Has a Pulitzer or Other Photography Prize Been Awarded to an Amateur Photographer?

Has any major news photography award (Pulitzer Prize included) ever been awarded to a random passer-by who just happened to be in the right place at the right time?

Failing that, are there any reasonably well-known news photographs that were shot by amateurs? And yes, I know abou the Zapruder Film.

Examples of the types of photographs I’m talking about:


(The last one is probably NSFW)

Arnold Hardy was an amateur photographer whose picture of a woman jumping to her death from a burning building won in 1947.

I don’t know if the Kent State photo counts or not. The photographer was a photography student.

Apropos of but hijacking the thread, two sources of the “what led up to and what happened after the photo” sort:
First, Denise Chong’s The Girl in the Picture: The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War, which I’ve reviewed at http://shoshanapnw.livejournal.com/24867.html. In addition, NPR just interviewed Paul Watson, who took the 1994 Pulitzer photo of a U.S. soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=13970206. He has a new book out (in Canada, anyway) called Where War Lives, and from the interview sounds like a pretty tormented guy.

Also, the story of the “Afghan girl” photo from National Geographic is at http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/mar/girl/index.html and http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/03/0311_020312_sharbat.html .

Nitpick: According to this site (which, granted, doesn’t exactly bear the hallmarks of authority), the woman didn’t die in the jump:

“The book” referred to is The Winecoff Fire: The Untold Story of America’s Deadliest Hotel Fire. This site backs up the story, though it’s probably citing the same source.

Amazing; I went to Georgia Tech for a while, and lived down the street from where the fire took place, and I’d never even heard of it.

In addition to Hardy’s 1947 prize, the 1954 Pulitzer went to amateur photographer Virginia Schau. She happened to be passing by with her Kodak Brownie when she witnessed a tractor-trailer accident. See the second photo here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/galleries/essays/001229.htm

Just about any photograph taken by a person in space or on the moon would be done by an amateur, but presumably not one who just happened to be walking by. This would include the famous Apollo 8 “earthrise” photo and the photo of Buzz Aldrin with the flag

Jebus, I hate that picture. When they did the follow-up issue, I threw it out without even opening it.

This article is a little confused, but it seems to suggest that the 1974 Pulitzer for Spot News Photography, Anthony K. Roberts, would be eligible, as, while a photographer, he wasn’t one for the news-services

What’s not to like about that picture?

Anyhow, the first image that came to my mind is the Oklahoma City bombing firefighter photo, but that was in your first link. I don’t know the provenance of the second photo, but the third is definitely not an amateur pic (being a famous Eddie Adams photograph).

Closely related, the 2005 World Press Photo Photographer of the Year (the most prestigious and important international photojournalism award) was Finnbar O’Reilly, a print reporter who took up photography professionally in, well, 2005.

There were eight photos taken by some lucky person (whose name I’ve long since forgotten) of the beginning of the eruption of Mt St Helens. Couldn’t find them on-line with a Google image search, so they’re probably tightly controlled. I’ve seen them on postcards, though, and I’m pretty sure they were in newspapers shortly after the blast.

I’d like to know as well. Are there personal issues you had with the article that accompanied the photo or do you just…not like the girl?

I think it’s a lovely photo of a(until recently) anonymous individual that shows the beauty of everyday people. I also appreciate that it was a real photo, that was not photoshopped to death(to my knowledge).

What do you hate about it?

I just don’t like the angry, accusatory glare. It feels calculated by the photographer to make me, personally, feel guilty for what the Russians were doing to the Afghans at the time, which just makes me angry and defensive. For what it’s worth, I feel similarly about this photo and this one, too.

I’m just one of those people who want photographers to be my eyes to things I can’t be there to see, not my conscience. Notice that I have never once said that I don’t appreciate these photos or their significance as examples of photojournalism. I just don’t like to look at them. I wouldn’t like to look at a photo of the inside of Apollo 1, either.

:confused: Angry? Accusatory? Those are among the last two adjectives I would come up with when I look at that picture. She looks calm and serene to me. I have certainly never considered that there is meant to be any kind of agenda to the photo.

You aren’t the first person to be confused by my reaction, Colophon. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I can appreciate the photo as a work of art without actually liking it.

Well, I guess I never saw the photo in context. IIRC it was originally on the cover of the National Geographic to illustrate a story about Afghan refugees, so if I had first encountered it there my perception might have been different.

I wouldn’t say calm and serene. Her eyes are certainly piercing. However, I wouldn’t say accusatory or angry, either. I’d go with haunting. One of my favorite things about that picture is the gorgeous coloring–the tones in that image are just beautiful. Her eyes, the background, and the fabric underneath the tears in her clothing are all a similar shade of green, which contrast against the complementary earthy red of the rest of the photo. That, coupled with the ambiguous psychology of her stare, make this one of my favorite photos.

I’ve never read into the photograph any sort of calculated guilt trip by the photographer. Hell, I don’t even know the context of the photo beyond the fact that Steve McCurry took it for a refugee story for NatGeo. I’d bet he was drawn to her because it is, simply, quite a striking composition, look, and balance of colors than any sort of political agenda.