The Pulitzer Prizes are the most prestigious journalistic awards in the world and winning any of these awards is as big an honor as a journalist can achieve. The 2008 Pulitzer Prizes were just announced and in the category of “Breaking News Photography” the winner is Adrees Latif of Reuters, a Pakistani-born, Bangkok-based news journalist.
The photograph that won him this honor (below) is of “a wounded Japanese photographer, Kenji Nagai, as he lay before a Burmese soldier in Yangon,Myanmar, as troops attacked protestors.” Mr. Nagai later dies. The photograph was published by Reuters on September 28, 2007.
According to the Pulitzer Prize website, the category in which Adrees Latif has won is for “a distinguished example of breaking news photography in black and white or color, which may consist of a photograph or photographs, a sequence or an album, in print or online or both, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).” His citation reads:
Awarded to Adrees Latif of Reuters for his dramatic photograph of a Japanese videographer, sprawled on the pavement, fatally wounded during a street demonstration in Myanmar.
The biography of Adrees Latif, also according to the Pulitzer Prize website, reads:
Born in Lahore, Pakistan on July 21, 1973, Adrees Latif lived in Saudi Arabia before immigrating with his family to Texas in 1980. Latif worked as a staff photographer for The Houston Post from 1993 to 1996 before joining Reuters. Latif graduated from the University of Houston in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Latif has worked for Reuters in Houston, Los Angeles before moving to Bangkok in 2003 where he covers news across Asia.
We at ATP are happy that at least we can spot talent – we have, in fact, been using one of his photographs as a front page splash image for a while (it is up now as the Front Page splash and on the left). Readers would remember, that earlier Ali Khurshid – another Pakistani photographer – had been honored by Time magazine; in that case too, we at ATP had featured his work well before Time did. Here is the picture from Adrees Latif we have been using since the elections:
The Reuters website will take you to more pictures from Adrees Latif, some of which are reproduced below:
A more detailed report from the Houston Chronicle recounts more about the photograph and the Adrees:
Photojournalist Adrees Latif brought a camera into a country where having one could get you killed. Monks and nuns were under fire for their protests against the Burmese government in 2007 when Latif sneaked in among the fold to document the unrest. Foreign journalists were not allowed inside the country, so the Reuters photographer went without media credentials.
His photograph of the fatal shooting of a fellow journalist, the Japanese videographer Kenji Nagai, won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography on Monday. Latif, 34, grew up in Houston, where his parents still live. He called them on Monday from Nepal, where he is covering a turbulent election that has provoked bombings and demonstrations. His assignments often take him to dangerous places, said his father, Abdul Latif Mahmud. “Sometimes we worry too much, and God saves him,” Mahmud said.
Born in Pakistan, Latif moved to Houston with his family at age 7. He impressed teachers with his talent and passion for photography at Jersey Village High School, Mahmud said. “He has always wanted to be a photographer,” Mahmud said. “He takes snaps all the time.” Latif worked at the Houston Post, then as a freelancer at the Houston Chronicle, before moving to Los Angeles to work for Reuters. While working in Houston, he earned a degree in journalism from the University of Houston in 1999. He later moved to Bangkok, where he lives with his wife and daughter, covering international news for Reuters.
University of Houston spokesman Eric Gerber didn’t know any other UH alumnus who has won a Pulitzer, although Edward Albee earned the prize while a professor there, Gerber said. Latif thanked his father Monday for encouraging him to submit his photo to the Pulitzer Board. “When I saw the picture, I told him, ‘This is a prize-winning picture,’ ” Mahmud said. Mahmud hopes his son’s next awards come from less dangerous assignments, such as covering the Beijing Olympics this summer.
“He’s a very good sports photographer, too, and he’s a good writer,” Mahmud said. Latif knew the risks involved when he traveled to Burma last September. “He didn’t even tell me he was there until he came back,” Mahmud said.