John F.
Kennedy of Massachusetts.  During Stevenson’s 1952 Presidential
Campaign, a famous photo was taken of him with a hole in his shoe. The
picture would win the Pulitzer for William M. Gallagher.       

Motorcycle Crash

Photographer: Mogens von Haven

Year: 1955 World Press Winner


On August 28, 1955, at Volk Mølle Racetrack in Randers, Denmark, a
motorcyclist crashes during a competition.  This picture was the first winner
of the World Press Photo of the Year. 

Home from War

Photographer: Helmuth Pirath

Year: 1956 World Press Winner


A German World War II prisoner is released by the Soviet Union and
reunited with his daughter, who has not seen him since infancy.

Sinking of SS Andrea Doria

Photographer: Harry A. Trask

Year: 1957 Pulitzer


The SS Andrea Doria was an ocean liner in the Italian fleet, which was home
ported in Genoa.  The ship is most famous for its sinking in 1956.  On July
25, 1956 the cruiser was approaching the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts
bound for New York City when it collided with the eastward-bound MS
Stockholm of the Swedish American Line.  The accident would become one
of history's most infamous maritime disasters.  The shortage of lifeboats
might have resulted in significant loss of life, but improvements in
communications and rapid responses by other ships averted a disaster
similar in scale to the Titanic.

In all, 1660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived, while 46 people
died as a consequence of the collision.  The evacuated luxury liner capsized
and sank the following morning.  In 1957, Harry A. Trask won the Pulitzer
Prize for his dramatic photographic sequence of the sinking of the SS
Andrea Doria.  The pictures were taken from an airplane flying at a height of
75 feet, nine minutes before the ship sank.   

High School Segregation

Photographer: Douglas Martin

Year: 1957 World Press Winner


Accompanied by violence, Dorothy Counts becomes one of the first African
American students at Harry Harding High School, where racial segregation
has been banned.

Faith and Confidence

Photographer: William C. Beall

Year: 1958 Pulitzer


A policeman speaks to a young boy at a parade in Washington DC.  The
two-year-old boy is trying to cross the street during the parade.     

Goalkeeper in the Rain

Photographer: Stanislav Tereba

Year: 1958 World Press Winner


During a football game between the teams Sparta Praha and Červená
Hvězda Bratislava, Sparta’s goalkeeper Miroslav Čtvrtníček stands on the
football field and lines up for a kick in pouring rain.

Inejiro Asanuma Assassinated

Photographer: Yasushi Nagao

Year: 1960 World Press Winner


On October 12, 1960, the 17-year-old extreme right-wing student Otoya
Yamaguchi kills the socialist politician Inejiro Asanuma with a sword during a
speech in Tokyo’s Hibiya Hall.  Yamaguchi was immediately arrested and
would later hang himself in jail.

Uprising in Venezuela

Photographer: Héctor Rondón Lovera

Year: 1962 World Press Winner


During an uprising by the Venezuelan guerrilla organization Fuerzas Armadas
de Liberación Nacional, a dying soldier clings to Chaplain Luis Padillo with
sniper fire all around them.  Despite the danger surrounding him, Luis Padillo
insisted on giving last rites to dying soldiers.

Serious Steps

Photographer: Paul Vathis

Year: 1962 Pulitzer


Paul Vathis was an American photojournalist, who worked for the Associated
Press for 56 years.  In 1961, he took a picture of President John F. Kennedy
and former President Dwight Eisenhower walking together at Camp David.
The photo was given the name Serious Steps and won the 1962 Pulitzer. 

Self-Immolation of Thích Quảng Đức

Photographer: Malcolm Browne

Year: 1963 World Press Winner


The Vietnamese monk Thích Quảng Đức sets himself ablaze in protest
against the persecution of Buddhists by the government of President Ngo
Dinh Diem.  He performed the act on June 11, 1963 at a busy Saigon road
intersection.  After his death, his body was re-cremated, but his heart
remained intact.  Thích Quảng Đức's act increased international pressure on
Diệm and led him to announce reforms with the intention of mollifying the
Buddhists.  The self-immolation is widely seen as the turning point of the
Vietnamese Buddhist crisis which helped lead to the change in regime.

