The Associated Press was honored Monday for its international photojournalism, awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography as seen in gripping images of life in Indian-controlled Kashmir and being named a finalist in breaking news photography for coverage of violent protests in Haiti.
The feature photography achievement — the 54th Pulitzer won by AP — was awarded on the strength of photos taken in 2019 by Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand. They show scenes of protests, grief and prayer, and quiet moments when the violence can seem far away.
“This honor continues AP’s great tradition of award-winning photography,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. “Thanks to the team inside Kashmir, the world was able to witness a dramatic escalation of the long struggle over the region’s independence. Their work was important and superb.”
To capture the photos, the journalists regularly fleed both security forces and angry crowds — sometimes hiding in the homes of strangers — as they looked for ways to illustrate daily life.
With phone lines and the internet shut down for weeks, the photographers worked creatively to get their images out to the world, including slipping through roadblocks to the airport to find strangers willing to carry memory cards containing the photos to fellow AP staffers waiting in New Delhi.
The images take us deep into the experience of Kashmiris living under near-totalitarian Indian rule: the influx of soldiers, the blackout of communication and information, and the banning of public gatherings.
“We are enormously proud of the work by Dar, Mukhtar and Channi. Their skill, bravery and ingenuity in the face of many obstacles gave the world vital and insightful glimpses into the extraordinary situation in Kashmir,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Sally Buzbee. “Their commitment to telling this story is profound.”
AP was a finalist in the separate category of breaking news photography for its photojournalism in Haiti.
Photographers Dieu-Nalio Chery and Rebecca Blackwell documented public outrage and violent protests over government corruption, mismanagement and a steep economic decline at a time when the plight of Haitians was largely ignored by international media. Their photographs bear sharp, humane witness to the turmoil of a country on the edge of disintegration.
Chery was hit with bullet fragments in the jaw while covering violent clashes at Haiti’s parliament but kept taking pictures.
“All five of these photographers made remarkable, stunning images despite dangerous and challenging conditions, sometimes at great personal risk,” said AP Director of Photography David Ake. “Their dedication to getting up every morning and going out to tell the story is a testament to their tenacity. The result of their work is compelling photojournalism that grabbed the world’s attention."
All of the 2020 award winners are listed on the Pulitzer website.
This is AP’s 32nd Pulitzer Prize for photography and 54th overall. AP has earned more photography Pulitzers than any other news organization.