Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pulitzer Prize for Photography

Visual Communication, as one of the four faces of visual literacy, often doesn't have the same recognition as visual art, visual culture or visual design. This is partly because people often don't recognize visual communication when they see it.

Photojournalists are visual communicators. They aren't taking pictures to make art (like Ansel Adams), as part of visual culture (like popular calendar photos), or to function as design (like Richard Avedon's fashion photos). They are simply trying to capture moments in time to communicate a news or feature event.

Since the Pulitzer Prize's inception in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize Board has increased the number of awards to now include poetry, music and photography. The Pulitzer Board established the first award for photography in 1942. The award recognizes that photography provides lasting images that chronicle the major events of our time. Approximately 150 photography entries are submitted annually either as individual images or as a portfolio (i.e. series of photographs). The photography jury now offers nominations in two categories: spot news photography (left) and feature photography (right). Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board - comprised of leading journalists and academics - reviews the nominations and selects the winners.

Visual Literacy should start with basic visual communication and news photography (photojournalism) is perhaps the most commonly seen form of visual communication for most people. Photography should be a basic visual communication skill for all students.

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