Cyprus Conflict

Photographer: Donald McCullin

Year: 1964 World Press Winner


A Turkish woman mourns her dead husband, who is a victim of the Greek-
Turkish Civil War.  The Cyprus dispute is a conflict between Greece and
Turkey over Cyprus, an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Since the arrival of the British on the island of Cyprus, the "Cyprus Dispute"
was identified as a conflict between the people of Cyprus and the United
Kingdom as a colonial ruler.  The core of the dispute was the Cypriots'
demand for self determination.  However, in modern times Britain has
attempted to shift the "Cyprus Dispute" from a colonial dispute to a dispute
between Turks and Greeks, although Britain has declared Cyprus as a
British colony.  Major battles were fought in the area from 1963-1964. 

Wading Through River in Loc Thuong

Photographer: Kyoichi Sawada

Year: 1965 World Press Winner


A mother and her children wade through a river in Loc Thuong in the South
Vietnamese province of Binh Dinh to escape U.S. bombing.  U.S. forces
killed an estimated 90,000 South Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam
War, mainly due to extensive use of fire power, including artillery, bombings,
and small weapons.  It has been reported that 1,500 civilians were killed in
various massacres during the war.  Kyoichi Sawada also won the World
Press Award for photography in 1966 for a picture showing American
troop’s dragging the body of a Viet Cong soldier behind their M113 Armored
Personnel Carrier for burial.      


Vietnam War Tank Commander

Photographer: Co Rentmeester

Year: 1967 World Press Winner


The commander of an M48 Patton looks through his lens.  This was the first
color photograph to win the World Press Award.  During the Vietnam War an
estimated 95,000 civilians died in the communist re-education camps,
another 500,000 were involved in forced labor projects, which killed 48,000
civilians.  Another 100,000 South Vietnamese people were executed.  Finally,
approximately 400,000 “boat people” died while trying to flee Vietnam. This
makes a low estimate of 643,000 killed during the consolidation of
communist rule.

Shooting of James Meredith

Photographer: Jack R. Thornell

Year: 1967 Pulitzer


James H. Meredith is an American that was a predominant figure in the civil
rights movement.  He was the first African American student to attend the
University of Mississippi, an event that was a flash point in the American
civil rights movement.  On June 6, 1966, James Meredith organized and led
a civil rights march named the March Against Fear.  It was scheduled from
Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi.

The march was Meredith's attempt to draw people's attention to black voting
rights in the South and to help African American people overcome the fear
of violence.  During this march Meredith was shot by Aubrey James Norvell,
who attempted to assassinate him.  Norvell shot Meredith from a sniper
position.  The photograph of James Meredith after being shot won the
Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1967.

Dreams of Better Times

Photographer: Toshio Sakai

Year: 1968 Pulitzer


This picture was taken in 1967 during the Vietnam War.   It shows two
American soldiers in southern Vietnam at a place called Landing Zone Rufe.
The two soldiers had recently been under heavy sniper and mortar fire.
One soldier is sleeping on sacks of sand while the other one is keeping
watch.  The picture was taken during a Monsoon.  The soldiers have
ponchos on, but it wasn’t to stay dry, but rather to protect themselves from
fire ants.

The Kiss of Life

Photographer: Rocco Morabito

Year: 1968 Pulitzer


Apprentice lineman J.D. Thompson is breathing life into the mouth of another
apprentice lineman, Randall G. Champion, who hangs unconscious after
receiving a jolt of high voltage electricity.  Photographer Rocco Morabito
was driving in Jacksonville on West 26th Street in July 1967 on another
assignment when he documented the event. 

The Troubles

Photographer: Hanns-Jörg Anders

Year: 1969 World Press Winner


The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which
spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and
mainland Europe.  The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from
the late 1960s to the Belfast “Good Friday” Agreement of 1998.  In this
famous photo, an Irish Catholic man wearing a gas mask stands in front of a
wall with the graffiti “we want peace.”  The picture was taken moments before
teargas was thrown by British troops.

Campus Guns

Photographer: Steve Starr

Year: 1970 Pulitzer


On April 19, 1969, members of the Afro-American Society (AAS) occupied
Willard Straight Hall at Cornell University to protest perceived racism and a
poor black studies program.  Subsequently, white students from Delta
Upsilon fraternity unsuccessfully attempted to retake the building by force.
After the fist fight, some of the occupying students left the building and
returned with firearms.  The situation was eventually diffused by Cornell Vice
President Steven Muller.  The photos of the students marching out of the
Straight carrying rifles and wearing bandoliers made the national news and
won a Pulitzer Prize for A.P. photographer Steve Starr.

Page 2: Photographs From 1971-2009

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